Lynx Creek is located southeast of Prescott in the upper Bradshaw mountains. The creek flows into Lynx Lake. From highway 69, take Walker Rd. south toward Lynx Lake. Drive around the lake until you find the creek that feed the lake.
The area has been heavily professionally mined, bearing more than 100,000 ounces of gold since gold was first discovered in 1863. The creek and surrounding area was hydraulic mined to great effect.
Lynx Creek is now a recreation area and is therefor unavailable to mining claims and is open to anyone to practice some recreational gold prospecting. Because it is a recreation area, there are specific rules that are strictly enforced by the forest service.
- No power tools of any kind, whether electric, gas, or other
- No mechanical equipment, even if hand powered
- No chemicals, such as mercury or cyanide
You can use:
- pick & shovel
- gold pans
- crevicing hand tools
Farther upstream, the recreation ends and you run into active mining claims. If you go upstream and come upon what is obvious workings, you have stumbled upon a mining claim and should work you way back downstream.
I do not recommend Lynx Creek for metal detecting and nugget shooting. There are "hot rocks" everywhere along the creek. And, while nuggets of good size were reported during it's heyday, the gold that is typically found now is fine gold - too small for nugget shooting.
There are two good ways to go about prospecting Lynx Creek, crevicing and finding virgin ground.
Crevicing is the act of retrieving gold that has been trapped over time in the cracks and crevices of bedrock along streams and waterways.
It can be facilitated with the use of crevicing tools like little picks, almost like dental tools, to reach into even the smallest cracks and pull out the dirt and gold. Another popular method is the use of either a dry suction device such as an outdoor vacuum, or a wet suction device that sucks water and debris.
The best gold I have personally found at Lynx Creek was found in virgin ground that the early miners left behind. I found where the forest service had used a bulldozer to clear away a spot for parking. They cleaned off the top layers of soil. I was able, with pick and shovel, to dig down to bedrock.
In the low spots of bedrock and crevices I found nice gold. I also found a big ball of mercury. Whether it was naturally occurring or spilled by early miners I do not know.
No matter which methods you choose, Lynx Creek is an excellent place to learn to pan for gold and to hone your skills. You probably will not get rich, but if you use proper techniques you will find gold every time.