Gold Prospecting in New Mexico
Although New Mexico doesn’t come close to the gold production in Arizona, it’s western neighbor, it has produced both placer and lode gold. Production was difficult in the early days of discovery, as the Apache indians were a deterrent to the Mexican Settlers and Spanish explorers who found gold there.
Most of the gold produced today is a byproduct of other mining operations, but there is still some left for the amateur prospector to find.
Gold production in New Mexico can be difficult because it is an extremely dry state. Metal detectors and drywashers are a better bet here rather than gold panning. Search the areas where gold was found in the past.
In southwestern New Mexico, the Hillsboro District produced quite a bit of gold in dry placers in the gulches.
A few miles north of Silver City, the Pinos Altos is a dry placer area, and Whiskey, Rich and Santo Domingo gulches all have gold, as well as Bear Creek which has placer gold.
Southwest of Santa Fe is Old Placers, where the Delores and Cunningham gulches have both produced for miners using drywashers . Nearby is an area called New Placers that produced extremely pure gold.
The most productive site along the western side of Mount Baldy is the Elizabethtown Baldy District. Check out Humbug and Grouse Creeks and the Moreno River. Thousands of ounces of gold came from this district, and there have been many larger nuggets found that could be located with a metal detector.
On the eastern side of Mount Baldy are the Baldy placers. You can find good areas to searh at Ute, Willow and South Ponil Creeks.
New Mexico is a tough state to prospect in. There’s not much water, and it’s hotter than heck in the summer! But then the rougher the area, the fewer prospectors venture there, so with some work there should be plenty of gold still to be found in the desert.
A lot of the state is private land, Indian Reservations and military reserves and these will require permission to prospect, or may be off limits altogether. Make sure you know the rules, and respect the claims on public lands as well. Getting permission from owners and claim holders ahead of time will make things easier for you.