Big Bar is a 60-acre Federal Mining Claim located on the Scott River within the Klamath National Forest in northern Siskiyou County, California. This gorgeous and historically rich region is highly noted for its exceptional gold bearing rivers.

Big Bar is one of the largest federal mining claims on the Scott River and represents a massive reserve of gold recovery potential. The Scott River makes a wicked "S" curve through the claim that runs for over 5 football fields in length. The bends create outstanding low pressure areas and gravel bars that have proven to be exceptional gold traps and gold deposit areas. The sheer size of this mining claim guarantees many lifetimes of exciting gold recovery potential on a river proven to be exceptionally rich with gold.

Big Bar topographical location map

Big Bar (seen on this map as the blue-highlighted area) is nestled snugly in-between two other claims which we are very familiar with. Golden Sands to the north (seen in the yellow-shaded area) is owned by Tracy Walters, and Confidence to the south (shown in the green-shaded area) is owned by Union Mining Group and is also being offered for sale. The claims are contiguous meaning that they are connected with no space in-between, so there is added security in knowing who owns the claims on the Scott River directly surrounding Big Bar.

In addition to the 1,800 feet of Scott River within Big Bar, the claim also contains numerous washes and ancient stream gulches on both sides of the river. Dry gulches in this specific region are widely known to produce exceptional gold nuggets, and many claim owners hit the hills with metal detectors and have excellent success. This represents yet another method of gold recovery that is pretty exciting to those who love to swing a coil or want to learn how to find gold nuggets with a metal detector.

About the Scott River
The Scott River is one of the largest rivers in California and is a major tributary of the Klamath River. This 60-mile long waterway has an incredible history which extends back to the earliest days of California exploration and gold discovery. In 1836, nearly two dozen beaver trappers from the Hudson Bay Company entered into this region hunting for beaver fur. Originally called Beaver River, the current day Scott River and surrounding valley was considered some of the finest beaver hunting grounds in the west.

Stephen Meek was born in Virginia but made his way west in 1831 and became a legendary trapper for numerous fur and trapping companies. He reportedly trapped over 1,800 beaver in 1850 in this river valley. Meek turned from hunting and trapping to gold mining in the early 1850's but returned to trapping in his final years.

Stephen Meek, 1807-1889
Photo from the Oregon Historical Society

The Gold Rush to the region
Gold was discovered in the Scott River in 1850 by John W. Scott. Scott was an early pioneer to the area who used the Siskiyou Trail and other alternate routes through the mountains from Shasta CA up into Oregon. John Scott's discovery of gold about 5 miles north of the confluence with the Klamath River sparked a gold rush to the northern California region. The place of John's gold discovery is called "Scott Bar" which is just a few miles downstream from these mining claims.

Beaver River as it was known to the early trappers and settlers became the Scott River, and the massive drainage valley surrounding the river became known as Scott Valley. Trails became stagecoach roads as towns sprung up to support the influx of 49'ers. A nearby U.S. Army Post called Fort Jones became a bustling town and trading post, and the town is still thriving today. These claims are located just 20 miles from Fort Jones which offers all the conveniences needed for an enjoyable and comfortable visit.

Big Bar mining claim boundaries

General location in Northern California

Map showing Scott Bar, Big Bar and Fort Jones

Big River, Big Gold
Gold miners flocked to Scott Valley and had incredible success finding gold in the river, streams and gulches. The 60-mile long river has numerous tributaries and upstream at the headwaters proved exceedingly rich. The town of Callahan sprung up near the confluence of the East Fork Scott River and the South Fork Scott River about 30 miles upstream from Scott Bar and was named after M.B. Callahan who opened up a traveler's stop for miners moving through the area . This upstream region was saturated with gold.

