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San Francisquito Gold

Although gold has, for the most part, lost its intrigue to the serious prospector, it still holds a certain fascination and challenge to the amateur collector. It seems that everyone, sooner or later, decides to try their luck at finding some of the elusive yellow metal. While we know of no place where gold is found in great abundance, San Francisquito Canyon is a place where there is a good chance of getting some "colors." It is best to visit this area during the wet season if you plan to pan, as the stream dries up in the summer.

Type of material found

Gold (stream carried flakes and tiny nuggets).

Description of material

From tiny flakes to match-head size pieces.

This might be a good place for a word or two on how to identify the gold. Assuming one is an amateur "prospector" with only a gold pan, and some knowledge of how to pan (using a circular motion) once you get down to the black sand, be careful not to wash away too much black sand at once. Keep slowly washing away the black sand until only about 2 to 3 tablespoons remain. Shake this remaining into a mass at one side of the pan. Find a place to sit where the sun will shine over your shoulder and into the pan, start slowly swirling the water around the edge of the bottom of the pan (using a slow "rocking" motion) passing it over the mass of black sand. Each time the water passes over the sand, a few particles will be displaced and the gold will soon be revealed. When you see a suspect piece, remember what the old prospectors say: "If you're sure its gold, it is; if you think it's gold, it ain't."

Equipment needed

Small shovel, garden trowel, gold pan, small glass container (to put gold in).

How to get there

Take Highway 14 north toward Palmdale. Take turnoff to Newhall-Saugus. From here continue 4.0 miles, passing through Newhall and on to the little town of Saugus. Keep right at "Y" intersection. Continue on Bouquet Canyon Road 1.4 miles. Turn left onto Seco Canyon Rd. which takes you into San Francisquito Canyon. The mouth of San Francisquito Canyon is filled with homes; soon you leave the encroaches of civilization and begin winding up into the canyon. On both sides of the road are sprawling ranches where livestock can be seen. At 5.7 miles park at edge of road. You will see a clump of trees at edge of washbed. From the clump of cottonwoods, you can look directly across the river to the gold bearing gravel terrace.

San Francisquito Gold

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