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The first gold in Montana was found in 1852 on Gold Creek in Powell County. In 1863 the very rich deposits of Alder Gulch near Virginia City created a rush to the area. Since that time Montana has produced 17,752,000 ounces of gold and it is ranked seventh among the gold producing states. More than half of Montana's gold production is derived as a by product from large copper mines. Some of this state's richest placer ground is found in Broadwater County on the easterns slopes of the Elkhorn Moutains.

Beaverhead County Montana

by Tom Ashworth

Beaverhead County probably produced more than 370,000 ounces of gold, but much of it was not recorded. In 1862 the first major placer was discovered in Beaverhead County and it started a gold rush to Montana.


The Argenta district is located 12 miles northwest of Dillon and had a total production of 65,350 ounces of gold. In Rattlesnake, French and Watson Creeks, in the stream gravels and bench deposits you can find placer gold. The area mines were discovered in 1865 and produced lode and placer gold.

Bald Mountain

In the Bald Mountain area, which is 20 miles west of Dillon and 7 miles west of Bannack, the area placers were worked in 1869 and on occasion since.


Bannack district and ghost town is 22 miles southwest of Dillon and was the first territorial capital. It had a total production of 240,000 ounces of gold. 108,400 ounces of that total came from lode mines. Along Grasshopper Creek, the best known early day placer workings can be found. They were worked on a large scale in 1862. All tributary creeks and benches in the area contain placer gold. There are many old lode mines along both sides of Grasshopper Creek.


The Big Hole, Dark Horse and Mulchy Gulch placers are intermittently worked since 1862. They are located 45 miles east of Dillon.


Southeast of Brenner 6 miles at Horse Prairie, in Colorado Gulch you can find some placer gravels that contain gold.


Northwest of Dillon, in Frying Pan Basin, in area creeks and bench gravels you can find some placer gold. This area was worked in the 1930's. Also along Camp Creek, the creek gravels contain gold.


West of Melrose 12 miles, in the northeast part of the county, is the Bryant district. It had a total production of 17,440 ounces of gold. The area bas metal mines produce a by product of gold. In all the streams in the area you can find placer gold.


East of Monida, there are numerous north flowing creeks that contain gold.


West of Wisdom 14 miles, along Pioneer Creek you can find placer gold.

Broadwater County Montana

by Tom Ashworth

Some of Montana's richest placers were found in Broadwater County, but much of it went unreported. Probably several million ounces came from this county.

Confederate Gulch District

In and around Backer, Canyon and Diamond City, along the gulch tributaries of the Missouri river, in the north part of the county produced around 600,000 ounces of gold. All the area gulches have had placer activity. Northwest of Confederate Gulch is the White Creek District. Gold has been found in the drainage basins of White Creek, Avalanche Creek and in the upper part of White Creek and its tributary Johnny Gulch. Magpie Gulch also had some rich placer ground. Hellgate Creek and its tributaries also produced well. Beaver Creek and all its tributaries, especially those above and below Confederate Gulch look promising.

Radersburg District

Ten miles west of Toston, on the east side of the Elkhorn Mountains, in the south part of the county is the Radersburg district. The Keating Mine is in this district along with many other rich lode mines. Along Crow creek and it tributaries there is some rich placer ground. Below town, along Eagle and Sam Creeks you can find some rich placer gravels. In Johnny Gulch there is also some good gold being found.

Townsend District

South of Townsend 3 miles along Deep Creek there are some old placer deposits.

Carbon County Montana

by Tom Ashworth


South of Berry, along the Clark Fork of the Yellowstone River, near the Wyoming line you can find some very fine placer gold.

Cascade County Montana

by Tom Ashworth

A total of 67,000 gold ounces, primarily from the Neihart area between 1881 and 1959 have been recorded in Cascade County.


Cascade used to be a stop for the Great Northern RR. 5 miles above Cascade on the Missouri river, the gravels bars used to yield a days pay with a rocker box.


East of Neihart, in the SE corner of the County, in the central Little Belt Mountains there were small placer operations years ago. the Montana District was Primarily lead and silver producing, but gold was produced as a by product. In the area south of the mountains there are reports of some excellent placer gold being found.

Flathead County Montana

by Tom Ashworth


Southwest of Kalispell in Chief Cliff Draw (Elmo) the area gravel deposits contain placer gold.

Gallatin County Montana

by Tom Ashworth


Southwest of Bozeman 32 miles in West Gallatin, on the West Fork of the Gallatin River there is placer gold in the gravel bars.

Judith Basin County Montana

by Tom Ashworth


Southwest of Hobson 25 miles, at Yogo Creek, there were some very productive placers with large water worn nuggets.


Southwest of Stanford 14 miles along Running Wolf Creek you can find some nice gold.


Southwest of Utica 15 miles in Yogo Gulch, in the igneouss dikes intruded through limestone outcrops on hillsides above the gulch, you can find gold, with rubies and saphires.

Meagher County Montana

by Tom Ashworth

In the Big Belt Mountains, on tributaries of the Smith River there are some good places to find placer gold.

White Sulphur Springs

Northeast of White Sulphur Springs 14 miles, at Musselshell, the area creek gravels and benches yield placer gold. Northwest 25 miles, at Watson (Elk Creek), along Benton and Elk Creek there are some productive placers. Northwest 30 miles, along Beaver Creek you can find some nice gold.

Sanders County Montana

by Tom Ashworth

Trout Creek Town

Along Prospect, Vermillion and Trout Creeks the stream and terrace gravels may contain gold.

Sweet Grass County Montana

by Tom Ashworth

At the headwaters of the Boulder River there were some productive placers.

Toole County Montana

by Tom Ashworth


East of Sunburst 23 miles at Gold Butte, most of the area stream and bench gravels contain placer gold.

© Mike Higbee's Prospectors Cache / Mike Higbee - mailto:49erMike@tomashworth.com / Revised