Massive Yuba-style dredges were brought into this area near Callahan and operated at the headwaters of the Scott River between 1934 and 1950. The upstream gold mining and recovery activity provides a testament to the rich gold-laden gravels in the Scott River and within Scott Valley. The dredges processed gravels in the Scott River stream channel and excavated materials up to 60 feet below the river channel and flood plains. Their massive tailing piles can still be seen today while driving along Hwy 3 near Callahan. It's important to realize two things: (1) Equipment of this size isn't constructed and employed unless the gravels are exceedingly rich, and (2) this upstream mining activity in the Scott River Valley provides a look into where the rich gravels in the Scott River came from. The below map from 1913 shows the Dredging Districts in Northern California. The red circle represents the Scott River valley area and the small gold circle is the location of this mining claim. Major gold recovery operations surround these mining claims which is one reason why gold hunters covet this region and it's rare mining claims along the Scott River.

Dredge District map, 1913, Engineering & Mining Journal

Yuba style dredge, photo from Bureau of Mines and Minerals

Yuba style dredge, photo from Sacramento RegionalSan

Scott River Dredge History
There's quite a bit of documentation about the dredges that worked miles upstream from this collection. Here's a portion of what can be found if you research "Scott River dredge".

California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco
Bulletin No. 57, August 31, 1910
W.W Shannon, Lewis E. Aubury, State Mineralogists

Along the Klamath River and its important tributaries are large gravel deposits. Hydraulic mining has been most profitable, and formerly the gold from the gravel mines of Siskiyou County exceeded in value the annual output of all other gravel mines in California, but the gold yield from that source is now exceeded by a number of other counties. River-bed mining, by the use of wing-dams, has been carried more extensively than in any other county, and lately gold dredging has met with success. In 1910 there were two gold dredging companies operating elevator dredges in Siskiyou County, the Siskiyou Dredging Company and the Scott River Dredging Company.

Scott River Dredging Company. The Scott River Dredging Company began operations in August, 1908, and has an operating permit of one dredge. The company is incorporated under the laws of the State of Maine. The holdings of this company comprise an area of about 200 acres, located in parts of sections 7, 17, 20, and 21, township 40 north, range 8 west lying along Scott River at the town of Callahan. The property was prospected by means of drills averaging about one test hole per acre. The gravel averages in depth about 30 feet, and in character is a coarse wash, carrying little sand and no clay. The bedrock is irregular and consists of decomposed schist, causing some difficulty in dredging.

Scott River Dredge. The Scott River dredge was put in commission August 5, 1908, and was the first large close-connected-bucket elevator dredge to be built in Siskiyou County. During the first twelve months in operation it turned over 7.5 acres of ground and handled 354.961 cubic yards of gravel, while digging to an average depth of 30 feet. This dredge was built to dig 30 feet below the water-line, and is equipped with a double girder ladder, 85 feet 5 inches long, carrying 72 buckets, each weighing 2,300 pounds, and driven by a 125 hp motor. The hull is 110 feet long and 35 feet wide, and differs in construction from other dredge hulls in California in that it is 9 feet deep at the bow and 5 feet at the stern. The gold-saving tables are of the Holmes system, having a lineal area of about 110 feet and a riffle surface of 960 square feet. The revolving screen is of the Risdon type, and is 33 feet 6 inches long with a diameter of 6 feet, having a total screen area of about 360 square feet. The tailing stacker is Link-Belt Company make, 90 feet long between centers, carrying a 32-inch belt 200 feet long. The equipment of this dredge consists principally of Link-Belt Company machinery, some parts being Risdon make. The hull was constructed by the Western Engineering and Construction Company, who also installed the machinery. The dredge has a rated capacity of about 100 cubic yards per hour.

Siskiyou Dredging Company. The Siskiyou Dredging Company began operations February 16, 1910, with one large close-connected- bucket elevator dredge. This company was organized under the laws of the State of Maine, and is capitalized for $200,000. The holdings of this company comprise an area of about 255 acres, located at a point 5 miles north of Fort Jones, extending for a distance of about 2 I/2miles along McAdams Creek in sections 12 and 1, township 44 north, range 9 west, and in sections 6 and 31, townships 44 and 45 north, range 8 West. The property was prospected by means of drills and shafts, and of the total area 165 acres are considered proved dredging ground. The gravel lies on a decomposed slate bedrock, and averages in depth about 40 feet, and in character is a medium coarse, clean wash, carrying no clay.

