Treasure Hunting in Missouri

15 Places to Find Lost Treasure in Missouri (Maps and More)

People believe Missouri is home to the treasures buried during the Civil War. Silver coins and confederate gold are said to be buried beneath the soil of this state to prevent the Union Army from taking them. It is why Missouri is a popular spot for treasure hunters today.

If you are curious about the other treasures that you can find in Missouri, this article is for you.

The 15 Best Places to Find Lost Treasure in Missouri

1. Long Branch State Park – Macon County

Long Branch State Park is a popular recreation area in Mason County. It is near the Long Branch Reservoir so you will find many water-based activities here.

Back in the 1830s, flooding was an extensive problem caused by the Little Chariton River in Macon County. This event led the local governments, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and private entities to perform channelization. In 1965, Congress authorized the creation of the Long Branch Dam, resolving the years of flooding problems.

Moreover, Long Branch State Park is famous for water sports like swimming, boating, and fishing.

Metal Detecting Tip: Getting up to speed with the Archaeology Laws in Missouri is a good idea. To help I’ve got a shortcut link to πŸ‘‰ Missouri State Parks Public Archaeology Page

2. Cuivre River State Park – Lincoln County

This 6,400-acre land is famous for its rugged landscapes that feature limestone bluffs, savannas, and native grasslands. Originally built as a federal recreation demonstration area in the 1930s, the state of Missouri took possession of the land in 1946.

Cuivre State Park features long hiking trails, making it an ideal place for people who like walking along nature. Other activities include swimming, camping, fishing, and canoeing. Cuivre River State Park is open for cycling, hiking, and horseback riding if you do not like water activities.

Searching for Treasure with a Metal Detector
Searching for Treasure with a Metal Detector

3. Watkins Mill State Park – Clay County

Watkins Woolen Mill State Park got its name from the Watkins Mill, a preserved woolen mill built in the mid-19th century. The mill is now a protected historic site, so the building, machinery, and business records that come with it are still available today. The Watkins Mill is also a National Historic Landmark.

Additionally, the excellent preservation of the mill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. It is also the centerpiece of the said state park.

Moreover, this state park consists of 96 campsites, with the majority of the campsites having electric hookups. There is also a lake where you can catch fish and a large sand swimming beach. You can also walk and bike at the state park’s 3.8-mile trail.

4. Stockton State Park – Cedar County

Stockton State Park measures 2,176 acres wide and occupies the shore of Stockton Lake. The park travels northward, particularly between the Big Sac and Little Sac Lake.

This state park features water activities, including swimming, fishing, scuba diving, and skiing. Stockton Lake is also available for sailing and swimming as it has two boat launches that make it easy to get in the water. If you like staying on the land, you can have a picnic, hike, or go camping around the lake.

5. Finger Lakes State Park – Boone County

Finger Lakes State Park is a small and unusual state park in Boone County. This state park is different from the other state parks in Missouri because it was once a coal mining site.

The area where the state park now lies had the name Peabody Coal’s Mark Twain Mine somewhere between 1964 and 1967. The mining company stripped the land of 1.2 million short tons worth of coal. In 1947, the company donated the land to the state of Missouri, which then turned it into a state park.

Off-road driving is prevalent in Finger Lakes State Park, making it an ideal place for people who are into adventures.

Finger Lakes State Park – Boone County google maps link.

Metal Detecting Coils for Underwater Searching
Metal Detecting Coils for Underwater Searching

6. Mark Twain State Park – Monroe County

This state park encompasses Mark Twain Lake and is the home to the Buzzard’s Roost’s Mark Twain State Park Picnic Shelter. Such is a historic picnic shelter built in 1941 by an African-American Civilian Conservation Corps company. The state park also lies adjacent to the Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site.

Moreover, the historic, rustic-style picnic shelter was listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

Mark Twain State Park is a recreation area that offers hiking, camping, and picnicking. There are also water activities like boating.

Mark Twain State Park – Monroe County google maps link.


Check Out These Spots for Your Next Metal Detecting Trip

7. Lake of the Ozarks State Park – Camden and Miller Counties

Lake of the Ozarks State Park is the largest state park in Missouri. It lies on the lake’s Grand Glaize Arm. Approximately 2.5 million people visited the Lake of the Ozarks State Park in 2017, making it the most popular state park in Missouri.

This state park features two beaches, a shoreline that stretches for 85 miles, and 12 trails. The waters are available for boating and swimming. Cabins and campsites are available around the state park for people who like to stay on the land.

In addition, Party Cove is a popular aspect of this state park. The Party Cove, also known as the Anderson Hollow Cove, is a gathering spot for people who visit the Lake of the Ozarks State Park.

Lake of the Ozarks State Park – Camden and Miller Counties google maps.

8. Harry S Truman State Park – Barton County

It is a public recreation area that occupies Truman Lake. The lake is Osage River’s impoundment, making Harry S Truman State Park a spot for water activities like fishing, boating, and swimming. There are also campgrounds and hiking trails that visitors can enjoy.

