Often people going gold panning in Colorado believe that it is possible to make wages or better by panning gold in the streams, particularly in regions where placer mining formerly flourished. But nowadays anyone heading out to engage in some recreational gold panning in Colorado must determine where prospecting is permitted and be aware of the regulations under which he is allowed to search for gold and other metals. Permission to enter upon privately owned land must be obtained from the land owner. Determination of land ownership and location and contact with the owner can be a time-consuming chore but one which has to be done before prospecting can begin. There are other factors for those who hope to engage in perspective gold panning in Colorado, for example most placer deposits have been thoroughly reworked at least twice--first by Chinese laborers, who arrived soon after the initial boom periods and recovered gold from the lower grade deposits and tailings left by the first miners, and later by itinerant miners during the 1930's. Geologists and engineers who systematically investigate remote parts of the country find small placer diggings and old prospect pits whose number and wide distribution imply few, if any, recognizable surface indications of metal-bearing deposits were overlooked by the earlier miners and prospectors. Overall when gold panning in Colorado the simplest technique to extract gold from placer ore is panning. In panning, some mined ore is placed in a large metal pan, combined with a generous amount of water, and agitated so that the gold particles, being of higher density than the other material, settle to the bottom of the pan.
Similar in principle to a sluice is a rocker, a cradle-like piece of equipment that could be rocked like a cradle to sift sands through screens, which was introduced by Chinese miners in British Columbia and Australia, where the practice was referred to as "rocking the golden baby." The Chinese miners used to use another technique of blankets to filter sand and gravels, catching fine gold in the fabric's weave, then burning the blankets to smelt the gold. Chinese were noted for the thoroughness of their placer extraction techniques, which included hand-washing of individual rocks as well as the complete displacement of streambeds and advanced flume and ditching techniques which became copied by other miners. Of course for the recreational prospector planning some fun gold panning in Colorado the only tools necessary will be a gold pan and endurance.