15 Best Places to Metal Detect in Maine (Maps, Laws, Clubs and More)

15 Best Places to Metal Detect in Maine (Maps, Laws, Clubs and More)

Maine, it isn’t all lobster fishing and lighthouses, although there is no shortage of those things. In truth, Maine has an impressive diversity of extensive coastlines, early colonial history, and northern wilderness. With all three of these things comes treasure hunting potential, something Maine is overflowing with.

It is for that reason, and also that I was sent there for work, that I visited Maine a couple of years ago. And, of course, whenever I go on a business trip, I bring my metal detecting gear! Who wouldn’t? I remember finding some coins that looked to be quite old on a beach, and even a single earring. It turned out to be stainless steel and cubic zirconium, but it was still cool to find something other than pop-can tabs and construction debris.

Finding Coins on the Beach

I love going to new places to metal detect, as each new state and each new location feels like a renewed chance to find something incredible. However, I always have difficulty finding the best places to metal detect in whatever state it is I have journeyed. That’s why I created this list, and others like it on this website, to hopefully help out my fellow metal detecting enthusiasts.

The Top Maine Metal Detecting Locations (in no particular order)

1. Birch Point Beach State Park

This 62-acre pocket beach on the Penobscot Bay in Owl Head wonderfully represents the picturesque northern beaches that one can find in the state of Maine. Studded, and surrounded, by tall pines, and even taller oaks, this state park is a perfectly unique beach treasure hunting location. If you are used to west coast, or even more southern east coast, beaches, then I highly recommend visiting one of the beaches on this list. It is a completely different experience in the best way imaginable. 

Birch Point Beach State Park, known to the Knox County locals as Lucia Beach, is a relatively new state park, acquired by the state in 1999. It was purchased with funds from the Land for Maine’s Future program, and what a good purchase it was. The crescent shaped sand beach bordering the majestic Atlantic Ocean is a treasure hunters dream, bound to be used by detectorists for generations.

Check out these great Metal Detectors on AMAZON

2. Popham Beach State Park

If you are looking for a highly foot-trafficked beach, the Popham Beach State Park is the place for you. It is not only Maine’s busiest state park beach, but also the state’s highest volume day use park. It is a peninsular beach which, in recent years, has fallen victim to erosion. However, large boulders have been dispersed throughout the beach to help hold off the surf. Nonetheless, as it is still the best place in Maine to go looking for items dropped in the sand.

The Popham beach State park is around 605-acres of clean white sand on the shore the Atlantic Ocean, located in the town of Phippsburg. Sagadahoc County, Maine.

3. Bradbury Mountain State Park

The Bradbury Mountain State park is one of Maine original 5 state parks, acquired by the state in 1939. The parks namesake ‘Bradbury Mountain’ is, in reality, nothing more than a less than 500-foot hill. However, this hill does provide park visitors with unbelievable panoramic views of the park wilderness, something that attracts tons of visitors every year. The park covers 730-acres of natural forest, which hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders take advantage of during every season of the year.

This park is a great place to metal detect because of its surprisingly rich history. Before Europeans arrived, the Wabanakis natives camped on the mountain while on their treks to the coast. Furthermore, in the 1800’s, the historic Cotton family grew grapes on this land as a part of their farm. Plus, in the early twentieth century, some parks of the park were even used for mining. Remnants from all of these historical periods that the park has gone through over the last few centuries are just waiting for you to discover them.

4. Lily Bay State Park

While the whopping 3,478-miles of tidal shoreline that Maine has (51-miles longer than California’s!) might be the main focus of many, the inland beaches of Maine’s many freshwater lakes are nonetheless bursting with treasure hunting opportunity. The Lily Bay State Park encompasses 924-acres on the southern shore of Moosehead Lake. The largest inland lake in the state!

The pebble style shoreline of the Lily Bay may make it more difficult to dig up your finds… but it also means that it is easier to lose things like coins, jewelry, and other small valuables. They get trapped in the cracks between the stones, and a metal detector is the best tool to be able to root out these forgotten treasures. The tens of thousands of people who visit this park every year are bound to have left something for you to find.

5. Ferry Beach State Park

Located just north of the mouth of the Saco river in Saco, Maine, this park is spans nearly 120-acres of both inland and Atlantic shoreline wilderness. The superb white beaches of this south-western state park are tremendous recreation locations that thousands of people visit every year. Moreover, this park gets an additional bump in tourism from its exceedingly rare stand of Tupelo, or Black Gum, tress which are highly uncommon at that latitude.

Before highways became commonplace in Maine, and throughout the states on the coasts of the United States, beaches offered travelers with a safe and easy way to navigate transportation throughout the state. The Ferry Beach get its name from this history, and who knows what relics from this period in time still lay in the sand and soil of this fantastic state park.

6. Aroostook State Park

Another of Maine’s legendary original 5 state parks, the Aroostook State Park is a 900-acre wilderness park that encompasses the Quaggy Jo Mountain and Echo Lake. Both of these landmarks, as well as the sheer beauty of the northern Maine forestry, attract thousands of visitors every year. This also means that you can metal detect on either sand or soil in this park, as Echo lake has a swimming beach and the rest of the park has a lengthy trail system.

The Aroostook State Park, like many of Maine’s State Parks, was once the site of a native settlement. In fact, the Mountain ‘Quaggy Jo’ is named after an alternate pronunciation of the Native American name for the mountain ‘Qua Qua Jo’ which means twin peaked. It should be no surprise then that this location is a potential treasure trove of relics and historical items.

7. Sebago Lake State Park

One of the larger of Maine’s State Parks, the Sebago Lake State Park is 1,342-acres of land plotted on the north shore of the Sebago Lake. It was one of Maine’s original 5 State Parks and remains one of its most visited today. The forested portion of the park is split into an eastern and western portion by the Songo river. The Sebago Lake itself is, impressively, the second largest inland lake in the state!

Because it is located in one of the more metropolitan portions of Maine, this state park is sure to have tons of foot traffic. Thousands of people visit the beach of this south-western freshwater lake every year. I wouldn’t come here looking for relics or anything like that, but for: coins, jewelry, etc. I would give it a wholehearted recommendation.

8. Lamoine State Park

One of the smallest State Parks on this list, the Lamoine State Park comes in at a miniscule 55-acres. However, before you get disappointed… it’s pretty much entirely beachfront property on the Atlantic Ocean! This park has a broad view of the Mount Desert Island (as well as its mountain range) and the sublime Frenchman’s Bay. The park was once home to a coal-burning warship refueling station which has been out of operation for over a hundred years. Who knows what has been left behind from this astounding military history!

The area where this State Park is located is nestled firmly into the most sought-after vacation destination in all of Maine. Out-of-state tourists with lots of money, the kind who wear and potential loose real precious metal and jeweled jewelry, come here every year to swim and enjoy the beach at Lamoine State Park.

9. Scarborough Beach State Park

This State Park is the closest park to Maine’s most populous city Portland, Maine. It is also one of the most visited public beaches in all of Maine given that the water gets all the way up to the high 60’s in temperature during some summer months. This might not seem that impressive to you west coast people, but for people who know how cold north-eastern ocean beaches can get… it’s unprecedented. This is a great location for treasure hunters because of its location, foot traffic, and also the fact that it is a family-friendly beach that is always clean and safe. Plus, if you do wind up taking a dip in the blimey waters of the great blue you can be assured that lifeguards are on duty at all times that the beachfront is open to the public.

10. Rangeley State Park

Deep in the heart of Maine’s Western Mountains, the Rangeley State Park is 869-acres of land and lake, with the 9-mile wide Rangeley Lake being the parks namesake attraction. From the soft sand beaches, decorated with pine trees spaced out, you can see the majestic Saddleback Mountain in the distance.

The Rangeley Lake also has world-famous populations of landlocked trout and salmon which brings fisherman from all around the country. This State Park might not be number one in foot-traffic, historical value, or convenience, but it is unmatched in sheer beauty of the surrounding you get enjoy while you are treasure hunting.

11. Wolfe’s Neck State Park

This 244-acre State Park is located on the Casco Bay just 5-miles out of Freeport, Maine’s bustling shopping district. Even though it is so close to the city, the Wolfe’s Neck State Park offers forests filled with white pine, hemlock, and a unique salt marsh estuary. However, those things are not what the park is famous for. The Wolfe’s Neck State park is well known for its signature residents the ospreys. Ospreys have an impressive average wingspan of around 1.5-meters! They, of course, bring birdwatchers from all around the region to the park.

Furthermore, the park gets its name from Henry and Rachel Wolfe, the parks first European settlers who arrived in 1733. Plus, in the 20th century the park was an organic beef-raising farm. This, along with the osprey’s, means that the park is the perfect combination of high foot-traffic and historical significance. Just think, you can be searching for coins and jewelry at the same time that you’re looking for relics left behind and forgotten in the sand and soil.

12. Footbridge Beach

The Footbridge Beach is one of the more popular tourist beaches on Maine’s oceanic coastline. In fact, it often gets so busy that I have to recommend this location for either early morning or nighttime treasure hunting. And, unlike the state parks on this beach, no permit is required to metal detect. It is a public beach in Your County, Maine in the south-western most portion of the state’s coast. The beach gets its name from the fact that a lengthy footbridge has to be crossed to get to the shoreline because the beach and the mainland is separated by a portion of the Atlantic which juts into the landmass in a sort of river like formation.

13. White Mountain National Forest

The only National Forest on this list, and in the state of Maine, the White Mountain National Forest is a massive 750,852-acres of rolling peaks and pine spotted hillsides. While the vast majority of this park is actually located in the state of New Hampshire, around 5% of the forest is on the border between the two states. The major peaks of the mountains are over 4,00-feet high, and around 100-miles of the legendary Appalachian Trail traverses the White Mountain National Forest.

Like all national forest, you do not even need a permit to metal detect on the premises, which sets White Mountain apart from most of the locations on this list. There are some regulations in regard to what you can and cannot legally take from the forest, these rules can be found linked below in the ‘Metal Detecting Laws in Maine’ section.

