Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? I can tell you it is a site you just can’t imagine. You need to see it with your own eyes. When my family went to see this majestic site, we decided to make it a road trip with a journey across the state and visit some of our favorite state parks. Naturally, I brought my metal detector.
PLEASE check the Arizona State Parks website for current information about swinging a metal detector in state parks. Here’s a shortcut link to read more. 👉 Arizona State Parks and Trails
There are many great state parks in Arizona, such as Lake Havasu, Davis Mountains, and more. Many of these incredible parks feature multiple amenities and have some significant areas to use a metal detector. However, the detector’s use is prohibited in ecologically, geologically, or culturally sensitive areas.
Although the Grand Canyon is in a National Park and therefore, you can’t use a detector there without special permits, Arizona’s state parks allow the recreational use of metal detectors. As mentioned above, you’ll need to be careful what areas of the parks you use them in. Luckily, there’s always friendly park staff, usually at the entrances to the parks, that you can ask where you’re allowed to use your detector.
Let’s take a journey through seven of my favorite places in Arizona to do some hobby detecting.
1. Lake Havasu State Park – Swimming and Sun
You’ve likely gone to a beach to prospect. Beaches are great places to find coins, jewelry, watches, and all manner of goodies lost in the sands of time. And if your detector is water-resistant, then walking out into the water to find treasures lost by swimmers is an exciting prospect.
Metal Detecting Tip: If the idea of treasure really excites you. Check out my article -> Where to Find Treasure in Arizona
One of the best times I’ve had detecting was on the beach of Lake Havasu State Park. I like that there are not only beach areas to detect but also a boat ramp. And again, a waterproof detector is needed, but you can find all kinds of goodies just out past the edge of the water. You’d be surprised what falls off launching boats! Just watch that you aren’t blocking anyone from launching a boat! And the beach is definitely worth detecting, like so many other places where people lose valuables.
There are lots to do at the park other than prospect as well. You can also enjoy activities like:
Here’s how to find the Lake Havasu State Park :- https://goo.gl/maps/oQ2ChW9dspeg3Md1A
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2. Dankworth Pond State Park – Mountain Views
One of the most fun I’ve had was hiking the Dos Arroyos Trail, a 1.75-mile-long trail that leads to the Dankworth Village recreation. There are historic buildings, plants, wildlife, and some incredible geology to explore along the way. It’s a great place to hike and use your detector.
The park features some great hiking and the water where you can also fish or go boating. But this park doesn’t have an official boat launch, so it’s usually only used by kayakers and canoeists. However, the picnic area is often used, and many a ring and other trinkets are likely to have been lost there to the sands of time (for you to find, hopefully).
One of the reasons we stopped at this park is to see the replica Indian village along the Dos Arroyos Trail. The kids loved it, and it was a fascinating site. With just a short drive to the hot springs of Roper Lake, there are lots to do and see in the area nearby.
Metal Detecting Tip: You can ensure that your detector picks up everything correctly only if you position it correctly. Keep your coil parallel to the ground, and don’t lift it too far away from the ground either. Your detector will work best if you keep the coil close to the ground. For more great tips, take a look at this article: https://metaldetectingtips.com/metal-detecting-tips/
You can find this incredible park here – https://goo.gl/maps/dXZxSWpdqmuuDpLH7
3. Lost Dutchman State Park – Mysteries Of Gold Mines
Traveling along State Route 88, we had to stop to check out the legendary Superstition Mountains. Here lies the home of the famous tale of the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine. You can guess that I wanted to get my detector out the minute we pulled into the Lost Dutchman State Park.
The park has some stunning, if not breathtaking, trails you can traverse from the park. These trails run up into the mountains, and the area is quite rugged and picturesque. Dating back to the seventies, this park has seen its fair share of visitors.
Here are a few of the park’s amenities and activities:
- Beautiful scenery
- Cabins & Camping
You can find the Lost Dutchman State Park here – https://goo.gl/maps/yLKPASqu3JSzWTdf6
4. Lyman Lake State Park – Reservoir In The Heat
Nestled in the northeastern side of Arizona along the Little Colorado River lies Lyman Lake. The state park was opened back in 1961 and is used for fishing, camping, swimming, boating, and more. It’s a great place to get away in Arizona and have some fun outside.
There are plenty of choices with its camping and cabins if you want to do a multi-day detecting adventure. One of the things that you’re going to want, though, is a waterproof detector. There are some docks and boating, so naturally, there’s detecting under the docks if you have the waterproof gear to go under the water.
There are also two boat ramps at this lake, one in the north (a double-wide ramp) and one in the east sporting a single lane ramp. These are areas people often drop things, and you might be lucky enough to find a ring or something else of value in these areas.
Here’s how you can find Lyman Lake State Park – https://goo.gl/maps/bJ6UiRgdYsC5FhK48
Source: Arizona State Parks – Lyman Lake
5. Red Rock State Park – Incredible Rock Formations
Red Rock State Park is one of the most beautiful parks I can imagine. The geography and beauty of the Sedona red rock formations are surpassed by none.
The park is relatively new, spawning from a land trade deal that finally ended in the parks’ formation in 1991.
The focus of this park is on its trails. The Sedona hiking trails are a 5-mile network of loops along Oak Creek and the Sedona rock formations. It is gorgeous, and these trails leave many places for us to explore with a detector.
Aside from detecting, there are also a few trails used for biking and equestrian use, but most of the trails are meant to be taken on foot, so stick to the foot trails if you use full earphones on your detector to avoid getting hit by a cyclist.