Harry S Truman State Park is also an ideal photography spot for people who love capturing the beauty of nature. It has stiff cliffs and vibrant summer and fall colors that every eye can enjoy.

Harry S Truman State Park – Barton County google maps link.

9. Lake Wappapello State Park – Wayne County

The US Army Corps of Engineers built Lake Wappapello in 1938 to control the floods caused by the St. Francis River. In 1956, this 1,854-acre land became a state park that borders the lake. Since it features a large body of water, visitors can expect Lake Wappapello State Park to offer fishing, swimming, and boating activities.

In addition, this public recreation area has hiking trails for backpackers, equestrians, and bikers. There are also two campgrounds for people who want to stay in the park overnight.

Lake Wappapello State Park – Wayne County google maps link.

10. Pomme de Terre State Park – Hickory County

Hickory County’s Pomme de Terre State Park only measures 734.44 acres. Its location is on Pomme de Terre Lake’s Hermitage and Pittsburg sides. For this reason, the state park offers visitors land and water activities.

Boat ramps and marinas make it easy for people to catch different fish species. The park is perfect for cooling down in the summer as it has two swimming beaches that you can quickly access. There are trails, three yurts, a full-service marina cabin, about 240 campsites, and a lake house for a multiday stay.

Pomme de Terre State Park – Hickory County google maps link.

11. Trail Of Tears State Park – Cape Girardeau County

Trail of Tears State Park serves as a memorial to the Cherokee Native Americans who lost their lives on the Cherokee Trail of Tears. This state park is a public recreation area that borders the Mississippi River. It has an interpretive center that exhibits things about the Trail of Tears and local wildlife specimens.

This state park also has an archeological site listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

Moreover, the state park is available for fishing, picnicking, camping, horseback riding, and swimming.

Trail of Tears State Park – Cape Girardeau County google maps.

12. Lewis and Clark State Park – Buchanan County

This 189-acre public recreation area is south of Lewis and Clark Lake. Its original name was Sugar Lake State Park, but the state changed it to Lewis and Clark State Park in 1938. It was to honor Lewis and Clark, who they believed discovered the lake during their 1804 to 1806 expedition.

Today, this state park has picnicking, camping, and fishing areas.

Lewis and Clark State Park – Buchanan County google maps link.

Metal Detecting Tip: Getting access to private property can be tricky. I’ve got some techniques that can help. Read πŸ‘‰ How to Get Permission to Metal Detect on Private Property.

13. Private Properties

If you live in Missouri, you can treasure hunt within the land that you own without getting a written permit from the authority. You can also give other treasure hunters a written permit to look for treasures within your property.

Chances are you will find old jewelry, coins, and small relics left by the people who once lived there.

14. BLM Lands

Treasure hunting in Missouri BLM lands is legal. However, you need to ensure that you are not damaging antiques when you find one. If you found an archeological treasure, you need to report it to the authorities that govern the BLM land where you found it. Read this article πŸ‘‰ Can I Metal Detect on BLM Land?

15. Ghost Towns

There are hundreds of abandoned communities around Missouri. These ghost towns were once mining sites that ran out of ore, causing the people to leave them.

Now, these ghost towns are popular places for treasure hunting. However, it is essential to note that municipal consent for treasure hunting may vary from one ghost town to another. For this reason, it is crucial to ask the authorities if the ghost town where you plan to use a metal detector allows the activity.

Treasure In Missouri

Treasure Chest
Treasure Chest

According to legends, a group of Spanish Conquistadors explored the Ozark Mountains of Northern Arkansas and Southern Missouri. During the exploration, they stole gold and silver from the Native Americans. However, a massive storm came, so the Conquistadors had to stash the treasure from the Ozark Mountains. They created a map to remember where the cave was before they camped in the woods.

These explorers never had the chance to return to the cave as the natives stole the fortunes from found and killed them. (source)

Is It Legal to Metal Detect in Missouri?

Out of all the state parks located in Missouri, only the 12 state parks mentioned above parks permit metal detecting. According to Missouri state parks’ official website, metal detecting is only allowed from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM. You must also register on the website to acquire a permit before detecting metal.

To read some of the regulations for Missouri State Parks here’s a shortcut link – Missouri State Park Regulations

On the other hand, metal detecting in private lands is permitted if you have a written permit from the land owner. BLM lands and ghost towns are also ideal places for treasure hunters, but the laws vary from one land to another. So, the best thing to do is ask permission from the people in charge of the land before you start digging. This way, you can ensure that you are not doing something that the place you are in does not permit. (source)

Can I Keep Treasure Found in Missouri?

The Archeological Resources Protection Act or ARPA governs all Missouri metal detecting and treasure hunting activities. It aims to protect the state’s history through the treasures and archeological relics potentially buried under the land.

