Strike It Rich In The Gold Mines In and Near Helen, Georgia

Gold Mining in Helen, Georgia: How To Strike It Rich

They say that there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but you’re much more likely to find gold (and have fun doing gold mining) during your next vacation to Helen.

Many people know about the California Gold Rush of 1849, but what most people don’t realize is that the “California Gold Rush” was not the first strike of gold in the United States. The “gold rush” of northern Georgia occurred first – right here in the Helen and Dahlonega areas!

There is still gold waiting to be mined in the North Georgia Mountains. When you choose northern Georgia for your vacation spot, you can walk away with more than just photos and pleasant memories. You can try your luck and experience some of what it felt like during the Georgia Gold Rush that began near Dahlonega in 1828. Many of the gold mine locations open their doors to tourists, teaching them how to pan for gold and precious stones, and offering them the experience of a lifetime.

Image courtesy of Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

As the site of America’s first Gold Rush, Dahlonega, Helen, and the surrounding areas are brimming with opportunities for you and your family to seek out treasure and strike it rich. Not only does this make for a great bonding experience that will allow you to create lasting memories, but it also allows you to take home some truly special and one-of-a-kind souvenirs! If you’re thinking about where to spend a vacation rich in fun and adventure, perhaps you might consider one of our cabin rentals in nearby Helen, GA.

Are you ready to learn where you can put your hands to work to see what treasures you can uncover here in northern Georgia?

Radiance Cabin

Below are 5 of Helen’s Best Attractions for Finding Gold and Gemstones!

Image courtesy of The Crisson Gold Mine 

The Crisson Gold Mine | 2736 Morrison Moore Pkwy. E. | Dahlonega

Enjoy the rich history of Crisson Gold Mine which was established in 1847 and commercially operated until only a few decades ago in the 1980’s. This gold mine opened its doors to the public back in 1969 allowing visitors to pan for their gold!

At Crisson Gold Mine you can pan for gold and precious stones such as emeralds, garnets, sapphires, amethysts, rubies, and much more. But wait, you don’t have to stop there! Like many visitors in the past, you can take your precious finds and have them made into jewelry you can wear or gift to someone.

If you’re a newbie you might prefer to start with a 5-gallon bucket of ore which can be panned on-site with the help of trained staff or taken back to your cabin or home where you can mine at your pace.

More serious gold miners will likely prefer to run their ore through one of three trammels to separate the gold from sand at a faster pace. Concentrated gold ore can also be purchased by the 15-gallon-to-one, 30-gallon-to-one, or 75-gallon-to-one concentrate.

Where does all of the ore come from? Crisson Gold Mine operates a 125-year-old stamp mill that is used to crush quartz rock containing gold.

Crisson Gold Mine offers educational experiences and opportunities the whole family can enjoy. Your kids will love it!

Image courtesy of Matt Seymour on Unsplash

Gold ‘N Gem Grubbin’ | 5 Gold Nugget Lane | Cleveland

Experience the gold rush at Gold ‘N Gem Grubbin’. Formerly a part of the Loud Mine that supplied ore to the Dahlonega Mint, Gold ‘N Gem Grubbin’ remains North Georgia’s premier commercially operated gold mine.

Located a short drive from your cabin rental in Helen it is another favorite spot for seeking out treasures in the hills of northern Georgia. You can grab a bucket of gold or gem ore and pan through it under the trees at one of the attraction’s sluices, or you can do things the old-fashioned way. Grab a screen, roll up your pant legs, and jump right into the adjacent creek to start your hunt for gold, stones, and artifacts of your very own.

Think you’ve come across something special? Take your finds inside the gem shack where their well-trained staff can evaluate them.  Once you know what you’ve got, you can have your stone(s) set in 14k gold or sterling silver and turned into a piece of custom jewelry that you can keep forever.

You’ll have no admission or parking fees, but they do charge for the buckets. At Gold ‘N Gem Grubbin’ you can invest in the experience of a lifetime.

Image courtesy of Dukes Creek Gold and Ruby Mines

Duke’s Creek Gold & Ruby Mines | 7901 S. Main St. | Helen

Go gold panning in Helen, Georgia at Dukes Creek Gold & Ruby Mines. Not far from Georgia’s mountain cabin rentals, you can experience the history of the state’s gold rush while panning for gold in the beautiful Georgia landscape at Dukes Creek Gold & Ruby Mines.  

Gold is still in northern Georgia, and the folks at Duke’s Creek know it. That’s why they have a group of expert gold and ruby panners ready and available to teach guests like yourself the tricks of the trade. History enthusiasts, adventure seekers, gold diggers, and curious families alike will have a great time bonding together as they seek out treasures right here in Helen’s own Duke’s Creek.

