Find Lost Treasure in Oregon

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

Oregon contains a lot of history, and some of that history includes legends of treasure. In Crook County, Oregon, legend has it that there’s a treasure trove worth $50,000 in gold bars and coins. This example is just but one treasure legend in the great state of Oregon. Do you want to know some of the best spots for treasure hunting? Let us help you with that.

The 15 Best Places to Find Lost Treasure in Oregon

For the sake of organizing, we’ll list these spots according to their proximity to major cities in Oregon. Lastly, we will list some off-the-grid locations that could make for some great adventures.

Portland Area

1. Government Island State Recreation Area <- Map Link Portland, Oregon

Initially, Government Island went by two names in the early 1800s, Dimond Island and Goose Grass Island. In 1850, the US Military used the Island to grow hay.

Map to Government Island State Recreation Area
Map to Government Island State Recreation Area – image Google Maps – link

Small families and private establishments owned the interior parts of the Island until 1969, when the Port of Portland acquired the Island. In 1999, the port sold a portion of the Island to the regional government agency. Today, the Island is what we know as the Government Island State Recreation Area.

It’s a great treasure hunting spot because of its history, and because families and private businesses settled on the Island, you’re sure to find a treasure or two. Furthermore, it offers camping grounds and several other recreational amenities to the public.

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2. Dabney State Recreation Area <- Map Link Portland, Oregon

Dabney State Recreation Area is on this list because it sits on the edge of Sandy River. Treasure hunters need to know that prospecting along beaches yields better results. Dabney State Recreation Area offers access to beaches along the Sandy River.

Furthermore, it also offers recreational activities to visitors. You can look forward to hiking trails, golf, swimming, fishing, and several other activities at your disposal.

Looking for more places to find treasure in Oregon? Check out these articles:

3. Forest Park <- Map Link Portland, Oregon

Forest Park is the biggest park in Portland, Oregon. According to the Forest Park Conservancy, Native American people settled in the area where the park now sat 10,000 years ago. European and American settlers caused the Native American people to leave the area upon their arrival.

In 1948, local authorities designated the area as Forest Park. Today, Forest Park is full of recreational activities for the public. You can expect several trails, a rose garden, a beautiful scenic view, and other excellent amenities. There’s a probability of finding Native American artifacts in the park for treasure hunters, thanks to its history.

Metal Detecting Tip: For centuries folks used rivers to move. Improve your river hunting technique with this article -> How to Metal Detect in Rivers and Streams

4. Cooper Mountain Nature Park <- Map Link Portland, Oregon

You can find Cooper Mountain Nature Park on the outskirts of Oregon. The park’s natural areas include groves of oak trees, wetlands, prairie, ponds, and forested regions. This park is an excellent choice for anyone getting into treasure hunting and trying out new equipment and technique.

Furthermore, you can expect excellent recreational amenities in the park. There are gardens, trails, a playground, and several other activities for visitors to indulge in while in the park.

5. Blue Lake Regional Park <- Map Link Portland, Oregon

You should check out the last spot in Oregon is Blue Lake Regional Park. You can find it close to the heart of Portland, and it’s convenient. Furthermore, the history behind the park is nothing to scoff at for treasure hunters.

According to park historians, members of the Chinook tribe settled along Fairview Lake. Fairview Lake is the water body that sits inside Blue Lake Regional Park. Furthermore, European and American settlers settled along the lake as well. You can find more information regarding its history here.

Metal Detecting Tip: Looking for more places to use your metal detector in Oregon? Read -> The Best Places to Metal Detect in Oregon

Salem Area

6. Minto-Brown Island Park <- Map Link Salem, Oregon

Map to Minto-Brown Island Park
Map to Minto-Brown Island Park – image Google Maps – link

You can find Minto-Brown Island Park at the heart of Salem. It’s a decently-sized park, but its negative feature makes it interesting. Initially, two farmers owned the Island over two separate periods. Isaac Brown owned the Island in 1857, and in 1867, John Minto purchased the land.

