Metal Detecting in New Mexico: A Complete Guide for 2022

If you’re seeking information on how to get started metal detecting in New Mexico, you’ve come to the right place.

Metal detecting is a hobby in which people seek valuable and rare metals such as gold and silver with a metal detector, which are then sold for profit. This hobby has been around for a long time as a recreational activity. On the other hand, going on a treasure hunt while earning money is a relatively new alternative. Because of technological breakthroughs in metal detectors, detecting these rare metals has become a lot easier, as long as you know where to look.

New Mexico is one of the best spots to go treasure hunting and metal detecting. The weather is great for metal detecting, and the area is rich in undiscovered gems and gold. Metal detecting is made more enjoyable by the state’s beaches, rivers, lakes, and streams. On your adventure, you never know what you’ll find: gems, money, Civil War relics, or even gold nuggets. You should, however, do your research and understand the state and federal laws that regulate metal detecting in The Land of Enchantment.

Metal detecting laws in New Mexico

Even if we’d like the government to stay out of our hobbies, they still have a responsibility to preserve historical sites on their land. As a result, metal detecting rules and prohibitions on public lands differ by state.

The state of New Mexico sets the rules and regulations for metal detecting. ARPA, or the Archeological Resources Preservation Act, is a federal law that governs metal detecting on federal land.

Keep in mind that metal detecting is only permissible on public or federal land under ARPA or state legislation. Metal detecting is only authorized on private property with the owner’s or lessee’s express authorization.

Metal detecting rules in New Mexico are rather straightforward. Just keep an eye out for any historical sites in New Mexico. Metal detecting is therefore prohibited on all historical public lands. As a result, exercise caution when excavating native mounds, burial sites, or earthworks.

Keep in mind that metal detecting on Trust’s property is illegal in New Mexico without a permit.

If you’re metal detecting in New Mexico on a state or federal land, don’t dig anything you think is an artifact or anything older than 100 years. If you locate and recover a historical relic, always tell officials so they can properly care for it. Metal detecting is also forbidden in New Mexico State Parks without a valid permit. It’s possible that you’ll be granted permission to detect metal in these locations by chance, but it’s highly improbable.

Overall, it is vital to understand and follow the rules when metal detecting in New Mexico. Breaking these rules will result in severe penalties, including fines or, in the worst-case scenario, jail time. If you want to choose a new location in New Mexico, you should talk to the local, county, and state officials to be sure you’re following all the rules.

Related: Dumpster Diving in New Mexico: A Comprehensive Guide

Is it legal to metal detect in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, metal detecting is completely lawful. However, the legalities have limitations. Without authorization from the relevant authorities, metal detecting is forbidden on historic sites, state parks, and federal land in New Mexico. If you use common sense and only seek jewelry, money, and gold nuggets on public grounds, you’ll be alright. If you wish to metal detect at a historic site, contact the local county office and ask about the rules.

Where can you metal detect in New Mexico?

Despite the fact that New Mexico’s restrictions have made several traditional metal detecting areas unlawful, the state still has a lot of great metal detecting locales.

If you live in New Mexico, your hometown is one of the first places you should go metal detecting. Knowing the history of the area will not only save you time but will also allow you to look for incredible riches. What you unearth and how valuable it is will be determined by the sites you pick to metal detect, as well as the history of the location. Overall, metal detecting with historical studies will yield better results than detecting in random areas.

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

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

Is there any buried treasure in New Mexico?

New Mexico is a beautiful state with a long and illustrious history. New Mexico contains a significant amount of hidden riches dating from the 1800s. Pirate loot, revolutionary army stocks, and personal buried fortunes are all examples of hidden treasure. A few spots are still available! Despite the fact that many of these claims are incorrect, treasure hunters and metal detectorists remain optimistic that the treasure will be found shortly.