Duke’s Creek Gold & Ruby Mines professes itself to be the “best-operating gold & gem mine” here in White County. You don’t have to take our word for it, take a look for yourself!

You’ll quickly find yourself mesmerized by the beauty of the area, and you’re sure to find something special during your excursion. It was only due to the sheer volume of gold, rubies, and sapphires that were discovered at Duke’s Creek that the mine ever decided to open its doors to the public. Featuring an abundance of precious stones, Duke’s Creek guarantees that everyone who visits will find something unique to take home.   

You’ve got a few different options for gold and gem panning at Duke’s Creek. Many people enjoy working from a random bucket that’s filled with mixed gems and gold ore. They screen them with the assistance of skilled and seasoned panners at one of the facility’s many available tables. These mixed gold and gem pans are available in small, large, and family sizes and all include many other precious stones.

If you’re looking solely for gold, ask for a premier gold bucket. You might want to inquire about the facility’s fossil, bloodstone, and quartz crystal buckets. The mining crew consists of experts who have been in the business for more than forty years, and have the know-how to recognize certain precious stones and metals. These pros will show you everything you need to know and if you come upon something unusual, you can take the stone or metal into the shop and have it set into a piece of jewelry that can become a lifelong souvenir and heirloom. You’ll find stones that will create lasting memories at Duke’s Creek.  

You and your family will have a blast together as you learn about the different stones that you may be able to find within your buckets, and how to go about panning for those minerals together. As a group, you’ll exclaim with excitement over your findings, and have fun identifying precisely which stones and minerals you have come across. Every moment will be a “Kodak” moment.

Image courtesy of Consolidated Gold Mining Company

Consolidated Gold Mines | 185 Consolidated Gold Mine Rd. | Dahlonega

You’ll find a day of thrills and excitement awaiting you at Consolidated Gold Mines where they offer an exhilarating experience for the whole family.

In addition to spending time seeking out those coveted “diamonds in the rough,” you’ll also enjoy the experience of traveling back in time to the days of the first Gold Rush as you descend 200 feet underground and embark upon an adventure. An expert guide will lead you on your journey down the stairs and into an actual gold mine from the days of yesteryear. You’ll learn all about the miner’s struggles as they searched for gold that was lurking within the large quartz veins. You’ll hear about the ways these miners lived and what it was like to be them at the turn of the century.

After you take a 40-minute tour of the largest rock gold mine this side of the Mississippi, you can spend time with your loved ones as you attempt to accomplish what the miners did so long ago – find gold! Seasoned gold panners work with you to teach you how to go about panning for gold, and with any luck, you’ll find something special to take home with you and show to your friends.

You might like to give the mine’s “Gemstone Grubbin'” experience a spin. You’ll use water-powered flumes to turn up emeralds, rubies, moonstones, garnets, sapphires, amethysts, and many other stones. Be sure to turn in your rough stones so they can be polished into sparkling jewels and made into custom jewelry.


If you’re looking for a great way to spend time bonding with and connecting with your family, a trip to Consolidated Gold Mine could be just what the doctor ordered. There’s so much to do and experience that kids and grown-ups alike will be fascinated by the exciting history and prospect of finding treasures within your ore. You can learn something new together, work together, and strike it rich together. You’ll want to get your finds assessed and bottled up so you can enjoy them as a souvenir!

Image courtesy of Austin Ban on Unsplash

The Dahlonega Gold Museum | 1 Public Square N. | Dahlonega

Located in the center of town, the friendly staff at the Dahlonega Gold Museum will guide you through the rich history of gold mining in northern Georgia.

The museum is located inside a restored courthouse and features a 23-minute film describing the mining techniques and lifestyles of the prospectors who once populated the area. You will see antique gold coins, gold nuggets, and gold-bearing quartz rock. If you look closely at the locally made bricks of the courthouse you just might see more gold! This historic landmark will take you back in time, and you will enjoy learning more about the history of the Gold Rush.

Prospecting does not have to be a lonely affair.  Take your family and enjoy some gold panning and spend a few days at one of Georgia’s cabin rentals. Every day is an adventure here!

If you have visited the mines, were you lucky enough to strike it rich at one of these Helen attractions? What sort of treasure did you uncover?

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Explore Things to Do Articles & Resources 

We’ve written several articles to help you plan the best romantic getaway in north Georgia. Explore our things to do hub, or visit the individual resources below.