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Baker County Oregon

In 1861 Henry Griffin discover gold in in Griffin's Gulch and the great finds of Baker county began. Baker County is responsible for 2/3 of the gold found in Oregon. Extremely rich placer deposits and discoveries of near by lodes have generated over 2,000,000 ounces of gold being produced in Baker County.

The western drainage of the Snake River, between latitude 44 degrees 21 minutes - 44 degrees 44 minutes North and longitude 117 degrees 03 minutes - 117 degrees 18 minutes West, you will find the Connor Creek District. Connor Creek District produced over 100,000 ounces of lode gold and 10,000 ounces of placer gold to date. Along Connor Creek you can find some very rich placers. Also on Connor Creek you will find The Connor Creek Mine which produced free gold associated with pyrite.


In Blue Canyon there were some rich early day placers.


If you go south of Baker a few miles you will find Griffin Gulch. This was the site of the first gold discovery in Baker County. The Baker District alone produced over 37,000 ounces of gold. Half of that came from placers.

If you go West by Southwest by 4-6 miles from Baker you will find the Dale Mine in West 1/2 of Section 22. The Dale mine produced free milling gold. In upper Washington Gulch, in sections 20 and 29, you will find The Stub (Kent) Mine which produced lode gold.

At the South end of Elkhorn Ridge in most stream gravels you will find some placer gold.

West of Baker by 6 miles in Township 9S and Range 39E you will find Salmon and Marble Creeks. These creeks had rich early placers, especially the Nelson Placer. On Salmon Creek, above the Nelson Diggings (placer), in the SW1/4 section 8 you will find the Carpenter Hill Mine. This was a large producer lode mine. In NE1/4 section 7, in McChord Gulch you will find The Paine-Old Soldier Group of mines (Yellowstone). These mines had a total production of 100,000 ounces of lode gold.

East of Baker by 10 miles, near Virtue Flat, you will find the Virtue District. This district produced over 100,000 ounces of lode and placer gold. All area gulches leading up to the Virtue and White Swan gold mines contain abundant placer gold. There a lots of other productive mines in the area (e.g., the Brazos, Flagstaff, Hidden Treasure, Carroll B, Cliff, Cyclone, etc.)

Northwest of Baker about 15 miles on the North side of Elkhorn Ridge in upper drainage of Rock and Pine creeks is the Rock Creek District. This District produced over 60,000 ounces of gold. On the North Fork of Pine Creek, you will find the Baisley-Elkhorn Mine. This mine was a principal producer discovered in 1882, with over 2 miles of underground workings. @ miles west of the Baisley-Elkhorn mine in the Rock Creek Drainage is the Highland and Maxwell mines, which were also major producers of lode gold. The Chloride, Club, and Western Union mines were all minor producers.


The Homestead district is located on the East end of Route 86, 67 miles East by Northeast of Baker. The Homestead district is on the Snake River. Here you will find the Iron Dyke Copper Mine which had a total gold production of around 35,000 ounces of gold as a by product of the copper mine.


23 miles southwest of Baker on U.S. 30, you will find the Burnt Creek District. This district had a total production of at least 50,000 ounces of lode gold and 3,500 ounces of placer gold. You can find gold in all Burnt River tributary streams and gulches. Shirttail Creek was especially rich.

Southeast of Durkee by 6-12 miles, you will find the Weatherby district, straddling U.S. 30 along the Burnt River. North of the Highway, along Chicken and Sisley Creeks was some very important placers and lode mines.

If you go South by Southwest from Durkee about 15 miles to the ghost town of Rye Valley, at the heads of Basin Creek and South fork of Dixie Creek produced over 200,000 ounces of gold out of placer and lode sources.


50 miles west of Baker you will find the Greenhorn district. This is located near the ghost town of Whitney in the east part of the Greenhorn Mountains, with some overlap into Grant County. This district produced over 90,000 ounces of lode gold and 15,000 of placer gold. Most of the streams and gulches around Winterville, Parkerville and McNamee gulches have had productive placers.


52 miles east of Baker on Route 8, near the old ghost town of Cornucopia at the head waters of Pine Creek there was over 300,000 of lode and placer gold removed. Pine Creek and its tributaries are very rich.


36 miles southwest of Baker on Route 7, the Upper Burnt Creek district, produced about 10,000 ounces of lode and placer gold. All tributaries to Burnt Creek are very rich.

Medical Springs

18 miles Northeast of Baker on Route 203 you can find many very rich streams. Big Creek, Eagle Creek, Powder River, Clover Creek, Balm Creek and Goose Creek all had very rich placer operations at one time.


40 miles east of Baker on Route 86, along the West drainage of the Snake River between the mouths of the Burnt River and the Powder River you can find some rich placer gold areas. In Eagle Creek gravels it was so rich at in one section when it was first discovered miners were getting 1 ounce of gold per cubic yard of placer gravels.


Sumpter area is by far the richest placer ground in Baker County. Over 300,000 ounces of placer gold came from the Powder River area and its tributaries. The Powder River Valley was completely dredge 8 miles long by 1 mile wide by bucket dredges. Cracker Creek, McCully fork had extensive placers as well. Buck and Mammoth gulches were very rich. There are thousands of old lode mines in the area, some at elevations of 8,000 feet.

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