California is one of the best places in the US to find gold. After all, it's the original site of the gold rush, and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada are widely known as Gold Country to locals.

Despite the number of miners that poured into those hills in the 1800s, there are still flecks of valuable stuff to be found in various waterways across the state.

There are regulations governing gold panning on public property. Essentially, visitors can only gather gold that is flowing through the water or lying on the ground. And they are generally barred from selling or using the gold commercially.

However, there are plenty of places tourists can visit to try their hand at striking it rich. Here are 10 of them.

10 South Yuba River State Park

While many locations in California are ripe for gold panning, rules do apply. Per the California Department of Parks and Recreation, for example, gold panning is permitted in South Yuba River State Park.

However, only the "hands and pans" method is permissible; visitors may not use sluices or other mechanical means of removing gold from the water (or dirt).

Further, panning for gold constitutes "rockhounding," which means gathering stones and minerals that are "on the undisturbed surface of the land."

  • Location : 17660 Pleasant Valley Rd, Penn Valley, CA 95946
  • River : South Yuba River

Related: What You Need To Know About Touring America's Only Vertical Shaft Gold Mine (And Gold Mining)

9 Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

For newbie miners, Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park actually offers gold panning lessons, as well as tours of the park and a visitor center and museum. Panning lessons take place in on-site troughs, which contain various gems, fools gold, and real gold flakes.

But DIYers can head over to the South Fork American River (across the Mount Murphy Bridge) to try their hand at panning in the wild; BYO pan or purchase one at Marshall Gold Mercantile (in the museum).

  • Location : 310 Back St, Coloma, CA 95613
  • River : South Fork American River

Related: Swap Out Sun And Sand For Saloons And Stagecoaches At These Former California Gold Rush Towns

8 Butte Creek Forks Recreation Area

Butte Creek Forks is known locally as a swimming hole, but it's also a promising gold prospecting spot. Depending on the type of "mining" (whether panning or actual digging), a permit may be required.

Visitors can also stake a claim and begin a formal mining operation in various places in California, including the Butte area.

Fees do apply, but anyone serious about finding gold might consider this option.

  • Location : Butte Creek, Magalia, CA 95954
  • River : Butte Creek/Swimming basin

7 Keyesville Special Recreation Management Area

Keyesville was once a live mining operation, but now, visitors can check out the historic buildings as well as a pan for gold or even go camping.

Other recreation opportunities abound, too; mountain biking, ATVing, and horseback riding are all options.

  • Location : Lake Isabella, CA
  • River : Kern River (and Isabella Lake)

6 Downieville

Downieville is a small town off of the Yuba River, and it's one of the first sites where gold miners arrived in the 1800s.

Many gold-seekers visit Downieville and other locations in Sierra County for gold panning but also river sluicing, dry washing, and metal detecting.

  • Location : Downieville CA 95936
  • River : North Yuba River

5 Columbia - California Gold Panning

In Columbia, expert gold panners teach others to find their own golden nuggets.

California Gold Panning offers guided tours where visitors can pan for gold and learn more about the practice.

Columbia is a great place to visit for those new to gold panning to get their feet (and everything else, probably!) wet.

  • Location : 17712 Harvard Mine Road, Jamestown, CA 95327
  • River : Woods Creek

4 Merced River - Yosemite Area

For travelers who are headed to or from Yosemite for other recreation opportunities, a stop-off for gold panning might be just the ticket to rounding out a trip.

The Merced River is ripe for gold panning, and the Merced River Recreation Area is conveniently located between the city of Mariposa and Yosemite National Park.

  • Location : Merced River Recreation Area CA 140, Midpines, CA 95345
  • River : Merced River

3 Trinity River

Federal (BLM) land around the Trinity River is ripe for gold panning, with mineral deposits stemming from the Klamath Mountains.

Various creeks are tributaries into Trinity River, and one remaining mine (La Grange) is in the area.

  • Location : Various public access points and campgrounds along the Trinity River (largely along CA 299)
  • River : Trinity River

2 Oroville - Feather River

Oroville was also an early gold mining site back in the 1800s, though things have definitely changed since then; the Oroville Dam has stopped much of the water flow.

However, emergency use of a relief spillway — and subsequent damage to the spillway — in 2017 meant that overflow water wound up in other waterways.

That diversion pushed gold remnants into the two rivers below the dam, giving gold panners even higher odds of finding flakes.

Visitors can also check out Adventures in Prospecting in Oroville for lessons in gold panning.

  • Location : Various recreational areas along the Feather River, Oroville, CA 95965
  • River : Feather River and Yuba River

1 Angels Camp

Another noteworthy stop is Angels Camp, California, with smaller creeks that carry gold deposits from the Sierra Nevada.

Gold Rush Originals offers panning opportunities, and plenty of their customers strike it big, but visitors can also choose a public recreational area to visit.

  • Location : 1227 S. Main Street, Angels Camp, CA 95222
  • River : Angels Creek