In view of the gold price, which is currently so high, more and more people are becoming interested in leisure activities. Unfortunately, one of the problems is finding a place where they can wet their hands and find real gold. This is an opportunity that is close to millions of Californians, where everyone can collect their own free gold. Not far from sunny Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Range, the San Gabriel River has gained a significant amount of gold, including some large nuggets. The San Gabriel Mountains are located in part of the Transverse Range geological province in Southern California, just a short drive north of Los Angeles. This place has become a very popular spot for local prospectors – much of the Placer area is designated for recreational purposes, and anyone can browse here for free.
It's not uncommon for a large number of people to be out here on weekends, though not all are prospectors. There are a dozen people here and perhaps half a dozen scattered along the San Gabriel River looking for gold. The main area for Placer is located about 30 miles north of Azusa and deep in the Angeles National Forest, slightly upstream from the Camp Williams Trailer Park. The San Gabriel River is not terribly rich, but it consistently provides the hardworking prospector with some nice little nuggets, flakes and golds.
Placer Gold was discovered in the 1840s in the San Gabriel series. Since then, the region has had several productive periods. Nuggets and flakes of Placer Gold were extracted from both the Bach gravel and older Terrassenbankkies. From these deposits, several nuggets with a good size of more than one ounce were made. The gravel banks were mined both by hydraulic mining and by tunneling on the bedrock. While a number of streams in the region west of Mt. San Antonio (aka Mount Baldy) were productive, the East Fork of the San Gabriel River has produced the most gold.
In 1874, it was reported that more than $ 2 million of gold was produced in the area. In addition to the productive Placer deposits, there are also several hard rock mines nearby. Lode gold mining was the most productive in the period 1903-1908. In the 1930s, however, there were again some activities. The estimated total production of the Lode mines here is about 50,000 ounces.
The gold quartz veins occur in slate and gneiss, both of which are metamorphic rocks. While the values are patchy, the ore deposits are rich in places. The veins are usually less than 3 feet thick and do not extend to a great depth. The oxidized zones near the surface yielded the richest ore. The erosion of veins in these hard rock deposits is the source of gold nuggets found in the gravel.
The San Francisco River's East Fork is a favorite spot for both picnickers and prospectors from Southern California, and still supplies small amounts of gold. The East Fork was actually the second place where I found some gold myself when I started to mine. While the river bed contains gold, the gravel is very deep and in most places it is impossible to get to the bottom. I have always done my best at digging in the bank gravel above the modern creek. I dug the material from the shore and then dragged it to the river, where I processed it in my lock box. In the concentrates from this location, small grenades are common.