Finding Gold in South Dakota

    Gold was found in South Dakota in 1874 by two miners close to General Custer’s force. This was then found out and in 1876 a gold rush occurred in the Black Hills, overcoming the gold rush that occurred in 1894 in California. Ever since that time California has been a constant producer of gold; the Homestake Mine in Lawrence County was one of the biggest and richest gold producers in the United States until it closed its doors in 2001. Almost all of South Dakota’s production of gold was located in the somewhat small area that is known as the Black Hills and is located on the southwestern corner of the state of South Dakota.

    Some of the places to consider finding out about gold and places where gold has been found are:

    • Several Black Hills streams in that are due west of Rapid City, from Custer in the South to Lead and Deadwood in the North area. An interesting area is Castle Creek, Hoodoo Gulch, Crooked Gulch, and Chinese Hill all of which are near Mystic.
    • You can look in Rapid Creek, which is located near Placerville and Rockerville, and are both southwest of Rapid City.
    • Along the banks of French Creek in Custer County.
    • The Homestake mine in South Dakota closed in 2002, however before it closed down Homestake Gold Mine was the oldest, largest and deepest mine in the Western Hemisphere, reaching more than 8000 feet below the town of Lead.

    Important Note: Always check with the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) and property owners before attempting to do any gold panning.