14. Ghost Towns (Flagstaff, Dead River, Ligonia Village, Madrid)

Ghost towns are a favored treasure hunting location for detectorist all around the country, and this is no different in the great state of Maine. However, always make sure you aren’t metal detecting on private land without the permission of the landowner. Some ghost towns have public land, or simply plots of land that no one bothers to manage, and these locations are what I recommend you seek out.

In Maine some of the more well-known ghost towns are Flagstaff, Dead River, Ligonia Village, and Madrid. All of these locations were at one-point busy up-and-coming town which for one reason or another have since become all but deserted. Moreover, each of these town have a unique history that has likely been undisturbed in regard to what’s been left behind of that history in the soil.

15. Private Land

Some of my best finds have come from private land, I think this is due to one simple thing… nobody had bothered to metal detect there before. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to just start digging up people’s lawns throwing caution to the wind. You still need to get permission to metal detect on the land from the landowner, if you don’t you are committing a crime, and that I will not endorse. But, if you can find some friends, or even just nice people you meet somewhere along the way, to let you search their back yard… you just might be in for an exciting find!

Pro-Tip: People who have larger yards will be more likely to let you metal detect on them because they don’t see the slight malformation from the holes as that much of a disruption.

Metal Detecting Laws in Maine

State Parks

Metal detecting in any state park in Maine requires you to obtain a metal detecting permit from the park office. These permits allow you to metal detect in the park, however, it is at the discretion of the park management to decide where in the park they will allow you to metal detect.

The only state park you are not allowed to metal detect in is Baxter State Park, because it is not actually owned or managed by the state government.

National Forests

Metal detecting is allowed in all National Forests, with some regulation.

For the specifics visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5261774.pdf (link to National Forest metal detecting and mineral collecting policy)

Footbridge Park

Unlike in Maine’s State Parks, at Footbridge park you are allowed to metal detect without a permit. Of course, you should always respect the land and the people around you, permit or not.

Private Land

You must get permission from the landowner to metal detect on private land. Failing to do so will result in you committing a crime.

Maine Metal Detecting Clubs

Metal Detecting Shops in Maine

Treasure Finds in Maine and Metal Detecting News

  • In the early 1840’s the Grindle family found a treasure trove of around 500-2,000 colonial coins in Castine, Maine.


David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.

15 Best Places to Metal Detect in Nevada (Maps, Laws, Clubs and More)

15 Best Places to Metal Detect in Nevada (Maps, Laws, Clubs and More)

Whenever I talk to folks unfamiliar with metal detecting, they often ask if I’ve ever found gold. In most instances, I laugh it off. Stories about bags of gold hidden by history’s most infamous train robbers or gold prospectors dying before they can return for their buried treasure abound in American history. And even seasoned detectorists are often tempted by those fantasies. But, in my experience, finding gold and gems is rare, with one exception: metal detecting in Nevada.

metal detecting for gold in Nevada
metal detecting for gold in Nevada

Nevada is the top gold and silver producer in the US. It’s also one of the few places where gold and gems are discovered by recreational prospectors and detectorists with frequency. I’m not encouraging a modern-day gold rush, but if you have gold fever, Nevada is a great state to try your hand at it. As an additional selling point, there are public lands in Nevada that allow prospecting for gold and gems, which can simplify your research and planning.

Additionally, if you’re a metal detectorist with a passion for history, Nevada offers countless ghost towns – most the remains of previous gold rushes – that would make fascinating targets for a metal detecting trip. However, ascertaining the legality of metal detecting on those sites is more than I plan to cover in this article. If you’re willing to do your own research, I’d recommend looking into permissions for metal detecting ghost towns like Blair, Austin, Aurora, Belmont and Delamar. Or, do your own historical research (Hint: check out historicaerials.com) to find abandoned ghost towns because you’ll find no shortage of promising leads in Nevada.

Metal Detecting tip: The majority of your finds will be from modern-day folks, so choose a site with a high number of visitors to maximize your chances. HOWEVER, metal detecting is easier and more pleasant during uncrowded times (some metal detector regulations actually require metal detectorists confine their activities to “low” times). Therefore, your timing is often as strategic as choosing a location. You’ll have even better chances if you metal detect after a large event, such as an outdoor concert or sports competition.

Top Nevada Metal Detecting Locations (in no particular order)

1. Mill Creek Recreation Area, Battle Mountain, NV.

This BLM-supervised area allows metal detecting as long as you do no surface damage and don’t remove anything over 100-years-old (see the section on NV laws and regulations below for BLM guidelines). The area receives 30,000 visitors per year, making it a likely place for lost or forgotten personal items. The campground, in particular, is a promising spot to try because – in addition to the numbers of modern-day visitors – it was the site of a Civilian Conservation Corps work camp for nine years during the Great Depression. You’ll see the ruins of some CCC structures, such as the stone columns that once marked the entrance.

2. Illipah Reservoir Recreation Area & Hamilton Ghost Town, Hamilton, NV

The reservoir, parking lots and campground are promising locations for metal detecting finds dropped by contemporary visitors, but beware! This park is hugely popular with anglers, so you’ll probably turn up a good number of hooks, metal sinkers and other discarded fishing accessories in addition to more rewarding finds. The ghost town of Hamilton makes for a fascinating visit (metal detecting not allowed), but the extensive network of roads that once supplied the ghost town should be your target for your actual metal detecting. Their usage – both currently and historically – make them a likely place for a lucky find, metal detecting is permitted and they’re accessible by vehicle. Illipah Reservoir makes a great basecamp for exploring other nearby ghost towns like Belmont and Treasure City.

3. Garnet Hill Recreation Area , Ruth, NV

Explore this BLM trailhead, parking lot, roads and trails, particularly drainage areas. Additionally, this area is a designated rockhounding location, famed for its garnets. The garnets here, known as Almandine, boast an unusually vibrant red color due to the high iron content. You may find it interesting to try garnet-hunting or stick to metal detecting. If you want to try your hand at garnet prospecting, try to go after a rain storm or snowmelt and focus on the southwest corner of the area. In addition to your usual metal detecting gear, you may want to bring a hammer to crack the precious gems out of the rhyolite in which they form.

4. Red Rock Canyon Campground , Las Vegas, NV

This metal detecting location has numerous things to recommend it. For starters, it’s only 20 miles from Las Vegas, meaning it’s both convenient and high traffic, receiving roughly two million visitors a year. It helps that it’s gorgeous too! Red rock chimney and rock formations contrast with exquisitely blue skies. Check out the popular park visitor areas like the parking lots, picnic areas and the campground or set off on any of the 60 miles of trails that suit your fancy.

Metal Detecting tip: Always carry water, snacks and extra clothing on any metal detecting search that takes you away from your car. Even if you only plan to hike a short distance, getting lost or injured is always a possibility, so be prepared. In hot desert locations, water is of extra importance, as is sunscreen.

5. Wilson Canyon, Carson City, NV

I like this unassuming, no-frills BLM recreation spot not because of the chances of a modern find – though the picnic areas are certainly worth a scan. River drainages and basins are some of my favorite public land sites for finding older items washed down the hillsides over years of rain and snowmelt. In addition, you don’t need a mining claim to prospect on public land in Nevada so there’s always the chance of finding gold or silver, as well.

6. Rye Patch Placer District, Winnemucca, NV

This area is hugely popular for gold nugget prospecting with a metal detector. It’s about 50 miles southwest of Winnemucca in northern Nevada, west of Rye Patch Reservoir. The area is remote, some come with plenty of food, water, extra clothing, extra metal detector batteries and a full tank of gas! The area is well-known in the gold-hunting metal detector world because the gold is said to be shallow and easily read by a detector. There’s also little in the way of vegetation so the land is easy to traverse. Personally, I’ve never found gold there, but you might have better luck!

7. Rye Patch State Park, Lovelock, NV

Easily overshadowed by the fame and popularity of the nearby Rye Patch Placer District, Rye Patch State Park is not a go-to location for metal detecting – which is precisely why I like it. It hasn’t been picked over by decades of detectorists, and it offer more chance of finding human items as opposed to only gold.

8. Washoe Lake State Park, New Washoe City, NV

Metal detecting is allowed except at the sand dunes and Little Washoe Lake. Unlike most Nevada State Parks, a permit/permission is not required to metal detect, but – as a courtesy – the park likes to be notified if you’re metal detecting there. Eye-popping views of the Sierra Mountains and numerous trails make this a location that can keep you and your metal detector busy for many days. I love the scenery of this pristine, unpopulated area and highly recommend a visit. Nearby former mining towns, like Dayton and Virginia City, are historically interesting, and the remnants the Ophir Mill (which processed the treasure of Virginia City’s Comstock Lode) are on the west shore of the lake.

9. Nevada Beach Campground & Recreation Area, Stateline, NV

This location is high on my list for an overnight family camping trip with some metal detecting thrown in, but not low if your only interest is metal detecting. Beaches are always great candidates for modern-day finds, and this beautiful, uncrowded setting makes for a great getaway. But, to be honest, the metal detecting finds have been sparse.

If your looking for the tools and gear to metal detect for gold check out this article – Metal Detecting Gear for Gold

10. Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, Incline, NV

This is one of the few Nevada State Parks that allows metal detecting – but only with the park supervisor’s permission. As the Coronavirus prevention measures have reduced visitor capacity at State Parks and recreation areas, there may be less opportunity for metal detectorists, depending on how they’re prioritizing use and taking reservations. When I contacted the park for this article, however, the park was currently allowing metal detecting with permission and the reminder that historical artifacts are not to be removed.

11. Zephyr Cove Resort Beach, Zephyr Cove, NV

This National Forest beach is popular and scenic – and you can enjoy a meal or a drink in the restaurant without resorting the squashed peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich and warm Coke in your backpack. And, if you time your detecting for after big crowds or crowded times, you’ll find enough in loose change to pay for it!

12. Round Hill Pines Resort Beach, Zephyr Cove, NV

Another National Forest Beach near Zephyr Cove. This beach is particularly popular with families, and the areas of traffic are always very promising. So, with lots of kayaking and paddle boating, picnic facilities, parking lots and play areas, you’ll hopefully have a fruitful detecting trip.

