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Sierra County California

Lode gold mines in Sierra County produced most of the total recorded 2,161,000 ounces of gold, with an unrecorded production before 1880 probably boosting the total well above 3,000,000 ounces.

Allegheny and Downieville districts in the southwest part of the county are about 10 miles apart, with total placer production of 194,000 gold ounces and drift mine total from Tertiary gravels of 485,000 recorded as 2,173,000 gold ounces. All regional stream gravels and bench deposits have panning colors and nuggets; the 16 to 1 Mine principal producer of 100,000 ounces of lode gold is located on Kanaka Creek. The Kenton Mine, also on Kanaka Creek, was also a large producer.

In Sierra City, you will find The Sierra Buttes Mine and district, producer of 825,000 ounces of lode gold.


Indian Hill is in western Sierra County, about 10 miles west of Downieville and just south of the Brandy City District. Much of the Production here has come from the Indian Hill and Depot Hill hydraulic mines. Miners heavily worked these mines in these mines from the 1850s until the 1880s, and intermittent development work and mining continued through the 1930s. Both mines used long flumes filled with copper plates coated with mercury to amalgamate the gold. Prospectors found several nuggets over a pound at the Depot Hill mine. The Depot Hill mine has prospected recently. The deposits are on the LaPorte-Brandy City Tertiary Channel. The lower gravels contain abundant quartz and are as much as 100 feet thick. They are overlain in places by inner volcanic gravels and andesite. Bedrock is granite with amphibolite to the west and slate, schists, and serpentine to the east. There are also a few gold quartz veins in the Indian Hill district./P>


I have personally dredged this creek with a 3" and 5" dredge below the Kenton Mine. This is one of the richest creeks in the Mother Lode. I found some good gold on Kanaka creek below the Kenton mine. Nice Nuggets with quartz attached.


Jim Labuz and I dredged this creek with a 3" dredge on the Trios Mine Claim, owned by Harry Deter. We did well for the time we were there. We found some real nice nuggets. This was an excellent place to dredge.


Report from John Cline

I have mined several areas on Slate Creek. The Slate Creek was filled with white quartz cobble from the many hydraulic mines. As a recreational, weekender miner, I'll recover about an ounce or so in a week, working by myself. It's common to find quartz with gold in it or on it. This last summer, I found several pieces that weighted from 7 gains to 17 pennyweights.


I have dredged this river in many places and always done well when I hit virgin dirt. This river replenishes every year. I saw a 22-pound nugget that came out of this river above Downieville. The nugget was named "The Lure."

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