Metal Detecting in Iowa: A Complete Guide for 2022

You’ve come to the right place if you’re searching for a comprehensive guide to your next metal detecting adventure in Iowa.

Metal detecting is a hobby in which people hunt for valuable and rare metals such as gold and silver that may be sold for a profit using a metal detector. This hobby has a long history as a recreational activity. On the other hand, going on a treasure hunt while earning money is a relatively new alternative. Thanks to technical developments in metal detectors, detecting these rare metals has become a lot easier, as long as you know where to look.

Iowa is a popular destination for treasure hunters and metal detectorists. The weather is ideal for metal detecting, and the area is rich in diamonds and gold that have yet to be discovered. The state’s beaches, rivers, lakes, and streams make metal detecting more pleasurable. You never know what you’ll uncover on your journey: gems, money, Civil War artifacts, or even gold nuggets. However, you should do your research and get familiar with the local and federal regulations that govern metal detecting in Hawkeye State.

Metal detecting laws in Iowa

Even if we don’t want the government to interfere with our personal lives, historical landmarks on their territory must be preserved. As a result, metal detecting laws and regulations vary from one state to the next.

For state-owned institutions in Iowa, metal detecting criteria and prohibitions have been created. On federal land, however, metal detecting is regulated by the Archeological Resources Preservation Act or ARPA.

Metal detecting restrictions imposed by ARPA or state legislation only apply to public or federal land. However, metal detecting is permitted on private property only with the express permission of the owner or lessee.

Metal detecting rules in Iowa are pretty straightforward. Make sure you’re not metal detecting in any of Iowa’s historically significant locations. Metal detecting and earth-digging are prohibited on any historical site. As a result, while digging native mounds, burial sites, or earthworks, use care.

Furthermore, it is prohibited in Iowa to use metal detectors on Trust’s land without consent. Additionally, the use of metal detectors on the Iowa state fairgrounds is also prohibited at all times unless you have express written permission from the concerned authority.

Don’t dig up anything that appears like an artifact or is more than 100 years old if you’re metal detecting in Iowa on a state or federal territory. If you locate and collect a historical relic, notify officials so they can properly care for it. In Iowa National Parks, metal detecting is also forbidden unless prior permission has been provided. Metal detecting, on the other hand, is permitted in Iowa’s public parks as a leisure pastime. You could be granted permission to metal detect at designated historical places, but it’s rare.

Overall, it’s vital to understand and follow the rules when metal detecting in Iowa. Breaking these rules will result in severe penalties, including fines or, in the worst-case scenario, jail time. Check with local, county, and state officials if you’re searching for a new location in Iowa to be sure you’re meeting all of the standards.

Related: Dumpster Diving in Iowa: A Comprehensive Guide

Is it legal to metal detect in Iowa?

In Iowa, metal detecting is legal. Laws, on the other hand, establish boundaries. Metal detecting without a permit is prohibited on historic sites, state parks, and federal areas in Iowa, as previously indicated. As a result, metal detecting on public lands in Iowa may necessitate a permit. Permits can be requested over the phone or online. To receive one, please contact your local park and recreation office. It is reasonably priced, with a single unit costing around $10.

You’ll be OK if you exercise common sense and just look for jewelry, money, and gold nuggets on public ground. Before metal detecting in a historically significant site, seek assistance from the local county office.

Can you metal detect on BLM Land in Iowa?

The same regulations apply to metal detecting on BLM land as they do on all other Iowa public properties. On BLM land in Iowa, metal detecting is permitted, but you must be cautious not to harm or expose any relics. Remember that, according to ARPA, the government has the authority to take any “archaeological valuables” uncovered on BLM land. Archaeological resources are tangible objects from human life or activities with archaeological importance and are at least 100 years old.

Where can you metal detect in Iowa?

Despite the fact that many traditional metal-detecting locations have been forbidden in Iowa, there are still a handful of outstanding metal-detecting locations in the state.

If you’re from Iowa, one of the first places you should go metal detecting in the state is your hometown. Knowing the history of the area will not only save you time but will also help you locate the incredible gems. Where you metal detect and the history of the place determine what you find and how valuable it is. On average, metal detecting based on historical research will yield better results than detecting in random sites.

Some of the best places you can go for metal detecting in Iowa are:

  1. Abandoned Buildings and Structures
  2. Abandoned Parks and Mines
  3. Old wagon train routes and Ghost Towns
  4. Native American Trails
  5. Natural Disaster Destruction Sites
  6. Iowa Beaches, Rivers, Lakes, and Creeks
  7. School yards and Old Churches
  8. Civil war sites

Is there any buried treasure in Iowa?