13. Skunk Harbor Beach, Spooner Lake, NV

This beach is rustic and remote, with no facilities. The hike from the parking area to the beach is a hike in itself, so be ready for a rugged day. The two things I like about this location are: the solitude of the out-of-the-way location (which can, conversely, be a detriment to metal detecting) and the historic stone structures that give the area a more historic significance than most beach metal detecting sites. Of course, you can’t remove artifacts from the historic sites, but they make for great sightseeing and ambiance while you metal detect the beach!

14. Chimney Beach, Carson City, NV

This small, rustic beach is, nevertheless, very popular with beachgoers. It has no facilities and is quite a strenuous hike from the parking area, so be prepared to be self-sufficient for the duration of your metal detecting hunt. I highly recommend metal detecting the trail between the parking area and the beach – I’ve had great luck there! By the way, if you’re curious about the name… Chimney Beach is named for an actual chimney on the beach, the remains of a historic cabin that once enjoyed that scenic real estate. Who knows, maybe you’ll find other evidence from previous residents in addition to modern-day beach visitors.

15. Camp Richardson Resort Beach, South Lake Tahoe, CA

Just over the state line in California, this beach is both hugely popular and historic. As usual, avoid crowded times but scan the most popular areas, particularly around the dock and marina. As Camp Richardson Resort is on National Forest land, it’s operated by a private concessionaire, so the permissions for metal detecting are hazy. Best practice would be to contact the resort for permission – or prepared to run away very, very quickly if someone starts shouting at you!

Metal Detecting Laws in Nevada

A note about metal detecting in Nevada State Parks: While the State Park Service website (http://parks.nv.gov/about/frequently-asked-questions) offers the somewhat optimistic guideline: “Metal detecting is permitted in designated areas with the permission of the park supervisor,” it’s not as promising as it sounds. After contacting half a dozen state park offices, the majority of them do NOT allow metal detecting. Those that do are included in the list above.

  • Metal detecting is not allowed in National Parks or National Monuments anywhere in the US.
  • Metal detecting is allowed on most Nevada Bureau of Land Management as long as no cultural artifacts are removed. “Cultural materials on public lands may not be removed, damaged, disturbed, excavated or transferred without BLM permit. Cultural resources include prehistoric and historic artifacts and sites, broken objects and debris more than 100 years old that were used or produced by humans. Historic sites such as cabins, sawmills, graves, trail traces, mining areas, townsites, ranches and railroads are not open to collecting.” You can collect modern money but not coins over 100 years old. Check out the complete Nevada BLM guidelines for collecting on public lands (link: https://www.blm.gov/sites/blm.gov/files/documents/files/collecting_on_publiclands.pdf
  • Some Nevada State Parks DO allow metal detecting with permission of the park supervisor. Contact any park you’re interested in detecting at before going.
  • Regulations for city and county parks and other public lands will vary from place to place, so be sure to check with the appropriate agency to determine if metal detecting is allowed.
  • Metal detecting is permitted on private land with the property owner’s written permission.
  • The pertinent info you need to know in National Forest Regulations is:
    1. The recreational use of metal detectors and the collection of rocks and mineral samples are allowed on the National Forests. Generally, most of the National Forests are open to recreational mineral and rock collecting, gold panning and prospecting using a metal detector.
    2. Metal detector use is allowed in developed campgrounds and picnic areas if they are not specifically closed to such activity.
    3. Archaeological remains on federal land, known or unknown, are protected under law. If you were to discover such remains, you should leave them undisturbed and report your find to the local Forest Service office. 

Item number 3 is a standard regulation for metal detecting in any park, municipality or jurisdiction in the USA due to the Antiquities Act of 1906, the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the Archaeological Resources Preservation Act (ARPA). These national laws mean that you can’t remove any find you believe is 100 years old or more. These potential archaeological artifact should be reported to the State Archaeologist or the governing body of the park/land where you make the find.

Nevada Metal Detecting Clubs

  • Reno Prospecting and Detecting Club (link: http://renoprospectinganddetecting.com/)
  • Gold Searchers of Southern Nevada (link: http://www.goldsearchersnv.com/). This club is unique as it’s not simply a source of social activities and informational resources for detectorists. It offers prospecting equipment that members can check out and has several gold claims where members can engage in various prospecting activities.
  • Passport in Time (link: http://www.passportintime.com/). While not actually a club, this National Forest Service program offers a chance to metal detect, as a volunteer, on specific projects. It offers the chance to enjoy your metal detecting hobby, while preserving our country’s historical relics on public lands.

Metal Detecting Shops in Nevada

If you’re having trouble finding a (brick and mortar) metal detector shop near you, two things to keep in mind when shopping for or servicing a metal detector:

  1. Shops for power tool supplies and rentals will often carry metal detectors. Similarly, some small electronics repair or power tool repair shops may be able to service your metal detector.

Also, if you’re unsure about your commitment to the hobby, I highly recommend renting a couple times, keeping in mind the quality of a rental is usually lower than one you would by. Many metal detector dealers and, also, local tool rental companies have metal detectors for rent.

2. Online purchase – and even repair – of metal detectors is becoming hugely popular – for good reason. The selection is better and the convenience of the location isn’t an issue than a standard showroom-type shop. The only drawback is the long delay for shipping of your purchase or repair. This also brings me to my final metal detecting tip.

Metal detecting tip: Learn and perform basic maintenance on your metal detector. Even if there’s a great repair shop close to your home, there’s never any guarantee there will be one close to your search site. There’s nothing worse than being deep in the woods for a full-day or even a weekend-long hunt and having something break. Also: carry a spare coil, extra batteries and any other common replacement parts for the model you use.

Treasure Finds in Nevada and Metal Detecting News

“Eldorado Canyon Day; From Lawless Gold Mining Mecca to a Hoarder’s Dream” (Link: https://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2018/03/25/eldorado-canyon-day-from-lawless-gold-mining-mecca-to-a-hoarders-dream/

“It’s All About the Treasure Hunt for Reno Prospector” (link: https://www.rgj.com/story/news/2015/02/19/treasure-hunt-reno-prospector/23706277/)

“Amazing Treasure Finds in Every State” (link: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/personalfinance/amazing-treasure-finds-in-every-state/ss-AAK6ArC)


David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.

15 Best Places to Metal Detect in New Hampshire (Maps, Laws, Clubs and More)

15 Best Places to Metal Detect in New Hampshire (Maps, Laws, Clubs and More)

Last summer, my elderly mother decided to take a month off from her Florida retirement to spend time with my family in New Hampshire. It was a great idea – but in practice, what could I possibly offer her to fill her time? She wouldn’t be able to keep up with us on our hiking and backpacking in the White Mountains, and we had no interest in watching Jeopardy with her every night. I needn’t have worried. When she arrived, she brought the solution with her: her trusty metal detector. For years, she’d combed the beaches with it, and now we had a chance to learn about New Hampshire together – with a metal detector!

It helped immensely that my mom loves to read and research, while we like to hike and explore. When we combined forces on a month of New Hampshire metal detecting, we were an impressive team. Between research and metal detecting expeditions, I learned more about the state in one month than I had the previous 12 months living in New Hampshire. For example, most of the hiking trails and remote wilderness areas I love so much would not be accessible today, if it wasn’t for logging operations and the extensive networks of mostly temporary railroads built to serve them. Ever hiked the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire? You’re benefitting from an old railroad bed.

So, if you’re interested in metal detecting in New Hampshire, here are our top 15 metal detecting locations:

Abandoned Towns, Settlements and Mines

When looking out at some vantage point over New Hampshire’s White Mountains, they’re forested, thick and green. The idea of calling them “white” seems very inapt. Though there are references to the “White Mountains” or “White Hills” in Colonial documents, no actual historical record exists of how the White Mountains were named. The accepted theory is that the name goes back to the first view of the area by white explorers, possibly even in the 1500s. When viewed from the sea, the peaks of the mountains were often snow-capped, even at times when the rest of the landscape was green. Hence, the White Mountains.

Over the course of New Hampshire’s logging history, 19 railroads were built in the state or farther north to move supplies in and product out. The majority of the railroads and accompanying logging settlements are now completely abandoned. Some are commemorated with signs, parks or museums, but most are virtually forgotten. Most of these sites are located in White Mountains National Forest. Technically, you’re not permitted to metal detect at historic sites, so use these suggestions as a jumping-off point in your search but not where you do your actual metal detecting.

When metal detecting for historical items, the goal is discovery and documentation, not possession. You’re not allowed to keep anything over 100 years or of historical significance, but are supposed to report it – to a park manager or state archaeologist, depending on the type of land.


Rules for metal detecting in New Hampshire National Forests: No permit required. No digging allowed, just surface searching. No removal of historical artifacts.

1. Thornton Gore Farming Settlement (via Tripoli Road).

The history of Thornton Gore is slightly different than other abandoned logging settlements: It was an agricultural village before timber became the dominant industry, as opposed to a slipshod temporary settlement built for loggers. When timber companies took over, their goal was the regrowth of the forest for future harvests with no interest in the buildings, so they simply left former homes and the school undisturbed, to be swallowed up by the forest.

The White Mountain Historical Society captures the poignant process well: “The effect of decades of decay was inevitable; the buildings fell to the ground, their timbers decomposed, and the forest reclaimed the land.  In some cases, farm equipment was left to rust in the fields and some remains today.  Only stonewalls, cellar holes and cemeteries are left to tell the stories of the once thriving towns.” To learn more about the history of the area go HERE.

2. Passaconaway Settlement

Passaconaway Settlement may be one of the largest of New Hampshire’s abandoned logging towns, once home to as many as 1,200 people, two schools, a store, a post office, boarding houses and homes. Today, you’ll find a Forest Service Visitor Center, but only the cemetery is readily visible.

3. Village of Livermore via the Sawyer River Trail

A former logging settlement, Livermore once claimed 200 residents at its peak but was completely abandoned by the 1950s.

4. Zealand logging settlement ruins (via Zealand Falls Trail)

(Map: ). Even if you come up empty-handed, you won’t regret this stop. The hike is only 2.5 miles, easy and scenic. Keep your eyes open for the ruins of the ill-fated Zealand logging company, which was done in by, not one, but two wildfires before closing its operations here.