Big Bar

Big Bar is a rare mining claim of significant size in a region highly noted for its phenomenal gold bearing rivers. The Scott River is regarded as one of the best rivers in California for gold prospecting and mining, and its history of gold-rich gravels makes this claim a very highly coveted reserve of gold recovery potential. This portion of the Scott River was never commercially dredged, and all the commercial dredging activity was miles upstream or downstream. The presence of those massive machines provides a testament to the richness of the gravels within the river. California is currently in the process of revising the dredging regulations and permitting process. The previous dredging regulations allowed dredging in this river 365 days a year with up to an 8" dredge. Legislation is currently underway to return dredging to California in 2019, and we are all very excited about getting back into the rivers.
Dredging on Big Bar will be quite exciting as there are endless stretches of deep pools, gravel bars and bedrock outcrops. The gold found by commercial dredges downstream of this claim at Hamburg and McConnell provide an example of what kind of gold is present in these gravels.

The gold found on this river upstream with the massive commercial dredges near Callahan prove that the gold found downstream passed directly through Big Bar and the other mining claims in this stretch of the river. In addition to dredging (when permitted again), this claim offers every other possible type of gold recovery ranging from high banking and sluicing to metal detecting and a fantastic sniping environment.
This is not a "one dimensional" mining claim by any means. All of the gravels in this region contain gold and some of it is of significant size. The gravels in the bar, benches and gulches have all coughed up exceptionally sized gorgeous Scott River gold nuggets, some of which were donated to the museum in Yreka and later moved to the County Courthouse. Those familiar with the gold found in Scott Valley will gladly tell you to search every bend, gulch, crack and bed.

The Scott River is like other large rivers in this region. The river typically runs hard from March through May as the snow in the mountains melts and the spring rains fall on the region. As a major tributary to the Klamath, the Scott River can move pretty hard during those months. However, come June and July the river is a gently flowing river with calm pools and fun rapids. The water is crystal clear and warm. Many locals love to enter the forest and cool off in the river during the hot summer months, making the river a perfect place for work and fun during the hot and lazy summer season.

The photos to the right show the Scott River running through the Big Bar mining claim during two different times of the year. One photo was taken in May during the annual (and typical) spring surge. California has been in a drought for the past few years, but even so the river still has more volume during spring months. These photos were taken in the same location, so expand the pictures and you can see how much larger the river is during the spring even during years of drought. The other photo was taken in August and shows how the river turns into a gentle, cool and relaxing playground during the summer months.

Access to the claim is gained by traveling on Scott River Road from Fort Jones towards Hamburg. Big Bar is just 20 miles or about 25 minutes or so from Fort Jones and just 5 miles from Scott Bar. The river is less than 150 feet from the road in most places and there are plenty of places to pull off and park, as can be seen in the photo to the left. Light vehicle traffic from Fort Jones to Scott Bar is typical during most months of the year and the Forest Service and Siskiyou County do an exceptional job of keeping the roads cleared of snow in the winter months and rocks during the summer months. Be sure to park your vehicle off the roadway to allow room for others to enjoy the gorgeous drive along the river.

Bridge Flat campground is less than 1.5 miles from Big Bar and offers a very convenient place to camp while mining on Big Bar. This National Forest Campground has a bathroom and a handful of riverside campsites (no electric or services), but no reservations are accepted so availability is based on a first-come basis. There are other campgrounds close by if Bridge Flat is full. If camping at the campground is not for you, you can find a spot directly on the mining claim for camping. Be sure to stop off at the Forest Service building in Fort Jones (right on Scott River Road) and obtain a campfire permit. This free permit is also required for propane stoves, so be sure to get one.
It doesn't take long to become extremely remote in this mountainous region of Northern California. Many mining claims in this rich region are deep within the National Forest or BLM lands and are many hours from services or cell phone signal. Being remote and many hours from civilization are great attributes if that is the desire, but being close to food, water, ice, gas and cell phone service can also be important characteristics. Big Bar is just the perfect mix of the two. It is remote enough to be alone in the forest, yet close enough to town so that trips for supplies don't consume an entire day. The town of Fort Jones (25 minutes away) offers a food store, gas station and convenience store, hardware store, and other small town amenities. Etna (40 minutes away) has a gas station, storage facility, food store, laundry mat, post office, a hardware store, and a couple other small businesses.

