Metal Detecting in Minnesota: A Complete Guide for 2022

If you are looking for a guide for your next metal detecting quest in Minnesota, you’ve come to the right spot.

Metal detecting is one of the profitable hobbies where you detect precious metals like gold and silver and sell them for a profit. Even though metal detecting has been around for a long time, it was recently when it got a lot of traction as a money-making side hustle. Furthermore, the thrill of detecting and digging up something from the soil that has been buried for hundreds of years is a fun way to explore and exercise while making money on the side.

Minnesota is one of the best states when it comes to treasure hunting and metal detecting. The weather is great for metal detecting and the land is rich in gold and hidden treasures. The experience is so thrilling and you never know whether you find jewelry, coins, civil war artifacts, or even gold.

However, it is important to do your due diligence and understand the state and federal laws regarding metal detecting in The North Star State.

Metal detecting laws in Minnesota

As much as we like our hobbies to not get regulated by the government, the government has an obligation to preserve the historical artifacts found in their soil. This is the reason every other state has its own set of rules and regulations regarding metal detecting in public lands.

The metal detecting laws and regulations in Minnesota are regulated by the state itself. However, there is also a Federal Law named Archeological Resources Preservation Act, or ARPA which regulates the metal detecting activities on Federal Lands.

Keep in mind, that ARPA or state laws regarding metal detecting only apply to public or federal properties. In the case of private properties, it is completely legal to metal detect with the written permission of the land owner or lessee.

Metal detecting laws in Minnesota are really straightforward. You just need to remember not to metal detect on any of the historical grounds in Minnesota. This means metal detecting on any public lands with a significant history associated with it is strictly prohibited. Therefore, think twice before performing any excavation works into aboriginal mounds, burial sites, or earthworks.

Also bear in mind, that metal detecting on Trust’s land is also illegal in Minnesota without the authorized permit.

If you’re metal detecting in Minnesota and you’re on state or federal land, don’t dig anything you think is an artifact or anything older than 100 years. If you dug and recovered a historical artifact, always let the officials know so they can take care of the artifact. Furthermore, metal detecting in State Parks is also illegal in Minnesota without an authorized permit. Sometimes you may get lucky and receive permission to detect metal in these places but it is very rare.

All in all, it is crucial to understand the laws and follow them while metal detecting in Minnesota. Breaking these laws will have serious repercussions including fines or at worst jail time. Therefore, if you are planning to detect in the new location in Minnesota, contacting the city, county, and state officials to ensure you’re following all pertinent laws is a good idea.

Related: Dumpster Diving in Minnesota: A Comprehensive Guide

Is it legal to metal detect in Minnesota?

Yes, it is completely legal to metal detect in Minnesota. However, there are limitations to the legalities. As mentioned earlier, it is illegal to go metal detecting in historic lands, state parks, and federal lands of Minnesota without the permission of the concerned authority. If you use common sense and just detect on lands for jewelry, coins, and gold nuggets, you’ll be alright. But if you want to go to historic sites to metal detect, it’s always wise to call up the local county office and ask them about the laws and limitations.

Where can you metal detect in Minnesota?

Even though the laws of Minnesota have prohibited some of the historic metal detecting spots in the state, there is no shortage of other great places you can go for metal detecting.

If you are a local to Minnesota, one of the first places to go for metal detecting in Minnesota is your hometown. Understanding the history of the location will not only save you time but also give you a chance to hunt for great treasure. The places you choose to metal detect and the history of the place will define what you’ll find and how much value it holds. All in all, metal detecting with historical research will yield better returns compared to detecting on random lands.

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

  1. Abandoned Buildings and Structures
  2. Abandoned Parks
  3. Old churches
  4. Southern Minnesota Farms
  5. Natural Disaster Destruction Sites
  6. Minnesota Beaches, Rivers, Lakes, and Creeks
  7. School yards
  8. Ghost towns

Is there any buried treasure in Minnesota?

Minnesota is not only a lovely state with breathtaking scenery, but it also has a long and illustrious history. Minnesota is home to a significant amount of buried treasure dating back to the 1800s. There are still some out there waiting to be found! Despite the fact that many of these claims lack proof, treasure seekers and metal detectorists are confident that they will find it one day.

Some of the most common stories on buried or lost treasures in Minnesota are:

Buried Civil War TreasureAn enormous amount of gold is said to be buried on property previously owned by William J Colvill. Nobody knows the exact location of the property, but it is supposed to be in Grand Marais, Minnesota overlooking Lake Superior.
Wadena Buried GoldA large number of gold and silver coins are said to be buried in the woods situated west of Wadena, Minnesota.
James-Younger Gang Buried TreasureAround $60,000 worth of gold is said to be buried near the Pipestone County close to what is now Pipestone National Monument.
Old Sherburne’s Buried TreasureUp to $40,000 in gold coins are said to be buried in a glacial deposit mound in Blue Hill Township of Sherburne County, Minnesota.
Charles Ney’s Lost FortuneAn enormous amount of gold and silver coins is said to be lost somewhere in Henderson, Minnesota.

