Thursday, March 29, 2018

Go Prospectin' at Reed Gold Mine

In 1799, Reed Gold Mine, then a farm located in Midland, NC, just 25 miles east of Charlotte, became the site of the first documented gold find in the United States. When landowner John Reed's son stumbled on a 17-pound rock (which for a time the family naively used as a doorstop), it was the beginning of a stretch of time when North Carolina led the nation in gold production that ended in 1848 when the California gold rush began.

Today, you can enjoy a self-guided tour of a mining museum, restored portions of the underground mining tunnels and ore-crushing stamp mill, remnants of the engine/mill house, and other mining buildings and equipment. And, maybe most exciting, pan for your own piece of gold.

When you arrive at Reed Gold Mine, a short 45-minute drive from uptown, you'll park in a lot adjacent to the visitor center and museum. Take some time to meander through the museum's impressive collection of mining artifacts and absorb a trove of information about the history of gold, mining and the Reed Gold Mine.

Stop at the welcome desk on the way in to pick up a self-guided tour map and purchase panning tickets. Admission to the grounds is free. Gold panning costs $3 per pan. If you have small kids, consider sharing a pan. The process is a bit labor-intensive and requires big-kid or grown-up strength and dexterity. Hang on to your ticket; you'll pan at the end of your tour. (NOTE: Gold panning is accessible April 1 through October 31.)

When you've explored the museum, take the side door through a replica tunnel to begin the underground tour. Follow the site map to wind your way through the mining tunnels and past other significant stops around the grounds of the mine.
If you're feeling extra adventurous, consider taking a hike around one of two short trails that circumvent the grounds. The Lower Hill Trail (orange blazes) trailhead is beside the Stamp Mill. The Lake Hill Trail (white blazes) is accessible from the Lower Hill Trail and ends at the main parking lot.

When you've finished exploring the grounds, stop at the panning area to try your hand at prospecting. You may also consider a picnic at the tables in that area. Bathrooms are available at the visitor's center.

I like Reed Gold Mine because it's educational, exciting and a great place to do some outdoor exploring. A perfect family outing on a pretty day.

Bonus tip: Enjoy a stop at The Sundae Shop in Midland for a milkshake on the way home.

How to get there:
Reed Gold Mine is located at 9621 Reed Mine Rd, Midland, NC 28107.

Don't forget to pack:
  • Comfortable walking shoes: You'll want to explore the grounds.
  • Snacks and water: Stay hydrated and keep your energy up. There's a lot of fun things to do if you don't run out of steam.
  • Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen: A lot of the grounds are shaded, but there are open areas as well.
  • Cash: Pack $3/pan if you want to pan for gold.

No comments:

Post a Comment