Come pan for gold and screen for gems at North Georgia's best paydirt mines, but don't take our word for it. Come on down and check us out for yourself. With two great locations to serve our customers, both Dukes Creek Gold and Ruby Mines and the new Outpost Gold and Gem Panning Company are open year round and offer a look into the rich gold mining history. We are conveniently located in and around Helen, GA, near the site of the first major discovery of gold in America! Some of you may not know, but Dukes Creek was formerly a productive part of America's first Gold Rush. In George White's 1849 book Statistics of the State of Georgia, he states "The first discovery of gold in this state was made at Duke's Creek, in Habersham (now White) County."
Our mines are family owned and operated. Our family has been in the mining business for over fifty years. Shop owner, Del Jackson, has mined everywhere from here in the United States and Alaska to Central and South America. In the late 70's, he opened a small sand and gravel mine right outside Helen, Georgia, named Noochee Sand and Gravel. This is where Dukes Creek Gold and Ruby Mines is still located today.
Due to the amount of gold, sapphires, and rubies that were found in the mine, we decided to open our treasures to the public, allowing people to pan right in the river. Due to rising insurance rates, we were forced to move our operations and build our conveniently covered panning tables right next to our shop, which also specializes in unique and authentic Navajo Horsehair Pottery & Prehistoric Fossils.
Thanks to our loyal support from customers and increased demand for our products, in 2015, we opened a second location just inside of Helen, across from the Alpine Mini Golf and Circle K, coming into town. This new location features a larger covered panning area and expanded gift shop. Parking and Admission is always free. Buses and large groups are always welcome. At Dukes Creek and The Outpost, you can become a prospector from the 1800's and mine for real gold and gemstones that you can keep! We provide everything you need to have a great time and be successful. We would like to invite you to visit us and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and relaxing atmosphere here.
History is no stranger to Dukes Creek. Hernando DeSoto visited the area in 1540, and at least one of his men returned around 1560 to mine gold in the area. Although frequently credited to Lumpkin County resident Benjamin Parks, gold was found in Dukes Creek (now White County) in 1828 by Frank Logan, launching America's First Gold Rush.
Not far from our Dukes Creek Gold and Ruby Mines is Historical Marker from the Georgia Historical Commission (1962). This marker is located north of Cleveland near Duke's Creek in White County, Georgia. The text reads as: "Discovery of Gold • In 1828 gold was discovered here on Duke's Creek, White County, by two people. John Witheroods of North Carolina found a 3-ounce nugget and a Negro servant of Major Frank Logan of Louisville, Georgia, also discovered gold on the creek. Early discoveries came almost simultaneously as prospectors drifted into Northeast Georgia from the North Carolina diggings. One merchant in the Nacoochee Valley purchased and shipped 1 to 1.5 million dollars worth of gold in a thirty year period. The pits visible along the creek are evidence of recent hydraulic mining."
Today the path to the creek lies along the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway, a lovely stretch of road connecting (roughly) Brasstown Bald with Alpine Helen, Georgia. While the pathway is remarkably level, it descends more than 400 feet on the half-mile walk. The sound of the waterfall can only be heard at the middle of each switchback. Where the footpath switches back the sounds of the forest are louder than the falls. The Dukes Creek Trail hikes a moderate 2 miles out and back through a beautiful, mountain stream-filled forest in Georgia just north of Helen. The trail descends alongside a usually-shallow stream, hiking to several large, cascading waterfalls that tumble at the convergence of Davis Creek and Dukes Creek. Several generously large wooden viewing platforms below the falls offer a stunning glimpse at the main attraction overhead: the exceptionally scenic, multi-tiered, 150-foot-tall drop of Dukes Creek Falls. (GPS Coordinates: 34.702063, -83.789413 (N34 42.124 W83 47.365)
Dukes Creek Mines and the Outpost Gold and Gem is just a few of the great nearby attractions that offer a look into the past of Duke Creek Falls. Hunt for treasure by panning for gold or screening for gems just like the prospectors of the first Gold Rush. We are North Georgia's premium pay dirt mine! Come check us out for yourself!
Dukes Creek Gold and Ruby Mines and the Outpost Gold and Gem Panning is located in beautiful Alpine Helen, Ga with many other attractions and accommodations are available for a fun filled weekend for the entire family!