“There’s gold in them thar hills!” The famous words were first uttered by American miner, geologist, and mineralogist M.F. Stephenson. Of course, he was referring to the Georgia mountains of 1849, but he may as well have been referring to the painted desert hills and ridges near Kingman, Arizona. Arizona is home to one of the largest gold mines in North America. The operation, located just two hours south near Wickenburg, has been running since 1906 and produces about a quarter of all gold mined in the United States each year. But if you are looking for your own little piece of fortune, check out this “golden opportunity” near Kingman and the Zuni Village and RV Campground.
A “Golden Opportunity”
While many opportunities to find gold exist in Arizona, it is prudent to exercise due diligence before sifting through the sands or panning in the rivers. Many companies and organizations hold the mineral rights to certain areas and have legal claim to any gold found there. There are still many options to strike gold near Kingman and one family-friendly option is with the American Gold Prospecting Adventures.
Just under two short hours away from Kingman in Wickenburg, Arizona, American Gold Prospecting Adventures offers gold prospecting as well as metal detecting classes in Arizona’s deserts and mountains. The company provides you with all the equipment you’ll need for an all-day adventure in prospecting. For metal detecting classes, participants are required to bring their own metal detectors. In both adventures, you not only learn all the techniques to give you the best chance to find your “fortune,” you also get an education in where gold comes from, learn the best places to prospect, and how to pan. What truly makes this a “golden opportunity” is you get to keep any gold you find!
A Perfect Prospect
Twenty-odd years ago, Jim Somers and his family visited Arizona on a family trip. Their first destination after the hotel was the Goldfield Ghost Town located in the Superstition Mountains. There they learned about the Lost Dutchman Mine and got to experience the thrill first-hand of striking gold in nothing more than a pile of dirt. It wasn’t a large find, not much more than a dime-sized pile of golden flecks, but it was enough to give Jim and his family fever—gold fever.
Jim saw the experience as a perfect prospect—an opportunity to give many more families the same thrilling experience he and his family had experienced. Even more important than the gold itself was the richness of the experience itself—the total disconnect from the frenetic pace of day-to-day living and the connection with nature and other enthusiasts along for the ride. So, the Somers packed up their New Hampshire home and headed for the hills because, after all, that’s where the gold is.
Worth Its Weight
The team at American Gold Prospecting Adventures is composed of well-known names in the prospecting business. Woody Wampler, star of the History Channel’s Legend of the Superstition Mountains, serves as one of the Arizona guides, as do Dave Johnson and Jim Somers. The company offers classes appropriate for everyone in your family, with full-day prospecting adventures where you can learn some advanced prospecting techniques to shorter, four-hour classes perfect for younger prospectors.
Classes are small, limited to five people per adventure, and range in price from $75.00 per person for a four-hour prospecting adventure to $200 per person for a full-day metal-detecting adventure. Do note that metal-detecting classes will resume in November. For more information, or to book your own “golden opportunity,” check out the company’s website.
So, if you’re looking for a vacation destination that has something to offer everyone, Kingman is the place. The convenience of Zuni Village and RV Park offers campers an opportunity to experience all your favorite activities—from fishing in Lake Havasu or exploring the Grand Canyon, to taking in some history at Hualapai Mountain Trading Post & Museum. But if you need another adventure before heading home, be sure to visit American Gold Prospecting Adventures— an experience worth its weight in gold.