Treasure Hunting Shows

America’s Backyard Gold: Can you actually make money prospecting for gold on the coast?

Prospecting for gold on Oregon’s beaches is not quite as easy as America’s Backyard Gold made it seem, but it can be quite rewarding.

To most of us, a ‘gold rush’ is an old-timey trend that died out years ago. However, Dave Turin’s new show “America’s Backyard Gold” sets out to prove that there are still a ton of places dotted all over the United States which are well-primed for a modern-day gold rush.

Episode three of the show, titled “Big Dollar Beaches” sees Turin take viewers along for the ride as he explains that there is gold to be found – not only in the hills and rivers – but also hidden on the sandy beaches of his home state, Oregon.

Oregon’s gold-flaked beaches

Oregon has always been known for its vast caches of gold, but the locals believe that some of the gold hidden up in the state’s mountains and stream, eventually run down and mix with the sand on its beaches.

As a result, Oregon’s beaches have built up quite a reputation among prospectors for having plenty of gold for the taking.

The stories of gold hidden on Oregon’s beaches stretch back to the early 1850s, when two brothers struck it big on a beach a few miles north of Whiskey Run Creek.

The promise of gold dust hidden in the sand has since been enough to inspire prospectors all around the country to travel to the state’s beaches, (including, but not limited to: Whiskey Run, Ophir, Pistol River, Port Orford, Otter Rock and Gold Beach).

According to Turin and America’s Backyard Gold, Oregon’s record-breaking rainfall over the last couple of years means that there is more gold than ever up for the taking on these popular beaches.

And this makes Oregon’s coast a prime spot for weekend warriors and serious prospectors alike. However, like with everything shown on television, there might be more to it than that.

America’s Backyard Gold so far

Oregon’s Whiskey Run area is not the only reportedly gold-rich location that Turin has visited so far in the first season of America’s Backyard Gold.

And the episodes that have aired thus far have seen the Gold Rush star travel far and wide to several different states, as follows:

Episode Focus
1.  “Rivers of Easy Gold” Gold Country, California
2.  “There’s Gold in Them Thar Georgia Hills” Lumpkin County, Georgia
3.  “Big Dollar Beaches” The Pacific Coast, Oregon
4.  “Wild West Coast” Black Hills, South Dakota
5.  “Desert Gold Boom” Mojave Desert, California
6.  “Carolina Rare Gold” River of Gold, South Carolina

How much gold is really on Oregon’s beaches?

Gannon Smith, the beach prospector who Turin enlisted for his expertise in episode three, revealed that he has collected up to $2,000 worth of gold during his many sluicing adventures.

The gold that you can pick up prospecting on Oregon’s beaches is generally considered to be ‘flour gold’, a very fine form of gold that can be worth quite a bit in large quantities.

As of April 24, 2024, every ounce of this fine gold could earn you about $2,305 (give or take).

How much does it cost to look for gold on Oregon’s beaches?

As every experienced gold prospector knows, getting caught up in the promise of the high-value gold that you might be able to find, could easily distract you from the expenses, time and effort that you will have to put into sorting through all that sand.

And, in reality, getting an Oregon beach prospecting up and running can end up costing more than you may have initially expected. The cost of such an operation varies depending on a few factors.

Equipment costs remain the biggest expense to any mining operation, and while you can certainly DIY your sluice set-up, a gold cube like the one shown on America’s Backyard Gold can cost as much as $529.

Your operation may also be subject to various permit regulations (which could cost you up to another $500), as well as travel costs, food costs and more.

In the end, you will likely need to find more than an ounce of gold to really say that you made money prospecting on Oregon’s coast.

Other things to keep in mind

While it is certainly possible to make money prospecting on Oregon’s coastal regions, there is a reason why these beaches are not always filled-to-the-brim with sluice boxes.

Prospecting for gold is a complicated hobby and the ever-changing landscape of this region makes it incredibly difficult to mine the same vein multiple days in a row.

You will also have to keep in mind that prospectors can be territorial, and you do not accidentally want to infringe on someone else’s “claim”.