Some of the most prevalent anecdotes in New Mexico involving concealed or missing valuables are as follows:

The Aztec Lost TreasureThis infamous treasure is located in the Ute Mountains, about one mile west of Aztec. A sandstone window rock somewhere in this vicinity contains $50,000 in gold coins.
The San Juan River HordeA rock shelter along this river on a canyon tributary houses $60,000 in gold bullion. Outlaws had hidden it there. The exact location is unknown.
The Lost Frenchman Gold MineThis lost mine is supposedly located near Truchas Peak, in the Nacimiento Mts. The exact location is unknown.
Shiprock Peak Buried TreasureThis Peak is located 5 miles west of Shiprock. A gold prospector buried $60,000 in gold coins in a cave on Shiprock Peak. The treasure is still not discovered.

Metal detecting on New Mexico Beaches

Despite the fact that New Mexico is a landlocked state with no ocean coastline, the Great Lakes provide lovely shorelines and beaches. On New Mexico beaches, metal detecting is perfect for recovering lost jewelry and currency. As a result, many more metal detectorists will go to New Mexico beaches late at night to get their fix.

As of this writing, metal detecting is permitted on public New Mexico beaches. The state of New Mexico, on the other hand, has the ability to remove any archaeologically significant material you find.

The following are some of New Mexico’s most well-known metal detecting beaches:

  1. Cochiti Lake Beach, Pena Blanca
  2. Elephant Butte Lake State Park and Reservoir Beach Beach, Elephant Butte
  3. Lea Lake Beach, Roswell
  4. Navajo Lake State Park Beach, Navajo Dam
  5. Park Lake Beach, Santa Rosa

Metal detecting in New Mexico Rivers

New Mexico is not only rich in culture and heritage but also in natural landscapes like 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 to metal detect in New Mexico are:

  1. Cas Creek (Rio Arriba County)
  2. Costilla Creek (Taos County)
  3. Gallinas Creek (San Miguel County)
  4. Rio Guadalupe (Sandoval County)
  5. San Francisco River (Catron County)

Metal detecting in Ghost Towns of New Mexico

Hundreds of ghost towns can be found throughout New Mexico. These are the towns where mining used to be done and the residents simply abandoned it when the ore ran out. There are countless other old cities where residents have left for a variety of reasons.

In New Mexico, all of these small, abandoned villages and communities are designated ghost towns. New Mexico’s rich history is enhanced by these places. Keep in mind that metal detecting in New Mexico’s ghost towns may require permission from the local government. Ghost towns in New Mexico will undoubtedly become one of your favorite spots to go metal detecting once you determine whether you require a permit and obtain one if necessary.

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

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

  1. Agua Negra, Mora County
  2. Alcatraz, San Juan County
  3. Fort Webster, Grant County
  4. Pleasant Valley, Roosevelt County
  5. San Augustine, Dona Ana County

Metal detecting clubs in New Mexico

One of my favorite activities is metal detecting since it allows me to reconnect with old acquaintances while also creating new ones. If you want to meet new people and go on a metal detecting trip with them, I highly recommend joining a metal detecting group in New Mexico.

Metal detecting has grown in popularity in recent years, with clubs springing up all over the country. The club’s members are active and supportive of one another. These groups get together once a month to show off their treasures, plan their next expedition, and talk about how to determine the variety and value of their finds.

Metal detecting clubs may be a valuable source of information as well as new locations to look for treasure. If you’re a beginner, you’ll undoubtedly have problems setting up your metal detector for a specific location. A smart approach to cope with this problem is to join a metal detecting club.

In New Mexico, there are several fantastic metal detecting clubs. Metal detecting organizations in New Mexico can help you improve your skills whether you’re a novice or a seasoned hunter.

It is not necessary for metal detecting groups to have an online presence. Meet other New Mexico metal detectorists and share your expertise and talents by joining Facebook groups.

Some of the best Metal detecting clubs in New Mexico are:

  1. New Mexico Treasure Hunters Association, Albuquerque
  2. Pecos Valley Treasure Hunters, Roswell
  3. Valencia County Metal Detector Club, Belen

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

  1. Metal Detecting Group NM
  2. Metal Detector Finds and Sales
  3. Metal Detecting Advice Group

Final Thoughts

Overall, New Mexico is an excellent spot to satisfy your metal detecting needs. Nature, history, weather, and permissive legislation all contribute to the enjoyment of this hobby in New Mexico. Just make sure you’re familiar with New Mexico’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.