According to this law, you can keep modern-day treasures like coins and jewelry. However, it would be best if you never kept any man-made treasures believed to be more than a hundred years of age. If you found a potentially archeological treasure, you need to bring it to the authorities governing the land from where you dug it. (source)

Missouri Treasure in the News

  • Archeologists uncovered the long-lost national treasure Steamboat Malta under farmland in Missouri. (source)
  • Johnny Lee Brown, a resident from Missouri, found a prehistoric Native American site and dug up and damaged $300,000 worth of artifacts. (source)
  • People are still searching for the ancient Spanish Silver Mine in south central Missouri. (source)

Stories of Treasure in Missouri

●     The Strange Tale of Preacher Keith

Preacher Keith arrived in Missouri around 1830. People believed that he came from the Red River Valley and left there with only a bible and his clothes.

Preacher Keith lived in Missouri until his death. He had gold treasures buried in his land, but he refused to tell his family its exact location. (source)

●     The Mystery of The Yoachum Silver Dollars

This popular legend states that Yoachum silver dollars once existed in Missouri. The Spanish explorers under the leadership of De Soto discovered this treasure in 1541 when they explored the Ozark Mountains in hopes of finding mineral wealth. They found passageways containing veins of silver ore. (source)

●     Legend Of the Spanish Treasure Cave

According to legends, Spanish Conquistadors explored the Ozark Mountains of Northern, Arkansas, and Southern Missouri. During the exploration, they stole gold and silver from the Native Americans. However, a massive storm came, so the Conquistadors had to stash the treasure from the Ozark Mountains. These explorers never had the chance to return to the cave as the natives stole the fortunes from found and killed them. (source)

Books About Treasure in Missouri

Lost Mines and Buried Treasures of Missouri by W.C. Jameson

This book tackles the treasure stories circulating in the state of Missouri. The author included stories during the Indian occupation, early settlement, Civil War, and up until the present day.

The Lost Mines and Buried Treasures of Missouri (πŸ‘ˆ link to Amazon) book can guide beginner treasure hunters who want to understand the history of Missouri’s treasures. (source)

Lost Treasures of the Ozarks: Missouri – Arkansas (America’s Lost Treasures) by Bud Steed

Author Bud Steed features the stories of the lost treasures around the Ozark Mountains in this book. Through this book, there are chances that you will be able to find the lost riches buried in the lands of Missouri. It will also remind you about the forgotten yet once popular tales that made the treasure hunting history of this state. (source)

Mineral Treasures of the Ozarks by Bruce L. Stinchcomb

If Bud Steed’s book discussed the forgotten gold and silver riches buried in Missouri, Bruce L. Stinchcomb tackles the mineral treasures of the Ozarks highland region. According to stories, this area in southern Missouri is home to beautiful mineral specimens waiting to be discovered. (source)

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.

Sources

  1. Hidden Treasures. “American History | Lost Treasure in the Old Spanish Treasure Cave.” Youtube Video. 01:50. Posted By Hidden Treasures. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLhV8xhcbM8&t=3s.
  2. MDHTALK Metal Detecting State Law. State Park Links and State Park Metal Detecting Laws & Regulations. http://www.mdhtalk.org/cf/city-regulation.cfm?st=MO.
  3. William Joy. Buried Treasure: Long Lost Steamboat Malta Found Under Missouri Farm Land. May 7, 2019. https://www.kmbc.com/article/buried-treasure-long-lost-steamboat-malta-found-under-missouri-farm-land/27396060.
  4. The Associated Press. Missouri Man Broke Into Prehistoric Native American Site, Dug Up Artifacts, Feds Say. June 16, 2022. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/missouri-man-broke-prehistoric-native-american-site-dug-artifacts-feds-rcna33767.
  5. Andrew Sheeley. The Search For Missouri’s Legendary Lost Silver Mine. May 17, 2021. https://www.phelpscountyfocts.com/the_focus_insider/article_00afcb30-b1ab-11eb-87dc-47f1d0be0547.html.
  6. W. C. Jameson. Buried Treasures of the Ozarks: Legends of Lost Gold, Hidden Silver, and Forgotten Caches. USA: August House, 1990. https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=PuNnUEayotsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=treasure%20stories%20missouri&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=treasure%20stories%20missouri&f=false.
  7. Lost Mines and Buried Treasures of Missouri. Amazon. Accessed July 13, 2022. https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Mines-Buried-Treasures-Missouri/dp/B015HLGY60/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1HRFRDQZSZTXG&keywords=missouri+treasure+book&qid=1657783956&sprefix=missouri+treasure+book%2Caps%2C268&sr=8-1.
  8. Lost Treasures of the Ozarks: Missouri – Arkansas (America’s Lost Treasures). Amazon. Accessed July 13, 2022. https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Treasures-Ozarks-Missouri-Arkansas/dp/1530981409/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1HRFRDQZSZTXG&keywords=missouri+treasure+book&qid=1657784044&sprefix=missouri+treasure+book%2Caps%2C268&sr=8-3.
  9. Mineral Treasures of the Ozarks. Amazon. Accessed July 13, 2022. https://www.amazon.com/Mineral-Treasures-Ozarks-Bruce-Stinchcomb/dp/0764347152/ref=sr_1_5?crid=1HRFRDQZSZTXG&keywords=missouri+treasure+book&qid=1657784044&sprefix=missouri+treasure+book%2Caps%2C268&sr=8-5.
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