The negative feature of this Island is that it’s prone to periodic flooding. Why is this a good thing? Flooding can bring buried items to the surface, and when the floods cease, it’s like the ground does a 180, making it perfect for treasure hunting.

7. Wallace Marine Park Softball <- Map Link Salem, Oregon

Wallace Marine Park may seem like an odd fit on this list because it includes a softball park. However, for treasure hunters, the area outside the softball is what’s interesting. The park sits on the edge of Williamette River, and prospecting along any river’s edge increases your chance of finding treasure.

The park also offers trails and other recreational amenities that you can enjoy.

8. Eola Bend County Park <- Map Link Salem, Oregon

Eola Bend County Park is also on this list because it provides access to the Williamette River. Williamette River has served numerous purposes throughout history, and treasure hunting along its banks is a probable location.

Furthermore, you can enjoy trails, a picnic area, and scenic views of the Williamette River.

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Eugene Area

9. Bertelsen Nature Park <- Map Link Eugene, Oregon

Map to Bertelsen Nature Park
Map to Bertelsen Nature Park image Google Maps – link

Bertelsen Nature Park is a small park in the heart of Eugene. One highlight of this park is the Stewart Pond. We highly recommend treasure hunting along Stewart Pond. It is the biggest pond in the park.

Similarly, the park offers several other recreational amenities. You can expect trails, picnic areas, and other activities. Lastly, the park is convenient, making access to it easier and faster.

10. Alton Baker Park <- Map Link Eugene, Oregon

In the 1950s, before the city of Eugene decided to procure land for parks, the area that is now Alton Baker Park was farmland. The city purchased the land, making it the Alton Baker Park we know today.

Thanks to this history, we can treasure hunt with the possibility of finding farm equipment from the late 1800s in this park. The park also offers several recreational amenities. Furthermore, the park offers access to the Williamette River.

11. Island Park <- Map Link Eugene, Oregon

Island Park is another park that offers access to the Williamette River. The park also offers several recreational amenities to the public. You can expect bike trails, picnic tables, trails, and other activities.

Off-The-Grid Locations

Off Grid Treasure Hunting in Oregon
Off Grid Treasure Hunting in Oregon

12. Barlow Road <- Map Link Oregon

Barlow Road is a historic road located in the forested area around Mt. Hood. During the 1840s, more than 50,000 hardy pioneers passed through Barlow Road in what is known as the last leg of the Oregon Trail. Although it is located deep in the forested area, it is bound to be a hotspot for treasure thanks to its history.

Not only that, but the area around Barlow Road is full of other trails that you can explore. It’s not located in a park, but it does offer beautiful and scenic views of Mt. Hood.

Map to Barlow Road
Map to Barlow Road – image Google Maps – link

13. Astoria <- Map Link Oregon

Astoria is a coastal city in the great state of Oregon. This place stands out because it is the earliest known settlement of Europeans in Oregon. The settlers founded the city in 1811, and we highly recommend treasure hunting along its shores of the Columbia River. You can also visit Tongue Point, which is a couple of miles from the heart of Astoria.

14. Galena <- Map Link Grant County, Oregon

Google refers to Galena as an unincorporated community; however, the community is a ghost town. Initially, Galena was a gold mining community in 1865. Currently, the community suffers from a sparse population and tourism due to the old mines.

We highly recommend this spot because of its history.

15. Shaniko <- Map Link Wasco County, Oregon

The last spot on our list is another ghost town, Shaniko. Initially, the community was farmland until it became home to several ranchers in the late 1800s. Today, it is one of the most famous ghost towns in Oregon. We also highly recommend treasure hunting in the area around Shaniko and parts of the town.

Treasure In Oregon

The Legend of the Lost Blue Bucket Mine

In 1845 a group of pioneers traveled from Iowa to Oregon. During their travels, they got lost and found nuggets of what they assumed to be copper. One of the pioneers took one of these nuggets home; however, they discovered that the nuggets were gold after three years. – source

Is It Legal to Metal Detect in Oregon?

Metal detecting in Oregon is like two sides of one coin; some areas require a permit while others do not. According to the Oregon State Park Committee, metal detecting without a permit is allowed in designated areas of Oregon State Parks and ocean shores. In other parks, they require detectorists to obtain a permit from the staff.