5. Make your own discovery

During the heyday of New Hampshire logging, logging camps popped up haphazardly, with little planning, documentation or thorough removal. Many camps and artifacts remain, unrecorded, nearly invisible, awaiting discovery – or complete absorption into the forest. Along the abandoned Swift River Railroad in the Swift River Valley, just as one example, nearly 20 logging camps have been documented for the first time by outdoor recreationists! Dozens of logging railroad lines lay abandoned in New England’s bountiful forests – many on National Forest land – and along each one are untold numbers of abandoned logging settlements. A few railroads with sections that meet these criteria are the Zealand Railroad, the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, the Swift River Railroad and Gordon Pond Railroad. So, do some research and become an amateur anthropologist!

For our family’s metal detecting hunts, most of these sites required extensive walking, often off-trail and weren’t appropriate for my mother’s level of fitness. So keep in mind the level of exertion you’re interested in when choosing your metal detecting locations. No matter what, bring a backpack with plenty of water, snacks, clothing for adverse weather and anything else you’d prudently carry on a remote outdoor activity.

Metal detecting tip: Pile all the removed sand/dirt into an upside-down Frisbee so that when you finish digging you can refill the hole with minimal effort and minimal impact on the area outside the hole.

Beaches: Lakes

At the foot of the White Mountains, in the Lakes Region, you’ll find numerous – you guessed it! – lakes. With only 13 miles of coastal shoreline, most beaches in New Hampshire are on lakes. You can pretty much pick any beach, whether lake or ocean, and it’s a prime spot for metal detecting. Personal items that are easily dropped are then, just as easily, buried by the sand. Moreover, metal detecting is almost universally permitted at public beaches, unless otherwise posted. While New Hampshire’s ocean beaches have an entrance fee, most of my lake beach metal detecting suggestions are free.

General beach detecting guidelines include: Avoid metal detecting during crowded times and avoid interfering with other recreational activities. Fill in any holes you make.

6. Bartlett Beach, Lake Winnisquam:

Small but pleasant. Check the picnic area in addition to the beach.

7. Brewster Beach – Wolfeboro Public beach, Lake Winnipesaukee

Bustling with activity all summer long. Kids’ swimming activity make mid-day too crowded for detecting. Like many beaches, recommend early morning for metal detecting.

8. Weirs Beach Endicott Park, Lake Winnipesaukee

We’ve had a lot of luck detecting at this popular beach.

9. 19 Mile Bay Beach, Lake Winnipesaukee

Oft-forgotten, this is a good beach to visit when others might be too crowded to pull out a metal detector.

10. Ellacoya State Park, Lake Winnipesaukee

This is a gorgeous and popular beach, a very good bet for a detectorist. Consider the campground areas, parking lots and other frequently-traveled areas that may permit metal detecting.

11. Sunapee State Beach, Sunapee Lake

Tip: check out boat launch area. You’d be surprised how much goes overboard here.

12. Wellington State Park, Newfound Lake.

The largest freshwater beach in the state, it’s no surprise that this beach can get very crowded, especially on weekends and holidays.

13. White Lake State Park, White Lake.

A scenic gem, tucked away and usually less crowded. If you come with a family or enjoy other hobbies – like canoeing or camping – in addition to metal detecting, you might want to make a weekend visit.

Bring your bathing suit and towel because the crisp, blue water and a sunny day may distract you from your metal detecting mission and entice you in!

Metal detecting tip: If it’s the monetary value of your finds that excites you, research any old coins you find. Out of everything you find (and are permitted to keep), rare, older coins will bring in the most money. If you know what they’re worth.

Beaches: Ocean

Finally, we put my mom’s metal detector to use in its native habitat: an ocean beach. This was the type of metal detecting my mother had been doing in Florida for years, and she was a pro. She gladly shared her techniques and years of experience with us beach-combing newbies.

When metal detecting at beaches, your goal is almost always modern-day finds. Lost watches, coins, phones. This may or may not excite you much, but an industrious detectorist can make a pretty rewarding endeavor of returning lost items to their owners or find that a summer’s worth of assorted coins adds up to a decent sum of money. If this type of metal detecting doesn’t get you jazzed up, you’re not alone: skip the beaches! But if you are targeting beaches: think “high traffic.” Parking lots, entrance and exit points to the beach, the most crowded beach spots…those should be your targets. However, you’ll want to do your actual metal detecting during less crowded times. Also, check the calendars for major events! The day after a triathlon or a beach concert are strategic times to go metal detecting.  

Some of my mother’s fellow detectorists in Florida have made a veritable business out of their detecting hobbies, setting up “lost and found” websites or social media pages specifically to return items found while metal detecting (with a “tip” or reward gladly accepted). They also check for flyers and other notices requesting help finding lost phones or wedding rings and respond accordingly.

14. Hampton Beach (Seashell, South Beach and North Beach)

The biggest and most popular beach in a state with admittedly few ocean beaches. Since you’ll be going during quieter times, you may not have any trouble finding parking in one of the metered spots on Ocean Boulevard. But you can also find private lots on Ashworth Avenue, which will let you avoid gridlock during peak traffic. To park in the parking lot at South Beach is $15 per vehicle.

15. Wallis Sands State Beach, Rye

Smaller and less crowded than Hampton Beach, it’s nevertheless very popular with beach-lovers, and a promising site for beach metal detecting at low tide. Parking fee of $15 per vehicle.

Research Is Your Friend: Before and After the Hunt

Regardless of what triggered your interest in metal detecting, most of us end up spending quite a bit of time doing some form of research. If you’re particularly interested in historical finds, you’ll probably become frustrated by the regulations on public land that require you to avoid historically significant sites. You want to find some historically-significant areas you where you are allowed to metal detect. So, how do you do that?

State and local historical societies are great informational resources, as is the local library and county clerk’s office where land plats are archived.

Learn to cross-reference historic maps and modern maps to pinpoint the location you want to metal detect. Google Maps and Historic Aerials (https://www.historicaerials.com/) are indispensable tools available online. For New Hampshire-specific resources, you’ll find some great maps and other information at Whitemountainhistory.org (http://whitemountainhistory.org/White_Mountain_Maps.html).

Even if you’re not particularly historically-minded in targeting your search, you’ll inevitably find something, someday, during your metal detecting that makes you scratch your head and say “what in heaven’s name is this thing?” Take pictures from every angle. Make notes about it, including the location around it and any knowledge you have of the historical background of the area. Then, you’ll have to return home and…get to researching! Numerous chat boards – on metal detecting forums, metal detecting Facebook groups, Reddit, allow you to post pictures and pick the brains of others who may (or may not) have more knowledge of historical artifacts than you. Getting hooked up with a local metal detecting club (see below) is also beneficial – and fun.

But my point is, don’t be scared of the research. It’s almost inevitable if you pursue your metal detecting hobby. And you may find that having more historical context for your hunts makes them more interesting and more satisfying.

Metal Detecting Laws in New Hampshire

On state-owned land, metal detecting is permitted in the following places (unless otherwise posted):

 (a) Beaches;

(b) Athletic fields;

(c) School grounds;

(d) Perimeters of cemeteries;

(e) Unpaved roads;

(f) Within 25 feet of picnic tables and park pavilions; and

(g) Currently used dumps.

New Hampshire State Parks:

State Park regulations on metal detecting are a little hazy. You are permitted to use metal detectors but not “in or around known or undiscovered cultural or historic sites in order to protect our valuable, non-renewable historical resources.” A great option for metal detecting in State Parks – especially if you’re new to the hobby and/or looking for opportunities to learn about archaeology – is the Passport In Time Program. “Passport In Time (PIT) is a national program inviting the public to work with agency archaeologists on historic preservation projects. We have done numerous projects through PIT in cooperation with metal detecting clubs and individuals. The cooperation has been beneficial for both the detectorists and agency’s archaeologists. Locating archaeological sites becomes a joint endeavor and we learn a great deal. If you would like more information on this program, call 1-800-281-9176 or visit www.passportintime.com (http://www.passportintime.com/).”

National Parks: It’s illegal to metal detect in National Parks, National Recreation Areas and National Monuments.

City & County Parks: Regulations for city and county parks and other public lands will vary from place to place, so be sure to check with the appropriate agency to determine if metal detecting is allowed.

Private Land: Metal detecting is permitted on private land with the property owner’s written permission. Do some historical research to choose a promising location, then contact the property owner. Don’t be disheartened by rejection, though! Just move on to the next site on your list and don’t take it personally.

National Laws: Remember, when metal detecting anywhere in the US, regardless of local regulations, we’re bound by both the Antiquities Act of 1906, the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the Archaeological Resources Preservation Act (ARPA). These national laws mean that you can’t remove anything you believe is 100 years old or more. These potential archaeological artifact should be reported to the State Archaeologist or the governing body of the park/land where you make the find.

New Hampshire Metal Detecting Clubs

If you’re new to the metal detecting hobby and overwhelmed by how much you have to learn, or want to share the excitement with other passionate metal detectorists, get involved with a local club. Clubs/forums are a great source of information on metal detecting regulations, tricks of the technology, identifying finds and more. Here are a few I found, but I’m sure there are many more in New Hampshire:

Favorite Metal Detecting Shops in New Hampshire

Treasure Finds and Metal Detecting News

“Massachusetts woman reunited with wedding ring 10 days after losing it in the ocean at Hampton Beach” (https://www.masslive.com/news/2019/08/massachusetts-woman-reunited-with-wedding-ring-10-days-after-losing-it-in-the-ocean-at-hampton-beach.html)

“Silver Madonna Sends Detectors on Decades-long Search” (https://www.vnews.com/Area-treasure-hunters-seek-silver-Madonna-from-1700s-4943253)

“A group of hikers in New Hampshire used a metal detector to find a wedding ring lost on a snowy mountain” (https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/28/us/new-hampshire-lost-ring-mountain-trnd/index.html)

“Treasure Hunters of the Contoocook River Park” (https://www.nhmagazine.com/treasure-hunters-of-the-contoocook-river-park/) “Wentworth Buried Treasure Tales” (http://www.seacoastnh.com/wentworth-buried-treasure-tales/)

The 15 Best Places to Metal Detect in Vermont (Maps, Laws, Clubs and More)

The 15 Best Places to Metal Detect in Vermont (Maps, Laws, Clubs and More)

Searching and exploring is in the DNA of many people in Vermont. Native Americans scoured the land in search of the heralded maple syrup. When the state was introduced into the union in 1791, the European settlers saw how valuable of a product it was and began trying to make a profit off of it. 

