Featured Site:

LA PAZ DISTRICT
La Paz County, Arizona


  • Location: West flank of the Dome Rock Mountains, Tps. 3 and 4 N., Rs. 21 and 22 W.
  • Topographic Maps: Dome Rock Mountains 15-minute quadrangle; La Paz Mountain 7.5-minute quadrangle
  • Click Here For Topographic Map Of The La Paz Placer area

  • Access: From Quartzsite take I-10 west for about 10 or 11 miles to Wells Road (there is a truck stop here), Take a right and veer right through the truck stop entrance and follow the dirt road to the old paved Highway 60 and go right. Within a short distance there will be a well traveled dirt road to the left that will take you to the placer areas.
  • Extent: Placers in the La Paz district are found in Goodman Arroyo and Arroyo La Paz, major west-trending drainages, and in Ferrar , Garcia, and Ravenna Gulches, tributaries to the major drainages. Placers were worked as Łar west as the outskirts of the town of Ehrenberg (secs. 15 and 16, T. 3 N., R. 22 W.).
  • The gold-bearing gravels range in thickness from a few feet on the mountain slopes to an unknown depth in Arroyo, La Paz, and Gonzales Wash (the wash through which u.s. Highway 60-70 is built); gold is distributed throughout the gravels, but the richest parts were found near bedlrock. Ferrar Gulch (secs. 25 and 36, T . 4 N., R. 21 W.) reportedly contained the richest gravels in the area, and it was from this gulch that Juan Ferrar recovered a nugget weighing more than 47 ounces.

  • Production history: The placers in the La Paz district were discovered by Captain Pauline Weaver in January 1862, when he panned a small amount of gold from a gulch called El Arollo de la Tenaja in the Dome Rock Mountains. Immediately thereafter, Weaver returned to Yuma, told about his discovery, and on his return to the mountains was joined and followed by other prospecting parties. This advance party soon found good prospects (one man, Jose Redondo, recovered a nugget weighing more than 2 oz in a place less than a mile south of Weaver's camp)and the real rush to the new placer soon followed. About $1 million in placer gold was recovered from the placers the first year and another $1 million by 1864, when the placers were worked out. Since that time, the La Paz district has been at times part of the Colorado River Indian Reservation, and in consequence, small-scale placer- mining activity declined and large-scale placer-mining plans were interrupted. During the 20th century, while many large-scale operations were active in the Plomosa district to the east, the La Paz placers were worked only by individuals.

    The La Paz placers are famous for the large nuggets recovered, although most of the gold occurred as pieces ranging in weight from 0.0025 to 0.5 ounce many large nuggets, some weighing 26, 27, and 47 ounces, that were free of all foreign material, even quartz, and thought it possible that many larger nuggets were recovered but not shown for various practical or superstitious reasons. The largest nugget recovered from the La Paz placers was valued at about $1,150 (about 65 OZ) and assayed 870 fine. Many large nuggets have been found here by the modern electronic prospector.
  • Source: The gold in the placers is attributed to the erosion of the many gold-bearing veins distributed through the metamorphic rocks in the area. The largest areas of placer gravels are found along the more persistent gold-quartz veins.
  • Tips: Get off the main roads and into the tributaries, look for evidence of old workings. Move slowly and dig ALL TARGETS. Always make sure you have a topo map of the area you wish to hunt. There are several clubs such as Roadrunners, GPAA, and others you can join to get access. Remember to stay off marked claims and please remember to FILL ALL HOLES!!
  • Good hunting.

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