Yreka is the County Seat and is just 45 minutes from Big Bar. Yreka is a full blown town, with multiple major hotels, Wal-Mart, restaurants, drug stores and pharmacies, vehicle repair facilities, etc. Everything you could possibly need is found in Yreka, so at most, you are less than 45 minutes from all of these establishments. You may not have cell phone signal on the claim which is typical in this region, but once you head towards Fort Jones you quickly obtain a signal. Having cell reception close to your mining claim is another very rare occurrence in this region and one that is desired by most gold hunters who want to escape but still need to be in contact with the world back home.

July 2018: Added new claim signs along Scott River Road so that the claim's upstream and downsteam borders can be easily identified from the road. The top (upstream) boundary of the claim has a federal mining claim sign "Big Bar" with a green arrow that points downstream. The bottom (downstream) boundary of the claim is marked with federal mining claim sign "Big Bar" that has a red arrow pointing upstream. These signs mark the upper and lower boundaries of the claim. We also constructed a new Discovery Monument which (by law) must exist on the property and contain the location notice of the mining claim. Big Bar's Discovery Monument is on the other side of the river up above the flood plain. You can see this monument in the below pictures. It is a white capped pipe with an orange container attached to it which contains the claim's location notice.

Highly coveted mining claims are typically surrounded by documented history of major gold recovery operations. Big Bar is an exceptional federal mining claim in every aspect and measure and represents an asset that can be owned for life and one that can be passed down from generation to generation. The ability to find gold on a mining claim that you own is more than fun, it's a tangible asset with real value. Located in the heart of one of the richest regions in California, this section of river continues to be a well-known mecca for gold miners and prospectors. The river is locked down with Federal Mining Claims and has been for nearly 100 years. It is extremely rare for mining claims on this river to be offered to the public. Why are claims on the Scott River so valuable?

1. The ability to recover gold for profit (the definition & purpose of a federal mining claim).
2. This exact stretch of river is surrounded by historic gold recovery of incredible proportions.
3. Do your due diligence. Research Scott River gold and the surrounding area and you'll uncover the history.
4. Access: This claim is directly off Scott River Rd. No tromping through miles of trails and breaking brush.
5. Comfort: There are National Forest campgrounds within 1 mile of this claim (Bridge Flat Campground).
6. Support: Close proximity to all the comforts of home (and cell phone signal!).
7. Potential: This claim supports every aspect of gold recovery and dredging permits are coming soon!
8. Investment: The cheapest gold to own is the gold that is still in the ground. Own it for life, pass it down for generations.

You don't have to go out and rediscover gold. Look for gold where gold has already been found!

Big Bar
Federal unpatented mining claim

Federal Serial #: CAMC 302816
County Stamp: 20120003503
BLM Fees: Current through 1 Sept 2018
County Taxes: Paid through 2018 assessment period
County Tax Assessment #: 860-002-653-000
County Tax Bill: $36.00 annually

Terms: Purchase price of $12,000
Interest-free financing is available:
60% down payment ($7,200.00)
40% paid over 24 months ($200.00 p/month)
Dredging is limited to a 5" dredge until the claim is paid in full.

The Scott River has long been a favorite hot spot for gold hunters, prospectors and miners alike. For over 100 years gold has been recovered from the river, the gravel bars, benches, gulches and mountains surrounding this incredible waterway. Nationwide gold clubs revere this river as one of the best on the west coast. Mining claims along this stretch are rare, extremely valuable and highly coveted. Club websites such as the GPAA, LDMA and New 49'ers have additional information about their claims on the Scott River. This picture of Scott River gold (found with a metal detector) can be seen on the New 49'ers website ( regarding what their members have found on their club's Scott River claims. Here's a link to a neat video put out by the GPAA/LDMA about their club claim located nearby on the Scott River.

Dredging will return to California in 2019! Thank you AMRA!
See story at this link.