Since then, the Vermont government has made it a priority to allow people to search for treasure and enjoy their time in the outdoors. There are few states in the country with as lax of laws as Vermont. All of the state parks are open to be searched as well as a majority of the city parks. 

The most important thing with these states, however, is to respect the rules and regulations in place. Ask anyone who is an avid treasure hunter and they’ll describe how short of a leash they have in most states. These short leashes are in place because people have failed to follow the guidelines the state has put in place. 

As long as you’re willing to go out of your way to Leave No Trace, Vermont will continue to be one of the best states in the union to visit. 

Here is a list of the 15 best places to metal detect in Vermont.

1. Sand Bar State Park 

Sand Bar State Park is a must visit for anyone interested in looking to detect in Vermont. You’re allowed to detect along the beaches, parking lots and within campgrounds. These are the main places you would want to detect if you had the opportunity. 

The Park is on the far East side of the state right along Lake Champlain. Lake Champlain is one of the largest lakes in the entire United States. As a result, there is going to be quite a bit of treasure for you to find. When searching along the shores of the lake, be sure that you’re focusing on the areas where people spend the most time. 

Also, on beaches, the low points in the sand are the first places you should look. As the water passes over the sand, artifacts are going to be pulled into the holes and other low areas of the beach. This park was built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps so you have a strong possibility of finding something historical! 

The campgrounds and parking lots are also available to be searched. Campgrounds can sometimes be more productive than beaches! Be sure that you aren’t crowding people or entering their campsites without permission. Campgrounds are smart to detect in the early spring and late fall when the park is not as busy. 

State parks are a perfect place to bring your family. Sand Bar State Park is perfect for people interested in spending time on the water! 

Access Sand Bar State Park here: 

Check out these great Metal Detectors on AMAZON

2. Button Bay State Park 

Button Bay State Park is a 253 acre state park in Ferrisburgh. This was a farm up until 1964. It’s one of the more unique state parks in the entire state. It also borders Lake Champlain, so you’ll have plenty of beach to detect. The park has a fairly large campground with around 70 sites to search around. 

If you do choose to dig, be sure that you aren’t going any deeper than 10-12 inches. Also, if you do find an artifact with historical value, you are required to submit it to the state. This is not always easy to do because of the value of it, but if you want to keep the freedoms that you have, you must follow these protocols. 

Digging Treasure In Vermont
Digging Treasure In Vermont

The parking lots near the beach are a great place to detect as well. If you’re new to the hobby, go ahead and detect in these areas. You don’t have to do much for switching your sensitivity and there is no digging required. Be sure to wear headphones so you can easily pick up on the tones that your detector is providing. 

When you’re hunting along the beach be sure that you don’t put your sensitivity to auto. You want to manually set your sensitivity to ensure that you’re going to have the most success in your searching. Sand can make the searching process difficult due to the density of the sediment. 

Sneak your detector into the car and see if you can sneak away for a few hours! There is too much good land in this park to explore! 

Access Button Bay State Park here: 

3. Little River State Park 

Little River State Park is located right near Waterbury. This park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935. Prior to it being a park, it was a settlement of around 50 families. There are cemeteries, sawmills and other historical sites spread throughout the park. 

The CCC camp had 2,000 men in it at one point. The park surrounds the Waterbury Reservoir, so you’ll have access to both campgrounds and beaches. The reservoir is also an amazing spot to fish! If you’re somewhat interested in history, mountain biking or hiking, Little River State Park is a wonderful option for you. 

The campground has around 100 sites for you to search. Spend the early mornings and evenings searching the beach. Take the afternoon to scrounge around the campgrounds. Remember, you should not enter campsites that are occupied. Even if people are not present, you need to stay away and only search around your campsite and those that are unoccupied. You can be hit with a hefty fine if you are detecting in areas that are off-limits. 

You can access Little River State Park here: 

4. Stillwater State Park 

Stillwater State Park is located in the area where Europeans first settled in Vermont. Native Americans and Canadians had been traveling through the area for years, but due to the easy access to a variety of waterways, it was an ideal location for a settlement. 

The park is surrounded by the Groton State Forest. Plus, it’s only an hour or so outside of Montpellier. It’s a beautiful spot that has ease of access and a nice amount of areas to detect. The beach area is a nice size for detecting. You can have a bit of privacy but be respectful of those around you. 

If you want to try Metal Detecting under water look at my article – How to Metal Detect Underwater

It’s not nearly as large as the Lake Champlain beach so that is both good and bad. The items are going to be more concentrated, but you’ll have to time things properly, so you aren’t in the way of those looking to enjoy the beach. 

The Groton State Forest is a beautiful area to spend time! You aren’t able to detect anywhere except the parking lots and campgrounds, but if you’re interested in mountain biking, off-roading or hiking, this is a wonderful spot to visit. 

Due to the close proximity to Montpellier, this is one of the parks that will provide you with the most items. Plan the trip accordingly so you have some privacy. Also, wear headphones because you won’t interfere with people and their vacations! 

Access Stillwater State Park here: 

5. Woodford State Park 

If you’re interested in spending time at elevation, Woodford State Park is your best option. It sits at 2400 feet and is around 400 acres. The state park surrounds the Adams Reservoir, so beach access is plentiful! 

Plus, this is one of the largest campgrounds on the list. You have over 130 campsites to detect. The 2.7-mile trail around the lake is a great place to detect. Bring your family and give them time to explore. Sneak away and spend time around the water. The Vermont state fish is brook trout and the Adams Reservoir is filled with them. 

The park is located on the southeastern border of the state. You are only an hour and a half away from Albany, New York. The increased elevation makes it for a bit more of an interesting area to search. Obviously, artifacts aren’t going to make their way up mountains. Since this area was the location of a historic settlement, you’ll have a decent amount of success in finding things.

This is an extremely unique state park. You don’t have to travel far to enjoy your time within Woodford. Sit back, relax and spend some time detecting. You’ll likely find something awesome!

6. Elmore State Park 

Elmore State Park is located within the southern part of Lamoille County. Within the state park is Lake Elmore. The lake stretches across 219 acres and flows into the Lamoille River. The park was established in 1936.

Residents of Elmore gifted the state 30 acres and since then the state has taken 700 more. This is one of the larger state parks in Vermont. You’ll have 60 campsites to choose from as well as some enjoyable hiking to the top of Elmore Mountain!

The beach around Elmore Lake is extremely large! You could easily spend an entire morning searching along this beach. If you’re off the beach by 10 am or so, you’ll be fine. You’ll start running into crowds as the day continues.

You always want to have good digging tools when metal detecting. To learn move check out this article. Best Metal Detecting Digging Tools

Elmore State Park was another CCC location, so you have the possibility of finding some artifacts important to United States history. While it may be tempting to detect along the hiking trails, it is not allowed. You have to spend your time in the campgrounds, beaches and parking lots.

This is one of the more secluded state parks in the state. You won’t have to worry about running in to too many crowds. It also helps that some call this park “The Beauty Spot of Vermont.” As you walk along the beach take a look at the top of Mount Elmore. Even if you aren’t finding anything spectacular, you’ll be able to enjoy the views.

7. Muckross State Park 

Muckross State Park is the newest state park in Vermont. Therefore, people aren’t as aware of this spot as the other parks on this list. It’s a 204-acre property so it’s a bit smaller. This land was owned by former Vermont State Senator Edgar May. It was 1000 acres, but the state took control of 200 acres to turn it into a park.

You can search around the trout pond as well as along the Black River. The most unique feature of this park is the 80-foot waterfall that’s just downstream of the pond. Overall, this park is fairly undeveloped. There is no designated trail system and you have more freedom for where you can detect.

In these undeveloped areas, make sure you are taking care of the property. If you dig, you must do your part and put the dirt back in place. There is also no specific parking area. However, there is a common spot that most people park their cars. Search around this area. You have a better chance of finding something because it’s a gravel lot and more of a challenge to find lost items.

The history of this land is fascinating. Plus, it’s not far from Springfield so you can enjoy the night life the town has to offer. This isn’t as family friendly of a park and there is no camping so be sure the people you bring along are capable. There are much more family friendly options on this list.

8. Emerald Lake State Park 

The focal point of this state park is Emerald Lake. This is the site of a former marble quarry so industrial equipment are common finds within these lands. When the quarry shut down in the early 1910’s, Robert Alfred Shaw purchased 1,000 of the acres for his own land.

In 1957, the state purchased the land from the Shaw estate. They turned half of the land into the Emerald Lake State Forest and the other half was turned into the park. You can search around over 100 campsites as well as the acres of shoreline.

You can find this park outside of East Dorset. This is a perfect spot for the family. Having over 1,000 acres to explore is a rarity across the state so take advantage of it. If you’re interested in mountain biking and hiking, this is a perfect park for you.

The lake is non-motorized watercraft only. Enjoy the peace and quiet of this park. You’ll be thankful for the time you get to spend away from civilization.

9. Underhill State Park 

Underhill State Park is located smack dab in the middle of the Mt. Mansfield State Forest. The forest itself is 40,000 acres and this park stretches across around 1,000 acres on its own. Within the park you can summit Mt. Mansfield at about 4,300 feet and see the headwaters of Brown River.

The headwaters of Brown River are a great spot to start your searching. Don’t venture too far from the banks of the river. You’ll have the potential to be stopped by a state park employee and lose your detector.

If you choose to hike Mount Mansfield, stay on the marked trail. Due to the higher elevation, there is some unique vegetation that the park does not want disturbed. The campground within Underhill State Park is a bit smaller. You have around 15 sites to explore.

Vermont Metal Detecting
Vermont Metal Detecting

However, the parking lot by the Mt. Mansfield trailhead is extremely popular and cars flow in and out of it all day long. This is a great spot to search before or even after your hike. Take a warmup lap around the lot and see what you can find.

