Gold Panning in Hope, BC

Last Saturday we went with some friends to Hope to do some gold panning!

Firstly, I did not know this was an activity one could do. I’ve heard about gold panning at places where they seed in gems and rocks for you to pretend to sift out, but I didn’t realize you can just go out into the wild and start panning for gold.

You can get supplies off Amazon, or in our case, our friend headed to Cabela’s and helped us get a gold pan. Basic things I’d say you’d need to make the process more manageable would be:

  • Gold pan
  • Dropper
  • Little container to collect your gold flakes
  • Tweezer

And that’s about it to get you started! Make sure you go during the day so the sun can help you more easily spot the gold.

We headed to the Hope Rotary Trail which is part of the Gold Rush Trail. After we parked, we got out and saw rock fields as far as the eye can see. And of course, there was a running river along the mess of rocks.

We took our doggo Onyx with us since it was all outdoors anyway and he was very curious about all the new smells. We settled down by the riverside and got to work.

I was very surprised to see there were indeed little sparkly flakes among the river sediments! It proved hard to isolate and pick them up when you find them, but with some dedication, I think we all went back home with some sparkly bits. That’s the thing though: we kept asking each other “is this gold or just a sparkly thing??” It’s incredibly hard to know if it’s fool’s gold, gold, or just random rock bits that happened to be shiny.

At one point, I let Onyx roam around since he was having a blast sniffing everything. Then he wandered away and I saw him from afar rolling into something on the ground. Usually, he does that when he finds a good smell. I walked towards him and saw him proudly pick up the “thing” he was rolling it. When I got closer, I smelled a pungent smell and realized he had a rotting dead fish in his mouth. I screamed at my fiancé to come and help and made Onyx drop the fish. My fiancé ran over and picked him up, but Onyx definitely had rotten fish chunks in his fur and collar by then :’ ) He was pretty stinky for a bit until we cleaned him off with wet wipes and river water. After that, he was kept on a short leash.

One of our friends was pretty successful with his panning. For me…not so much. But it was still a fun experience!

After the sun started setting, we left and headed to Mission for dinner. Someone had suggested Rocko’s Diner and I realized that it was the diner they filmed Riverdale at! It was neat to stop by “Pop’s” even if I’ve only seen like 2 seasons of the show. We got milkshakes and floats, and then shared some appetizers—their appies were pretty good! We liked the fried pickles, jalapeño poppers, and popcorn shrimp that our table ordered. We then each got a main and the portions are massive. Most of us couldn’t finish our meals despite being hungry to begin with.

Highly recommend trying out gold panning. It is a relaxing activity (as long as your dog isn’t trying to roll in dead fish), and satisfying when you realize there truly are just gold specks out in the wild to collect!


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