However, some parks prohibit metal detecting. It would be your best interest to contact the park staff and inquire about their metal detecting laws, especially if detectorists require a permit to use a metal detector in a specific park.

Oregon State Parks do have laws that all detectorists should follow:

  • You cannot use metal detectors without a permit, and then it is allowed only in areas designated in the Oregon State Park list. You can find that list here.
  • It would be best if you obeyed all federal and state antiquity laws.
  • Shipwrecks are protected archaeological sites.
  • If you find an item of possible historical or cultural significance, leave the item where you found it. Please get in touch with the park staff.
  • The probing and digging for items are limited to using an ice pick, screwdriver, or small knife. The use of larger digging tools is prohibited.
  • After digging, all turf, dirt, etc., must be left in its original condition.
  • It would help if you turned over all articles found in state parks with over $100 to the Park Manager.
  • Cutting vegetation and driving motor vehicles to the digging site is prohibited.

Can I Keep Treasure Found in Oregon?

Fortunately, we’ve listed the laws laid out by Oregon State Parks above. The short version is that you must surrender any artifacts found in State Parks over $100 in value.

We can thank the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979. It states that if you find “archaeological resources” on the state’s land, what you find belongs to the government. Typically, anything over 100 years old will apply.

However, this law only applies to items found in state parks. It does not extend to items found on personal property. With the proper permission, you can detect private property and hopefully find a treasure that is yours for keeping.

Oregon Treasure in the News

Here are the news stories of treasure hunting in Oregon.

A group of metal detectorists began their adventure of searching for The Legendary Spanish Gold of Neahkahnie Mountain. – source

Stories of Treasure in Oregon

1.   The Lost Blue Bucket Mine

This legend is the most popular in Oregon. In 1845, a group of pioneers got lost along the Malheur River, only to find gold without knowing it was gold. – source

2.   The Lost Cabin Gold Mine

A gold miner repetitively returned to Yreka with buckets full of gold. The miner claimed he found a mine that contained loads of gold. He claimed that he built a cabin around the mine. The miner disappeared after sharing a piece of information about the location, but no one had ever found the gold mine. – source

 3. The Legendary Spanish Gold of Neahkahnie Mountain

A Spanish sailing ship came into Nehalem Bay in the 1600s. A group of men carried a heavy chest to the shore and buried it, thinking it was a secret, but the native people watched them the entire time. After they buried the chest, they sailed away, never to return. – source

Books About Treasure in Oregon

Best Metal Detecting Books
Best Metal Detecting Books – Check out the Metal Detecting “How To” Books I love HERE

1. Commander’s Lost Treasures You Can Find In Oregon: Follow the Clues and Find Your Fortunes!

If you’re hunting Oregon for treasure, the Commander’s guides are what you need. This first logbook is perfect for finding all the great spots many locals know about. And I think that some of the spots may even be unknown to some of the locals because they were pretty quiet when I went. A great read from the Commander.

2. More Commander’s Lost Treasures You Can Find In Oregon: Follow the Clues and Find Your Fortunes!

Commander is at it again with even more Oregon locations and treasures to hunt for. Another fun read from the Commander.

3. My Found Treasures In Oregon: Metal Detection Log Book | Treasure Hunting Inventory and Site Recording Log | Keep Track of Rare Finds, War Relics, Coins & Jewelry Found on Your Digs & Hunts

I loved the Log because it’s set up for you to log your finds. This logbook has helped me catalog a variety of my treasure hunting excursions. Using the log to record the various settings that have worked for me in various soil conditions has been invaluable on my metal detecting journey. If you don’t have a logbook yet, grab this one and get your treasure hunting on track.

Metal Detecting Tip: Treasure hunting doesn’t mean making a mess, digging holes and destroying historic sites. Use some ethics and preserve history. Sharing pictures and documenting the location and researching the back story is the most important part of finding treasure. Read my article 👉 Metal Detecting Rules, Ethics and Laws


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.

Read about David -> HERE

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