Metal Detecting in Washington: An Ultimate Guide for 2022

You’ve come to the right place if you’re searching for a complete guide to your next metal detecting trip in Washington.

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.

Washington attracts a large number of treasure hunters and metal detectorists. The weather is ideal for metal detecting, and the area is rich with previously unknown diamonds and gold. 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 study and get familiar with the local and federal metal detecting regulations in The Evergreen State.

Metal detecting laws in Washington

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

For state-owned institutions in Washington, metal detecting criteria and prohibitions have been developed. Metal detecting on federal property is governed by the Archeological Resources Preservation Act or ARPA.

Metal detecting bans established by ARPA or state law, on the other hand, are limited to the public and federal territory. Furthermore, metal detecting is only permitted on private land with the express permission of the owner or lessee.

Metal detecting rules in Washington are rather straightforward. Make certain you’re not metal detecting in any historically significant Washington regions. 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 Washington to use metal detectors on Trust’s property without consent. Furthermore, all historic and prehistoric sites in the Forest Preserves are owned by the State of Washington, and they may not be demolished without authorization. Metal detecting is not permitted without a legal permit.

If you’re metal detecting in Washington on a state or federal land, don’t dig up anything that looks like an artifact or is more than 100 years old. Notify officials if you find and gather a historical artifact so they can properly care for it. Metal detecting is likewise prohibited in Washington National Parks unless previous authorization has been granted. Metal detecting, on the other hand, is authorized as a recreational activity in Washington’s public parks. It’s possible that you’ll be permitted to metal detect at designated historical places, although this is uncommon.

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

Related: Dumpster Diving in Washington: A Comprehensive Guide

Is it legal to metal detect in Washington?

In Washington, 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 Washington, as previously indicated. As a result, metal detecting on public lands in Washington may be subject to a permit. Permits are available over the phone and on the internet. 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 area, check with the local county office.

Can you metal detect on BLM Land in Washington?

Metal detecting on BLM land is subject to the same laws as it is on all other Washington public properties. Metal detecting is allowed on BLM land in Washington, but you must be careful not to harm or expose any artifacts. Remember that the government has the ability, according to ARPA, to seize any “archaeological valuables” discovered on BLM territory. Archaeological resources are tangible artifacts from human life or activities that are at least 100 years old and have archaeological value.

Where can you metal detect in Washington?

Despite the prohibition of many traditional metal-detecting areas in Washington, the state still boasts a few fantastic metal-detecting spots.

If you live in Washington, one of the first places you should go metal detecting is your hometown. Not only can knowing the history of the place save you time, but it will also help you uncover the fantastic gems. Where you metal detect and the history of the region 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 Washington are:

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

Is there any buried treasure in Washington?

Washington is a lovely state with lovely scenery and fascinating history. Washington is rumored to have a plethora of Civil War-era buried riches. To prevent the Union Army from collecting Confederate gold and silver coins, they are claimed to be buried beneath Washington soil. Some are hiding in the shadows, waiting to be found! Despite the fact that many of these claims are false, treasure hunters and metal detectorists remain optimistic that they will be discovered soon.

Discovery Bay Buried PayrollThe $80,000 British payroll seized during the Revolutionary War is said to be buried on the shores of Discovery Bay. The bay is situated near Port Townsend, off route 20.
The Harry Sutton Buried TreasureSaloon owner Harry Sutton buried $11,000 in gold coins in the Hammond Orchard in Port Townsend in 1870.
The Chevy Chase Inn TreasureThe Canadian Pacific Railroad was robbed in 1864, and $60,000 in British gold sovereigns was stolen. After that, the gold was buried on the grounds of the former Chevy Chase Inn. The Inn was situated on Port Discovery Bay, in the Straits of Juan de Fuca.
The Captain Scarborough Treasure ChestThere is a buried treasure of gold coins worth roughly $130,000 somewhere along the banks of the Columbia River, along route 101, on the now-defunct Fort Columbia Military Reservation. Captain James Scarborough, a rich merchant, hid the gold money in a barrel in 1852.

Metal detecting in Washington Rivers and Creeks

There are several rivers, lakes, and streams throughout Washington, as well as severe mountains and historic locations. It’s a great place to do metal detecting because there are so many rivers, creeks, and streams. Make sure you have adequate waterproof metal detectors while detecting in rivers and streams. The following are a few of Washington’s best metal detecting rivers:

  1. American River, Yakima
  2. Baker River, Whatcom
  3. Baker River, Whatcom
  4. Buck Creek, Skagit & Snohomish
  5. Calawah River, South Fork, Clallam

Metal detecting in Ghost Towns of Washington

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

Historical relics may be found in these abandoned villages. Coins, fine jewelry, and other valuables abound in these Washington ghost towns.

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

  1. Carlsborg, Clallam
  2. Blue Canyon, Whatcom
  3. Hesseltine, Lincoln
  4. Port Blakely, Kitsap
  5. Roche Harbor, San Juan

Metal detecting clubs in Washington

One of my favorite activities is metal detecting since it allows me to reconnect with old acquaintances while also making 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 club in Washington.

Metal detecting has grown in popularity in recent years, with clubs springing up all across the country. The club’s members are active and supportive of one another. These groups come together once a month to show off their treasures, plan their next trip, and talk about how to evaluate the diversity and worth 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 various wonderful metal detecting organizations in Washington. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned hunter, metal detecting organizations in Washington 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 Washington metal detectorists and share your knowledge.

Some of the best Metal detecting clubs in Washington are:

  1. Metal Detecting Association Of WA
  2. Cascade Treasure Club, Auburn
  3.  Hood Canal Detectorist Club, Belfair
  4. Olympic Peninsula Treasure Hunter’s Club, Bremerton

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

  1. Western WA Metal Detecting Group
  2. Metal Detecting WA
  3. Metal Detecting Finds and Advice
  4. Today’s Metal Detecting Finds

Final Thoughts

All in all, Washington is a great place to quench your metal detecting thirst. The nature, history, weather, and lenient laws make this hobby really enjoyable in Washington. Just make sure you understand the metal detecting laws in Washington before attempting it in public places. In the case of private properties make sure to have the permission of the landowner, or else you may be charged with trespassing.