The Majuba Placers/Rye Patch Gold Hunting – Pershing County, Nevada

Gold Nugget from Rye Patch

Northern Nevada is one of the best places to find gold nuggets with a metal detector. For one thing, Nevada is an extremely remote state, and many of the goldfields throughout the northern part of the state are very difficult to access. Rough roads limit and harsh climate can make access a real issue.

One of the better known gold districts in the state is the Majuba Placers, an area also known as Rye Patch. The area is located just west of Rye Patch Reservoir, south of Winnemucca near the small town of Imlay, Nevada.

Nugget hunters have been working this area extensively since the original discovery of gold here in the 1930’s, but it really became a popular area in the past few decades when high quality metal detectors hit the market, making it possible to prospect large areas in search of gold.


Metal Detecting at Rye Patch


What makes Rye Patch so appealing to metal detectorists searching for gold nuggets is the nature of the gold deposits here.

First, it produces sizable nuggets that can be found with a metal detector. There are rich gold deposits throughout Nevada, but many of the areas do not produce large enough gold to set off a metal detector.

Second, the way that gold formed here makes it very appealing to nugget hunters, because bedrock is quite shallow, and most of the nuggets will be found within just a few feet of the surface of the ground. The early metal detector technology generally could not find a metal object much deeper than 1 foot, but the newer PI metal detectors have the ability to find gold several feet deep, especially larger pieces.

The other thing that has drawn gold nugget hunters to the area in search of gold has been the occurrence of a rare form of gold known as chevron gold. This is a rare crystalline formation that some of the gold nuggets here have, and are known to bring a huge premium to gold collectors.

Only Rye Patch and a few of the adjoining gold districts nearby produce chevron gold, which makes it some of the rarest gold in the world to find.

The Majuba placers are certainly no secret. Most gold prospectors who hunt for gold with a metal detector have heard of it, and many have visited the area in search of their very own piece of chevron gold.

Although the area is quite remote, it is easier to access than many of the other gold districts in Northern Nevada. Road access is relatively good, although it is important to take it slow on the dirt roads once you leave the main highway. Sharp rocks are notorious for tearing up tires, so always carry a spare, along with plenty of food and water.

Also Read: Best Places to go Metal Detecting in Nevada


Hunted Hard


It should be said that Rye Patch has been hunted hard over the past few decades. Metal detectors have been around for years, and especially in the past few years with the advent of high quality VLF and PI detectors, it would be fair to say that the area has been thoroughly “pounded”.

Pretty much all of the larger nuggets close to the surface of the ground are long gone, leaving smaller gold and deeper nuggets that others have missed. It takes a lot of patience to be successful there today, but skilled nugget hunters are still recovering good gold from time to time.

As newer technology comes out, hot ground and deeper targets are still found, proving that the famous gold district will probably never be completely “worked out”.

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