10. Maidstone State Park 

Maidstone State Park is the most remote park in Vermont. You can find it outside of Guildhall. Be sure to visit this park and spend your time searching around Maidstone Lake. If you want, bring your fishing pole because the lake is filled with salmon and large trout.

The 60 camp sites make for another great spot to search. The effort to reach this park often pays off for those detecting. 

11. Gifford Woods State Park 

This park is found right at the base of Killington and Pico Mountain. These are extremely close to access points for the Appalachian Trail. The colors in this park in the fall are miraculous. There are a few trout ponds found throughout the park that make for great spots to search.

The former CCC Camp is another useful spot to search. People seem to have a solid amount of success in this area. Spend the majority of your time around the ponds and the parking lots. It’s a nice day trip. Do some hiking and detecting!

12. Bomoseen State Park 

This park is a must visit for anyone interested in metal detecting in Vermont. Within its borders is Lake Bomoseen, the largest lake only in Vermont. Bring your family to enjoy this large body of water and camp in one of the 65 campsites.

It’s one of the more popular parks on the list so if you are interested in detecting in an area filled with people, this may be your best option. It’s well-developed and has ample space for you to find some seclusion with your detector.

Some Great Metal Detecting Accessories

13. Smugglers Notch State Park 

This is another very remote part of Vermont. It was a spot where quite a bit of smuggling took place between Canada and the United States. The notch is a small pass through the Green Mountains. It has 1,000 cliffs on both sides and is wonderful to hike.

The campsites in the park require some hiking due to the complicated terrain. These areas are rarely detected so I would highly recommend putting in the effort to see what you can find. Don’t shy away from this park. It’s perhaps the most beautiful on the list!

14. Mt. Philo State Park 

Mt. Philo State Park was the first state park ever established in Vermont. It was officially crated in 1924. It provides you with some amazing views of the Lake Champlain Valley as well as the Adirondack Mountains.

This may be the most historic park on the list and well-worth the visit. Parking lots and the trout ponds are the best places to detect.

15. Private Land 

As always, private land is an option. You obviously have to have permission, but these private lands are well-worth trying to detect. Put on a brave face and start knocking on doors. You’ll never know how willing people are to let you detect on their land!

Vermont Metal Detecting Laws

Vermont is one of the most lax states in America regarding metal detecting. Most of the state owned land has areas where people can metal detect. Stay on the beaches, parking lots and the campgrounds.

Do not dig any further than 12 inches!

To find more about the Vermont Metal Detecting Laws check out this website – https://fpr.vermont.gov/recreation/activities/metal-detecting-and-gold-panning

Vermont Metal Detecting Clubs            

Vermont Metal Detecting Club– This is a great option for anyone in Vermont. They’re experts on all areas of metal detecting within Vermont.

Best Metal Detecting Shops in Vermont

R&L Archery– This store has everything you would need for outdoor equipment! Make sure to visit on your next trip to Vermont.


David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.

The 15 Best Places To Metal Detect In Arkansas (Maps, Laws, Clubs and More)

The 15 Best Places To Metal Detect In Arkansas (Maps, Laws, Clubs and More)

There are a few states in America filled with outdoor activities that seem to fly under the radar. They’re either in unique geographical locations that not many people target or their true beauty is unknown. Arkansas is absolutely one of those states. The Ouachita and Ozark mountain ranges cover much of the state and offer outdoor enthusiasts with ample opportunities to explore.

The fishing, hunting and hiking experiences available for people are quite impressive. As always, popular outdoor communities offer chances for people to metal detect. Arkansas is similar to many other states with some state and federally owned land being off limits for detecting, but the public parks and land is filled with treasure.

Here is a list of the 15 best places to metal detect in Arkansas:

1. Crowley’s Ridge – Lake and Beach Finds!

Crowley’s Ridge State Park is one of the rare exceptions in Arkansas where metal detecting is allowed on state owned property. There was a law passed in 2006 that allowed metal detecting within nine state parks across the state.

Crowley’s Ridge State Park is found in Northeast Arkansas and is the sight of a historic Civilian Conservation Corp camp. Within the park, however, metal detecting is only allowed around the lake and the surrounding beach area. The lake within Crowley’s Ridge stretches across 31 acres and there are two beaches for people to detect.

When detecting on the beach, be sure to manually set the sensitivity on your detector. Beaches can cause quite a bit of interference within your detector so it’s best to mess with the sensitivity until you discover what is best. Also, on beaches, remember to focus on the low points. This is where the treasure will be washed as the waves pass over the beach.

The park requires an entrance pass, but the small fee is well worth the effort! Also, be sure to bring the family because they’ll have plenty to do and you can easily sneak away for a few hours to see what you can find.

Access Crowley’s Ridge State Park here:

2. Lake Catherine State Park – Headphones Recommended

Lake Catherine State Park is another on the list of state parks that people can metal detect in Aransas. This is one of the more popular state parks due to the activities that the lake offers. Lake Catherine is one of the five lakes within the Ouachita Mountain region.

It’s located near Hot Springs so travel is simple and there is plenty for you to do. Remember, that metal detecting is only allowed near the beaches and water. Since it’s a busier park, time your detecting to the early morning or evening. People will be less likely to crowd the beach and cause trouble.

Headphones are super important – in fact so important I wrote a complete guide to selecting headphones – Selecting Metal Detecting Headphones

As you’re detecting, be sure to wear headphones. Headphones will provide the most clear signal and give you a chance to make the most of your detecting. Visit the beach during the day because you’ll then be able to identify what areas are going to be the most successful.

Only detect in areas that are heavily populated. If you do happen to find something of value, it may not be a bad idea to turn it in to the state park office. People will likely check here first if they lost a precious item.

Spend a weekend here hiking, fishing, relaxing and pack your metal detector. It’s a perfect excuse to get out of the house and explore a beautiful portion of Arkansas.

Access Lake Catherine State Park here:

3. Lake Ouachita State Park – Largest Lake in State!

Having the opportunity to detect around Lake Ouachita is a massive blessing for the metal detecting community. It’s Arkansas’s largest lake and stretches across 40,000 acres of the state. Located near Mountain Pine, you aren’t far from a variety of urban areas that offer exceptional entertainment.

It’s very important to stay near the beaches and water while searching in this park. A piece of land this large that is available to detect is extremely rare. As a result, it’s important that those in the detecting community don’t do anything to cause trouble or ruin the experience of others interested in detecting.

Metal Detecting in Water

Learning how to metal detect in water is essential for Arkansas. Read this article to learn the skills to do ti right. – How to Metal Detect a Complete Guide

The beaches are likely going to be filled with treasure. The massive amount of people that visit this lake on the weekends leads to some exceptional finds. If you insist on going detecting during a busier part of the day, make sure to keep your distance. People don’t enjoy being crowded so don’t cause too much trouble with the detector.

Since it is the largest lake in the state, you can easily bring family and friends to visit. They’ll find a multitude of things to do while you spend a few hours looking for treasure. There are few places more beautiful in Arkansas than Lake Ouachita so don’t miss the opportunity to search near here!

Access Lake Ouachita here:

Some Great Metal Detecting Accessories

4. Daisy State Park 

Daisy State Park is another agreed upon state park for metal detecting. It’s located in the Ouachita Mountains. Lake Greeson and the Little Missouri River combine in the midst of this state park. There is an exceptional amount of beach to explore within Daisy State Park.

Spend time along the banks of the Little Missouri. It might not hurt to bring along a fishing pole as well! These areas are great to fish and the metal detecting is also very solid. Be sure not to dig more than a foot into the ground. There are strict rules with being too intrusive.

Also, if you find something of historic value, you are required to turn it in to the state. The government wants to be sure that people are respectful of historical artifacts. There are 102 campsites along with some phenomenal ATV trails to explore.

Daisy State Park is a must visit for anyone interested in starting metal detecting. It’s not one of the more busy state parks so you don’t have to worry as much about high traffic or making mistakes. It’s always nice to learn in a quiet area.

Access Daisy State Park here:

5. Lake Charles State Park

Lake Charles State Park surrounds a nearly 700-acre lake with numerous beaches to explore. Lake Charles is located in Powhatan and it’s one of the larger state parks on the list. While state parks in Arkansas require that metal detectors stay near the water, it’s access that many other detectors in other states do not have.

Beaches are where most treasure is found anyways so it’s a great chance to get some practice in a highly successful area. Also, it doesn’t hurt to check in with the state park employees and find out the official rules of detecting within the state park.

There are ordinances and laws being passed quite often so it’s smart to stay up to date on the latest rules and regulations within the park. Again, bring your boat and some fishing poles to this state park! You’ll find nice bass and panfish within the lake.

Plus, you can have access to 60 different campsites if you’d like to spend some significant time in the great outdoors. The mosquitoes in the summer can be quite brutal so be sure you’re prepared to handle them. Escape for a weekend to Charles State Park and you’ll be impressed by what you find.

Access Charles State Park here:

6. Village Creek State Park

The reason state parks are so heavily emphasized on this list is because there are almost no other states across America that allow detecting in state parks. Many people believe that state parks should be detected since it’s not federal land, but convincing state governments that this should happen is difficult.

Detecting is only allowed on the beaches so keep this in mind. If golf is a passion of yours, The Ridges at Village Creek Golf Course is one of the best courses in the state to play. You can detect in the morning, play golf in the afternoon and detect again in the evening.

Located in Wynne, you have plenty of access to nearby cities and towns that will give you the chance to spend some more time in civilization. When you’re detecting on beaches, you’ll find quite a bit of trash buried under the sand. If possible, bring a garbage bag and do your part to clean up the beaches.

State park employees are guaranteed to be more kind to you if they see a detector trying to make the space nicer than when he/she found it. Bring your family and friends and spend a week at Village Creek State Park. You won’t regret the experience!

7. DeGray Lake Resort State Park

Located right near Hot Springs and Little Rock, DeGray Lake Resort State Park is a hotbed for outdoor activities. Golf, swimming, hiking, tennis, horseback riding, mountain biking and fishing are all available for you and the family.

To top it all off, you have a few beaches that you can detect within the park. You will not be bored with your time spent at DeGray Lake. Remember, you have to detect on the public beaches within the state park, but you shouldn’t have any trouble finding some fairly significant treasure.