Source: Arizona State Parks – Red Rock
Metal Detecting Tip: You can find a lot more and cover the ground efficiently with an excellent sweeping technique. Using a panning and semi-circular moving pattern with your detector ensures you cover your ground effectively and that you don’t miss a possible hit. For more great tips on detecting and more, read this article: https://metaldetectingtips.com/metal-detecting-tips/
6. River Island State Park – Beaches And Camping In The Sun
If you like detecting on beaches and campgrounds, the River Island State Park is a great place to go. The park is another excellent place to use a waterproof detector. However, there are many great spots to use a non-waterproof one on land as well.
The beach here is a fairly compacted and clay-rich earth. It can be a bit tough to dig when you get a hit. The good thing about it is that it can hold quite a bit of stuff easily found in normal sand. Take a ring, for example. If someone loses a ring and the ring gets stepped on, it can be easily lost to the semi-compacted ground. Unlike sand, once lost to the earth here, it isn’t easily found without a detector. It makes your chances of finding something pretty good considering. With a big campground and RV area, there are plenty of areas to explore with that detector of yours.
7. Kartchner Caverns State Park – Alien Worlds To Explore
Saved the best for last? Quite possibly as the Kartchner Caverns are another spectacular sight to see in Arizona. Being inside the caverns is like something out of a science fiction movie. It’s breathtaking. It’s not a surprise once you’ve seen the formations that you find out that a man was taken blindfolded first to see the caves to help make the area a park and driven to the caves at night so he couldn’t reveal the actual location. Quite the secrecy just to create a state park. Go there and see for yourself and you’ll understand, it’s breathtaking.
Aside from the fantastic cave tours, the park also sports camping and cabins and 3.2 miles of trails where you can do some detecting. Just remember not to use in areas that aren’t permitted.
Source: Arizona State Parks – Kartchner
Metal Detecting Laws For Arizona
Arizona is a state that has some fairly specific requirements when it comes to metal detecting. If the land is controlled by the BLM (aka Bureau of Land Management), then you are NOT allowed to hunt for relics or other historical items. At least, not without a permit. Most parks are open to detecting as long as you fill any holes and leave no trace.
In Arizona, the rules for treasure hunting are wide open when it comes to classifying treasure as there exists no particular rule in the state about detecting non-relic items. So gold and coins are a go! But before you head off into the sunset with your detector, always confirm the rules at individual sites first, as the laws can change in local parks given local conditions.
Quick Arizona Law Recap:
National Forests: Permit required from US Forest Service
BLM Lands: Permit required for relics, non-relic no permit required
Arizona State Lands: Permit required for relics, jewelry, etc., significantly beyond 100 years old items. No permit for coins, arrowheads, or non-relic metals. Hobby detecting is permitted in areas that are not ecologically, geologically, or culturally significant.
Metal Detecting Clubs In Arizona
- Arizona Association of Gold Prospectors – This is the premier club in Arizona if gold and prospecting are on your mind. They have cool handouts at the annual May meeting, but the Pheonix chapter meets once a month on the fourth Tuesday, so they are pretty active. Link: https://www.arizonagoldprospectors.org/AAGPPhoenixChapter.htm
- Arizona Treasures Unlimited – This club meets on the third Tuesday of every month at American Legion Post #1 in Phoenix, Arizona. – http://www.aztreasures.org/info.php
- Superstition West Treasure Hunters – Based out of Apache Junction, the SWTH club has an annual membership fee of $25 and makes some cool trips together. They journey to ghost towns, old mining camps, and more, so it’s well worth joining if you live in the area. Learn more here – http://superstitiontreasure.com/
Metal Detecting Treasures Found In Arizona
One of the coolest recent metal detecting stories to come out of Arizona relates to two friends. In January of 2021, one man, David Doughty, was over at his friend’s house Antonio Arredondo in Temple, Arizona. David was using his metal detector and found a weak signal. It was one that he almost ignored!
A good thing happened when David didn’t ignore the signal. They found a gold school ring from 50 years ago, all caked in mud and only 5-6 inches down! What a find! After posting the find on Facebook, he soon discovered the senior who owned the ring and returned the once lost item to its rightful owner. Read the full story here – https://www.wtsp.com/article/news/local/lost-temple-hs-class-ring-found-50-years-later/500-070438e9-e119-41e4-8485-447a9f607ae6
Metal Detecting Resources In Arizona
- MDHTALK forum has a fantastic quick reference resource for information about permits in Arizona for metal detecting. Check out the reference list here. http://www.mdhtalk.org/cf/city-regulation.cfm?st=AZ
- Bureau of Land Management – Arizona – For permits to prospect lands controlled in the State by the BLM. – https://www.blm.gov/arizona
- US Forest Service – Arizona – For permits to prospect hiking trails and other areas on US Forest Service managed lands. – https://www.fs.fed.us/sopa/state-level.php?az
- Tuscon Parks and Recreation – For FREE permits to metal detect in any of the parks in Tucson, Arizona – https://www.tucsonaz.gov/parks
- Ghost Towns Of Arizona! You want to find some cools stuff? Check out this resource for all the ghost towns in Arizona to explore! – http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/az/azyavapai.html
- Arizona Mining Claims – A great resource for purchasing claims on plots in Arizona – https://www.arizonaminingclaims.com/
Metal Detector Stores In Arizona For Expert Advice
- A & B Prospecting Supplies – https://www.abprospecting.com/
- BR Detector – https://brdetector.com/
- Promack Treasure Hunting Supplies – https://www.promacktreasurehunting.com/
If you’d like more articles about metal detecting check out the links below.
- Metal Detecting Digging Tools – Tells you all about shovels, scoops and how to dig a plug.
- Where are the Best Places for a Beginner to Metal Detect? – Just like the title says, this article points the beginner to the highest probability places.
- Can You Metal Detect on BLM Land? – So many people have asked me about BLM detecting I had to write this article.
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.