Metal detecting on Minnesota Beaches

The state of Minnesota has 44,926 miles of shoreline, all of which is lakeshore. Metal detecting is ideal for recovering lost jewelry and cash on these Minnesota lakefront beaches. As a result, you’ll see a lot of metal detectorists going to Minnesota beaches in the evening for their metal detecting adventure.

Metal detecting is lawful on public Minnesota beaches as of the time of writing. However, if you discover anything of archaeological significance, the state of Minnesota has the authority to seize it.

Some of the most famous beaches to go for metal detecting in Minnesota are:

  1. Park Point Beach (Duluth, Minnesota)
  2. Lake Harriet South Beach (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
  3. Square Lake Park Beach (Stillwater, Minnesota)
  4. Bde Maka Ska 32nd Street Beach (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
  5. Fort Snelling State Park Beach (Saint Paul, Minnesota)

Metal detecting in Minnesota Rivers

Minnesota is not only rich in lakeside shoreline but also in rivers and creeks. It has numerous rivers, creeks, and streams which is a great place to go metal detecting. Make sure you have proper waterproof metal detectors while detecting in rivers and streams. Some of the best rivers and creeks to metal detect in Minnesota are:

  1. Ash River, St. Louis County
  2. Black River, Koochiching County
  3. Brule River, Cook County
  4. Caldwell Brook, Koochiching County
  5. Crow Wing River, Morrison County
  6. Manitou River, Lake County

Metal detecting in Ghost Towns of Minnesota

Minnesota is home to hundreds of ghost towns. These are the towns where mining was done in the past and the inhabitants just abandoned it when the ore was exhausted. There are also other numerous old cities where the resident left for a variety of other reasons.

All in all, all these small and abandoned towns and cities are considered ghost towns in Minnesota. These towns add another layer to Minnesota’s rich history. Bear in mind, that metal detecting in ghost towns of Minnesota may require permission from the local authorities. Once you figure out whether you need a permit and get one if needed, ghost towns in Minnesota will surely be one of your favorite places to go metal detecting.

You may find various historical artifacts in these ghost towns. Furthermore, finding a coin spill, fine jewelry, or other expensive items in these ghost towns of Minnesota is not unusual.

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

  1. Forestville, Filmore County
  2. Nelson, Douglas County
  3. Fairwater, Winona County
  4. New Prarie – 3
  5. Taconite Harbor, Cook County

Metal detecting clubs in Minnesota

Metal detecting is one of my favorite hobbies because it is a great way to connect with friends and make new friends along the way. If you want to meet new friends and go for a metal detecting adventure together, I will highly recommend joining a metal detecting club in Minnesota.

As the metal detecting hobby has garnered so much interest in the recent years, various communities have come up with an idea of Metal detecting clubs. The club’s members are active and supportive of one another. Once a month, these clubs hold a meeting when members show off their treasures, as well as decide and discuss which regions to explore next and how to determine the variety and value of their finds.

Metal detecting clubs can offer you a lot of great information and help you find places to detect. As a beginner, you are likely to have issues tuning your metal detector for a specific area. Joining metal detecting clubs is a nice solution to this issue. 

Minnesota does not have any shortage of great metal detecting clubs. Whether you are a beginner or a veteran metal detectorist, metal detecting clubs in Minnesota can help you enhance your skills.

Metal detecting clubs do not have to be online. Facebook groups are a great way to connect with fellow Minnesota Metal Detectorists and share your knowledge and skills. 

Some of the best Metal detecting clubs in Minnesota are:

  1.  Minnkota Artifact Recovery Group (Moorhead, St. cloud, Minnesota)
  2. Zumbro Valley Treasure Hunters (Rochester, Minnesota)
  3. Gopher State Treasure Hunters (St. Paul, Minnesota)

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

  1. Minnesota Group
  2. Minnesota Detecting Group
  3. Abandoned : Minnesota

Final Thoughts

Overall, Minnesota is an excellent state to satisfy your metal detecting needs. Minnesota’s natural beauty, history, weather, and relaxed laws make this a very delightful hobby. Just make sure you’re familiar with Minnesota’s metal detecting regulations before attempting it in public. If you’re on private property, be sure you obtain the landowner’s permission first, otherwise you could face trespassing charges.