If possible, stay at the resort. The accommodations are top-notch and you’ll enjoy beautiful views of the lake during your entire stay. Plus, you have to walk right out the back door and you can begin your detecting adventures. This is the ideal place to bring your family. Don’t worry about overcrowding! You’ll have plenty of space and chances to make the most of your excursion.

Check out these great Metal Detectors on AMAZON

8. Lake Dardanelle State Park

Lake Dardanelle is a 34,000 acre reservoir with multiple beaches and rich history. It’s actually located on the Trail Of Tears water route. If this sort of history fascinates you, you can attend a park tour and participate in a variety of other programs.

Access the most popular beaches in the Russellville portion of the park. It’s actually split into two different pieces of land, but the Russellville part of the state park is the better option of the two. You can visit the aquariums as well as spend time doing some fishing.

Your detector is going to take some time to adjust when you’re searching on beaches. Each beach is a bit different due to the consistency of the sand so don’t set it on auto and hope that it is going to work. Spend some time adjusting things before you truly benign.

There are 57 campsites within the park to stay if you’re interested in making a weekend of your visit. The massive reservoir leads to some pretty amazing treasure being washed up on the beaches. Take advantage of these opportunities to search within state parks!

9. Woolly Hollow State Park

Woolly Hollow State Park can be found in Greenbrier which is around 20 miles north of Conway. Lake Bennett can be found within the park. It’s a man made lake dug out in the 1930’s by the Soil Conservation Service.

There is a large beach that you are able to detect. It’s extremely popular in the summer so be sure to plan your visits around the time when you’ll have the most freedom to explore. Again, spend your time searching in the areas where the most people visit. It is only a 40-acre lake, but the beach stretches along quite a few feet of shoreline.

If you’re into mountain biking, the Enders Fault trail is one of the best trails in the state. You won’t ever get bored riding along this almost 10-mile trail.

The detecting is to be reserved for the beach and the surrounding areas. Also, if you do find a historical artifact be sure to submit it to the state office. They may stop you in the midst of your detection to see what you have discovered so don’t be afraid to show off your findings! The more polite you are, the more tips you’ll likely receive.

10. Wells Lake

Wells Lake is located right near Fort Chaffee! These areas are extremely appealing for metal detectors due to the potential of finding some pretty amazing historical artifacts. Wells Lake is a popular destination for tourists so you will likely not have any trouble finding some amazing treasure.

I know somebody who detects this lake every year and loads up on all of the fishing lures that he finds. He has filled multiple tackle boxes with the fishing tackle he has discovered on the beach and surrounding shore line.

The lake has seen significant use since the 1940’s so you never know what you are going to find. Fort Chaffee was established in 1941 and has served as an army base ever since. This is an extremely unique area. It even served as a prisoner of war and refugee camp in the midst of World War II. Don’t shy away from hunting near Wells Lake.

11. Park Springs Park

Park Springs Park is located in Bentonville and is an amazing place to detect. It was established in the 1890’s so there is quite a bit of historical land to detect. This area is beautiful and has a nice trail system along with a playground and pavilion for people to rent.

Don’t dig any deeper than a foot in the midst of this park otherwise you could be hit with a pretty significant citation. As long as you follow the Leave No Trace guidelines, you’ll likely receive little trouble from those in authority. The more damage you cause, the more of a chance you have to lose your privileges for yourself and others looking to detect in the area.

12. Perryville City Park

Perryville City Park has a nice walking trail and large open field for you to explore. It’s not always common to find large fields that are able to be detected. Since this is a fairly popular park, don’t spend all of your time detecting in the middle of the day.

You’ll receive the least amount of trouble if you begin detecting in the morning or later in the evening. Plus, at this point, you’ll have given people time to lose some of their items. If possible, bring along a garbage bag to clean up the park as you detect. This puts you in good standing with the other park goers and potentially city government employees.

13. Lake Atalanta Park

Lake Atalanta Park stretches across 236 acres in Arkansas. Located in Rogers, this lake and park is well worth the visit for anyone looking to enter the world of metal detecting. There is an ample amount of space to explore and you won’t find yourself intimidated by the variety of others searching in the area.

14. Riverfront East Park

Located in Little Rock, the Riverfront East Park is an 8 acre park right along the shores of the Arkansas River. Searching along rivers can be extremely rewarding. The more opportunity you have to explore moving water, the higher chances you have of discovering something quite impressive. Take a visit to this park on a lunch break or weekend trip and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

15. Private Land

Private Land is always the best option if it is available. It can be quite scary to ask for permission, but if it works, you’ll have some amazing land to explore for a long time. Farm land stretches all across the state of Arkansas and is definitely worth a try.

Knock on doors and ask for permission. Landowners are often quite happy to allow someone to metal detect their land as long as they’re willing to get rid of any large pieces of metal they find.

Arkansas Metal Detecting Laws

The state of Arkansas is one of the most generous states when it comes to metal detecting. All of the state parks listed above allow for metal detecting. This is a rarity across many of the states in America.

As far as city parks are concerned, the majority are okay to detect. As long as you don’t dig any deeper than a foot, you should be able to detect. However, it’s always smart to check the rules and regulations before you detect.

Arkansas Metal Detecting Clubs

Metal Detecting Northeast Arkansas– This club is one of the few in Arkansas. If you’re located in Northeast Arkansas and are looking for more information, give this group a try!

Favorite Metal Detecting Shops in Arkansas

Mastercraft Metal Detectors– This is perhaps the best metal detecting shop in all of Arkansas. There are very few that specialize in metal detecting so be sure to visit the store on your next trip to the state.


David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.

15 Best Places to Metal Detect in Idaho (Maps, Laws, Clubs and More)

15 Best Places to Metal Detect in Idaho (Maps, Laws, Clubs and More)

Ahhhh, Idaho. You might be a metal detectorist’s dream come true. You are beautiful, with geography varied from arid landscapes to green, forested hillsides, to rugged mountains and spine-tinglingly beautiful rivers once famed for gold. And, best of all, Idaho is one of the most metal detecting-friendly states I’ve found in terms of regulations and areas open to detectorists. As for those snooty, superior looks you sometimes get from other outdoor recreationalists…. I can’t promise anything, but just look the other way and you’re sure to have a jaw-dropping view to look at!

Some Great Metal Detecting Accessories

Before I dive into my list of top Idaho metal detecting sites, it might be useful to narrow down your primary interest in metal detecting. Do you hope to make historic finds and fascinating relics from the past? If so, you’ll want a historical, research-based approach to choosing sites like former home sites and farms. Keep in mind, you’re not legally supposed to keep archaeological finds but it can be exciting nonetheless. Historically-minded detectorists should learn the basics of using maps and historical records to locate promising spots – and you’ll have to request permission if your target is on private property.

Do you just want to find cool trinkets and potentially valuable items lost by modern people? These are items you’d most likely be able to keep and/or sell. Then, you’ll want to focus on high-traffic public places.

Now that you’ve identified your interest, you can choose appropriately from my top 15 places to metal detect in Idaho. Note: I’ve done my best to research the jurisdictional regulations for these places, but I’m not an attorney and cannot guarantee this information. You should always check with local authorities before metal detecting.

Boise, Idaho: City Parks

Boise City Parks allow metal detecting with a permit, which cost $10.50 at the time of publishing this article. You can find permit application info here .You are, of course, required to fill in any holes or divots made if you dig.

Finding treasure in Idaho
Finding treasure in Idaho

Boise parks are great if you’re a metal detector interested in modern finds. Parking lots, playgrounds and sports fields offer much in the way of lost coins and sometimes jewelry.

1. Ann Morrison Park

This is one of my favorites because it offers playgrounds, a variety of sports fields, multiple parking lots and even some river frontage where object might be washed ashore from the Boise River.

2. Hulls Gulch Reserve

Drainages with intermittent flow are arguably the most effective locations for random finds (i.e. not requiring historic research). The water washes objects into gulches, arroyos or creeks then, when the flood or seasonal flow ends, the relics have already been excavated and consolidated in one relatively condensed area. You’ll find a huge variety of things – from modern to historical. Hulls Gulch offers 292 acres to explore at the base of the foothills and, as a Boise City Park, allows permitted metal detecting.

Abandoned Villages and Ghost Towns

Roosevelt Lake is located in the Payette National Forest, about 6-7 hours from Boise. Roosevelt Lake is a fascinating place to visit – with or without a metal detector. Like most of Idaho’s ghost towns, it was part of the gold rush. Unlike other mining towns, however, it wasn’t abandoned just because the gold petered out (though that had already happened). The town was inhabited from 1902 to 1909 when a mudslide damned up the creek that flowed through the valley. The waters rose over the months until the entire town was underwater. Today, the naturally-created reservoir is known as Roosevelt Lake, and logs from cabins beneath the surface occasionally float to the surface. If the water is smooth and clear, you may be able to make out the shadows and shapes of the buildings underneath. And you never know what you’ll find metal detecting along the shore!

3. Florence, Nez Perce National Forest

This ghost town, near modern day Riggins, was once a silver mining town. When the silver waned, it had a brief resurgence with the discovery of quartz in the region, but it’s been uninhabited since the 1950s. It’s more easily explored with an informative driving map from the US Forest Service. You may access that HERE. Metal detecting is permitted, though removal of artifacts is not.

4. De Lamar

This ghost town is listed on the National Register of Historic sites, so no metal detecting is permitted. However, it’s located on BLM land – where metal detecting is permitted as long as no artifacts are removed. So make sure you explore farther away from the historic buildings and report any artifacts you find. The ghost town was once known as the “Womanizing Capital” of the state because of its abundant bars, gambling and madams.

5. Reynolds

Reynolds once was home to a school and a post office and a cemetery, of course. Nearby, the Camp Lyon Site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, may be worth a visit but doesn’t permit metal detecting. However, BLM areas – accessed easily via the Hemingway Butte OHV Trailhead – do permit metal detecting. How do you decide where to hunt? Here are some expert tips HERE.

