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Entries for the ‘Grant County Gold’ Category

Greenhorn – Oregon Gold Locations

The Greenhorn Mountains are found in the middle of the Umatilla National Forest. The area extends both Grant and Baker Counties. Gold was first discovered in 1864 on Olive Creek, where gold was found in decomposed quartz. The elevation in this area is high and many miners faced snow and hard long winters. In it’s heyday around 1,500 miners lived in the area and worked the many streams and creeks for placer deposits. Once these deposits were worked down, lode deposits were sought out and lode mining began. The lode gold in this area was primarily found in quartz veins.


One of the gold mines in the area was known as the Virginian Mine, which was reported to have had a pocket of quartz gold worth approximately $70,000 at that time. Other mines in the area were: the Morning Glory Mine, Phoenix Mine, Golden Gate Mine, Humbolt Mine, Gold Coin Mine, Don Juan Mine, Royal White Mine, Golden Eagle Mine, Black Hawk Mine, Rabbit Mine, Worley Mine, I.X.L. Mine and Red Bird Mine. These oregon gold locations are all found around the town of Robinsonville and the Greenhorn area. The Worley Mine was reported has one of the richest mines with it’s gold ore being estimated at $1,100 a ton.


The ghost town of Greenhorn City, or Greenhorn is located in both Grant and Baker County has it straddles the county lines. Although not easy to get to in the winter it is a good place to get out your metal detector. Miners first came to Old Greenhorn in 1864 or 1865 for the prospect of gold. Ten years later the town was relocated as just a mining camp. The town was incorporated in 1903. At that time Greenhorn was the highest town in the State of Oregon, with it’s county seat being in Baker County. The location on the map above is the newer location since it lasted much longer and is still referred to;¬† just Greenhorn. Robinsonville is located one mile to the east of Greenhorn. Mining laws prohibited Chinese from gold mining anywhere in the area. The area is mainly known for it’s underground mining, and like most mining towns, Greenhorn went extinct during World War II, but ironically still has a mayor.


Grant County Oregon Gold

In northeastern Oregon in the southwest of the Blue Mountains is the Grant County gold belt. This area was prospected after the big strikes in Baker County. There were some rich discoveries along Canyon Creek, Granite, Greenhorn, North Fork, Quartzburg and Susanville. There was a million ounces of gold or more recovered from Grant County.


Northwest of Bates by 18 miles, down the middle fork of the John Day River, is the Susanville District. This district produced over 50,000 ounces of Oregon gold.

The Middle Fork of the John Day River

The Middle Fork of the John Day River

Along Elk Creek and north of the middle fork of the John Day River, there was some extensive placer operations which were the main source of gold in the district. On the south side of Elk Creek, about 2 miles above its junction with the middle fork, in township 20S range 33E and section 7 on the S1/2, is the Badger Mine. The Badger Mine was the principal lode producer in the district. Other mines in the area include the Chattanooga in Sections 5 and 6. The Daisy Mine in Section 5, the Golden Gate (Poorman) in Sections 7 and 8 east of Badger Mine and north of Elk Creek.

Canyon City

The Canyon City District produced over 900,000 ounces of gold to date. Along the John Day River and all its tributaries contain rich placer deposits. There was numerous area lode mines. The Golden West mine is located in T14S R31E Section 12. The Great Northern Mine is located  in T14S R32E Section 7. The Great Northern Mine was a rich pocket gold mine that produced free gold. The Haight Mine, near the Great Northern Mine, was also a good producer. The Miller Mountain Mine is located on the northeast slope of Miller Mountain and it was also a very rich producer. Near the Marysville School you will find the Prairie Diggings, this mine consisted of shallow surface cuts into a mineralized belt.

The Golden West Mine on Little Canyon Mountian circa 1935

The Golden West Mine on Little Canyon Mountian circa 1935 -Photo courtesy of Nick Sheedy, John Day, Oregon. "The man in the center of that 1935 photo is Isaac "Ike" Gucker, who was a well-known miner who found the Great Northern Mine and mined gold on Little Canyon Mountain for 50 years. Ike Gucker was my great-great-great-uncle, and my family still owns the great Northern & Golden West."--Nick Sheedy


Along Granite Creek and its tributaries Bull Run Creek and Clear Creek was some very rich placer ground. the John Day River is also rich in this area. Desolation Creek was also a very good producer as well. Every creek and gultch in this area should be checked for placer gold.

Prairie City

Dixie Creek produced over 20,000 ounces of placer gold and all of the creeks around Prairie City contain placer gold to some extent.

Canyon City – Oregon Gold Locations

Canyon City has a wonderful history behind it, and better than that it has gold! Gold was first discovered on June 7, 1862 on a stream near the John Day River. An estimate of twenty six million dollars worth of oregon gold was taken from the area. Please keep in mind that these were not based on the present price of gold. In 1862, gold sold for just around twenty dollars an ounce and held pretty steady for two hundred and seventeen years at that price.

Whiskey Gulch and Canyon Creek was estimated to be one of the most concentrated places of gold in one place within the whole State of Oregon. At it’s peak, the area produced five million dollars worth of gold per year. Humbolt drive, the area between the present day town’s of John Day and Canyon City was once priced at five hundred dollars a square yard. It is said that a single pan could hold as much as seven ounces of gold. Much more history can be found at the current day museum located at Canyon City.

Many other mining towns sprang up around the area and this is a good area to start looking for that Oregon Gold.


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