Author Topic: Hiwassee River along Highway 68 - Location now closed to prospecting  (Read 5531 times)


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Hiwassee River along Highway 68

Land Status: Public; Cherokee National Forest, Ocoee Ranger District, Polk County, Tennessee

GPS Coordinates: 35.16885, -84.32091

The Hiwassee River runs a long course and can be accessed from various locations.

From Tellico Plains follow 68 South through Coker Creek passing the Polk County line, and continue on until you come to a pull off with a picnic table along the river.

Regulations: The Forest Service has banned ALL gold prospecting on the Hiwassee river from the North Carolina border to hwy 411. This is now called a "wilderness preservation area". Gold panning, sucker tubing and sluicing is ok on feeder creeks that flow into the Hiwassee river but you must be 50 feet above where the feeder creeks run into the Hiwassee river.

Where and how to find the gold:  I have tried this location several times and so far the gold has been mostly small to medium sized flakes. I suspect that if you try long enough you will find larger gold too. The river is mostly flat and has very little flow due to the diversion of most of the water through the Appalachia Tunnel. Bedrock is visible in some places, and other places have substantial overburden.

There are many interesting minerals here as well that are typical of the Southwestern North Carolina and Copperhill / Ducktown geologic provinces. Staurolite is present in large quanities, mostly as river worn fragments. Kyanite and Sillimanite are also present in minor quantities. Rocks include Gneiss, Diorite / Pseudo Diorite, Granite, Graywacke, etc. Lots of black sand in low pressure areas and lots of garnet sand.

If you don't like water snakes stay away. They don't bother me but I see them almost every time in warm weather.

A note from Chuck Pharis: Off TN Hwy 64 you can stop by the Ocoee Ranger station. (They manage all of Polk County) The station is at the West end of Hwy 64. They have some maps and a flyer on prospecting. They will not talk about dredging. Nothing mechanical can be used in Polk county. No permits are issued, PERIOD. Sucker tubes are ok. We have tried to talk with the Rangers about Dredging and they will not discuss dredging at all.

« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 01:39:30 PM by BigAl »
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