6. Vienna, Sawtooth National Forest

While metal detecting at an actual mine – even one long-abandoned like the Vienna Silver Mine – is rarely recommended due to continued mining claims, but Old Vienna town is a different story – if you can find it! That’s part of the endless intrigue of Vienna. Once one of the largest communities of its era, with over 200 buildings, 800 inhabitants and even its own newspaper, nothing now remains. It’s a mystery that someone with a metal detector might be able to solve…

Metal Detecting tip: Use a tool belt (similar to a carpenter’s tool belt) or a safari vest so that everything you need is within hand’s reach without digging through a bag. Come up with an assigned place for each item to make packing your gear beforehand faster and easier and you metal detecting trips more efficient. For example, have a certain pocket or pouch assigned for extra batteries, a hand spade, a water bottle (if you’re not using some kind of hydration system), probe, gloves, etc.

Some Great Metal Detecting Accessories

7. Wallace, Idaho: Pulaski Tunnel Trail

For any history enthusiast, the quaint mining town is worth a visit in itself. Named the “Center of the Universe” by official mayoral proclamation, the town has more than a fancy title to draw visitors. It’s got multiple mining museums, recreation trails (many good for metal detecting) like Route of the Hiawatha, the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes Rail Trail, the Blossom Lakes Trail and even Eagle City Park, a “Recreational Gold Prospecting & Small Scale Mining Park” perfect for newbies to metal detecting. I do love Wallace. But I’m not the only one. It’s a popular tourist destination, so time your visit accordingly. Nearby Kellogg is also a historic mining town that’s worth a visit and possibly some investigation into metal detecting sites.

Pulaski Tunnel Trail commemorates tragedy and heroism. In 1910, the largest forest fire in US history swept through the town and “Big Ed” Pulaski, a local forest ranger “saved 38 men by guiding them to safety in a mine tunnel south of town and holding the frantic workers there at gunpoint until the fire passed.” (link: http://www.wallaceidahochamber.com/history-wallace/). (If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the inventor of the combination ax and hoe that’s used today throughout the world.) The trail has interpretive signs along the way and high visitor traffic, so the chance for finding lost personal items is good, but I’d go early in the morning or right before sunset to avoid crowds. Scan the parking lots, trail and trail shoulders for finds from modern visitors. Or, if you’re fit and have a high pain tolerance, do some bushwhacking through the spruce and fir forests to the banks of the West Fork of Placer Creek to see what the water’s washed up. Or maybe even find some gold!

8. Burgdorf

Much of the abandoned, former mining town of Burgdorf, Idaho is registered on the National Registry of Historic Places, making metal detecting off-limits. However, because it’s located in a National Forest, you still have permission to metal detect in campgrounds, parking lots, trails and other areas not “known” to be of historic value. Additionally, long before the mining rush brought white immigrants to the area, Native Americans cherished the area as a sacred site, due to the hot springs in the area. You may find lost items from yesterday’s hiker or utensils from yesteryear’s miners, or even something much older – you never know!

Abandoned Logging Camps

Abandoned logging camps are some of the best places to metal detect because they’re usually on National Forest Service land where metal detecting is generally permitted. Like other temporary/nomadic settlements they were often packed in haste, leaving objects behind. With little value to today’s Americans, they’re often completely abandoned (unlike abandoned mines where oftentimes mine rights will interfere with your chances of metal detecting), and they’re rarely tourist destinations. These last two points, however, are also two downfalls of metal detecting abandoned logging camps: They’re often hard to locate – even in historical documents. And they’re even harder to locate in person. Here are some suggested general areas, but you’ll want to do some of your own supplementary research of maps and historical documents to pinpoint your own targets.

9. Marble Creek (closest town St. Maries)

From Forest Service Trail #261, you’ll see remnants of cabins and logging camps. More than a dozen logging splash dams were built along the creek between 1915 and 1931. Most are now long gone, but at least one remains (Number 7). I doubt you’ll find much with a metal detector there (though I’d love to be proven wrong), it’s still interesting to see.

10. Abandoned Marble Creek Railroad Tunnels (closest town St. Maries)

If you’re adventurous and willing to do some research with maps and GPS, you might try your hand at locating and metal detecting two abandoned railroad tunnels on Marble Creek. They’re nearly invisible from the road (Forest Service Road 321) and partially collapsed. One you find the entrance, shrouded by trees and growth, the tunnels themselves are spacious and enticing – but not to be deeply explored without some specialized cave gear and safety training.

11. Ruttledge Logging Camps.

Scattered around the St. Joe National Forest, in the vicinity of Clarkia, Idaho, the 15 logging camps have been abandoned since the early 1930s. Some of the 15 have been completely reclaimed by the forest (at least to the naked eye), so some skills with a map and reading the land to find metal detecting sites may be necessary. But you’ll have very little competition, that’s for sure! If you’re up for a hike, you can reach Camp #5 on Forest Service Trail #254, also off Forest Service Road 321 in the Hobo Creek drainage, and you’ll be rewarded with the partially collapsed remains of multiple buildings and exciting metal detecting.

Metal Detecting tip: Hunt after rain. First of all, it’s easier to dig in moist, soft dirt. Secondly, moist ground provides more conductivity for your signal so you can pick up deeper finds. Thirdly, you better get used to rain if you’re going to metal detect in Idaho!


As always, beaches are popular and promising locations to metal detect. Idaho has an abundance of options. Most of these lakes are in areas with a rich history of mining, railroad and logging industries, meaning they could be combined with nearby historically-focused metal detecting excursions. Of course, familiarize yourself with metal detecting regulations at the site before beginning any metal detecting.

 Just take your pick!

12. Lake Cascade, Cascade, Idaho

A great day trip from Boise, this is a State Park. Recent proposed policy changes would open the park to metal detecting with permission from the park ranger provided it doesn’t interfere with other park uses. So check with the park ranger to be sure.

13. Payette Lake, McCall, Idaho

The “jewel of northern Idaho,” this lake is far away but worth the visit.

14. Redfish Lake, Stanley, Idaho.

Located in Sawtooth National Forest, you won’t have to worry about checking regulations for metal detecting at Redfish Lake.

15. Pend Oreille Lake, Sand Point, Idaho.

About as far into Idaho as you can get without crossing into Canada is Sand Point, Idaho. There, you’ll find Idaho’s biggest, deepest lake with a whopping 111 miles of shoreline. Whiskey Rock Campground, Springy Point and numerous beaches around the lake a great sites for metal detecting. I met a fellow detectorist with an antique diamond ring (diamond still attached) that he’d found at Pend Oreille.

16. Coeur d’Alene.

There are over 55 lakes within an easy drive of Coeur d’Alene! The metal detecting options are extensive.

Metal detecting tip: Overlap your sweeps and make sure your sweeps are slow and controlled, staying at the same approximate height. This systematic approach gives you greater accuracy and greater consistency of coverage, meaning you won’t accidentally miss spots or detect at varying depths.

Metal Detecting Laws in Idaho

  • Metal detecting is not allowed in National Parks or National Monuments anywhere in the US.
  • Metal detecting is allowed on BLM lands as long as no artifacts are removed. Artifacts should be left alone and reported to the appropriate Field Office. Avoid all cultural and archeological sites and only make minimal surface disturbances. 
  • Regulations for city and county parks and other public lands will vary from place to place, so be sure to check with the appropriate agency to determine if metal detecting is allowed.
  • Metal detecting is permitted on private land with the property owner’s permission, but there’s an additional restriction that’s unique to state metal detecting laws: If you find something, it automatically belongs to the property owner.
  • The pertinent info you need to know in National Forest Regulations is:
    1. The recreational use of metal detectors and the collection of rocks and mineral samples are allowed on the National Forests. Generally, most of the National Forests are open to recreational mineral and rock collecting, gold panning and prospecting using a metal detector.
    2. Metal detector use is allowed in developed campgrounds and picnic areas if they are not specifically closed to such activity.  It is permissible to collect coins, but prospecting for gold would be subject to mining laws.
    3. Archaeological remains on federal land, known or unknown, are protected under law. If you were to discover such remains, you should leave them undisturbed, stop metal detecting in that area, and notify the local Forest Service office. 

Item number 3 is not surprising and, in fact, is s standard regulation for metal detecting in any park, municipality or jurisdiction in the USA due to the Antiquities Act of 1906, the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the Archaeological Resources Preservation Act (ARPA). These national laws mean that, regardless of the type of property you’re on, you can’t remove anything you believe is 100 years old or more. These potential archaeological artifact should be reported to the State Archaeologist or the governing body of the park/land where you make the find.

Idaho Metal Detecting Clubs

Boise Basin Search and Recovery (http://diggin4treasure.org)

Gem State Metal Detecting Club (https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Sports—Recreation/Gem-State-Metal-Detecting-Club-773913942980814/), Meridian ID

Northwest Treasure Hunters Club (https://www.facebook.com/Northwest-Treasure-Hunters-Club-180101685357904/), Spokane, ID

Additionally, there are numerous clubs devoted to prospecting and gem hunting in Idaho that may also be friendly for metal detecting in their ranks but few devoted entirely to metal detecting. If you find a gold and gem club in your area, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Favorite Metal Detecting Shops in Idaho

Gerry’s Metal Detectors, Boise, ID (http://gerrysdetectors.com/)

Wild West Metal Detecting, Pocatello, ID (https://wildwestmetaldetectors-com.3dcartstores.com/)

Fascinating Treasure Finds in Idaho and Metal Detecting News

“Boy diving ‘for treasure’ in Idaho hot springs finds wedding ring lost in the 1970s” (https://www.ktvb.com/article/news/local/wedding-ring-found-nearly-40-years-after-disappearing-at-trinity-hot-springs-in-idaho/277-dc23768e-655a-440d-808b-66475d6e6d7b)

“Kuna man finds, returns 28-year lost class ring” (https://www.idahopress.com/kuna/news/kuna-man-finds-returns-28-year-lost-class-ring/article_5faa7448-794d-5e72-9620-b95b9c556822.html)

“Spokane treasure hunters: Two men with metal detectors search for history” (https://www.khq.com/news/spokane-treasure-hunters-two-men-with-metal-detectors-search-for/article_b01265ec-89f2-5cfb-83de-c9c59ef382d2.html

“How a teen tracked down the owner of an engagement ring found buried on the beach” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2019/11/01/how-teen-tracked-down-owner-an-engagement-ring-buried-beach-two-years/)