Iowa is a beautiful state with gorgeous beauty, as well as a deep and famous history. Iowa is said to be home to a considerable amount of buried treasure from the Civil War era. Confederate gold and silver coins are said to be buried beneath Iowa soil to prevent the Union Army from collecting them. Some are still out there waiting to be discovered! Despite the fact that many of these stories are unfounded, treasure hunters and metal detectorists are optimistic that they will eventually find it.

The Indian Chief Buried TreasureThe Indian Chief Black Hawk is said to have hidden $50,000 in gold coins in the hills near Denmark, Iowa.
The Elk River RuinsDuring the mid-nineteenth century, the Elk River Ruins were utilized as a shelter for criminals. They are almost on the outskirts of the town.
Jessie James Cached GoldOn a property near Weston, the bandit Jessie James stashed around $50,000 in gold coins.
Fort Atkinson Buried TreasureDuring an Indian invasion, an Army paymaster allegedly buried nearly $7,000 in gold coins. The treasure is said to be at Fort Atkinson, Iowa, which is near Decorah. Before he could tell anyone where he buried the wealth, the paymaster was slain.

Metal detecting in Iowa Rivers

Iowa is home to several rivers, lakes, and streams, as well as rugged mountains and historic sites. Because there are so many rivers, creeks, and streams, it’s an excellent spot to go metal detecting. When detecting in rivers and streams, make sure you have enough waterproof metal detectors. The following are some of Iowa’s top metal detecting rivers:

  1. Boone River, Hamilton, and Webster
  2. Yellow River, Allamakee
  3. Upper Iowa River, Winneshiek, and Allamakee
  4. Middle Raccoon River, Gutherie, and Dallas
  5. Cedar River, Louisa, Muscatine

Metal detecting in Ghost Towns of Iowa

The Iowa landscape is littered with hundreds of abandoned villages. These are the towns where mining used to be done, but people left as the ore ran out. For various causes, people have fled to a variety of historic cities.

All of the villages and towns in Iowa’s ghost towns have been abandoned. These Iowa communities have a long and illustrious history. Metal detecting in Iowa’s ghost towns may also necessitate municipal approval. After determining if you require a permit and obtaining one, Iowa’s ghost towns will quickly become one of your favorite metal detecting places.

These deserted villages might have historical treasures. Coins, fine jewelry, and other valuables abound in these Iowa ghost towns.

Some of the popular ghost towns in Iowa for metal detecting are:

  1. Floyds Bluff City, Woodbury
  2. Zenorsville, Boone
  3. Bloomington, Story
  4. Edinburgh, Jones
  5. Seven Ponds, Kossuth

Metal detecting clubs in Iowa

Metal detecting is one of my favorite pastimes since it allows me to reconnect with old friends while also creating new ones. I definitely recommend joining a metal detecting group in Iowa if you want to meet new people and go on a metal detecting trip with them.

Metal detecting has been increasingly popular in recent years, with clubs cropping up all across the United States. Members of the club are involved and supportive of one another. Once a month, these groups meet together to show off their discoveries, plan their next expedition, and discuss how to assess the variety and value of their finds.

Metal detecting groups might be a great way to find out about new treasure-hunting spots. If you’re a newbie, setting up your metal detector for a specific location might be difficult. As a result, joining a metal detecting club is a fantastic way to deal with this problem.

There are several wonderful metal detecting organizations in Iowa. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned hunter, metal detecting organizations in Iowa can help you improve your skills.

Metal detecting clubs are not required to have an internet presence. As a consequence, you may join Facebook groups to network with other Iowa metal detectorists and share your knowledge.

Some of the best Metal detecting clubs in Iowa are:

  1. Cedar Valley Research & Recovery, Marion
  2. Siouxland Metal Detecting and Archeology Club, Sioux City
  3. Nebraska Adventurers, Council Bluffs
  4. Illinois & Iowa Treasure Hunting Club, Davenport

Similarly, some of the most popular Metal Detecting Facebook groups in Iowa are:

  1. IA Metal Detecting
  2. Central Iowa Metal Detectives
  3. Metal Detecting Group for IA residents
  4. Metal Detecting Finds and Advice

Final Thoughts

In general, metal detecting in Iowa is a fantastic experience. This is a fantastic activity because of the natural beauty, history, weather, and flexible guidelines. Make sure you’re familiar with the state’s requirements before going metal detecting in public in Iowa. Also, if you’re on private land, be sure you first acquire permission from the owner; otherwise, you might be charged with trespassing.