In 1779, 12-year-old Conrad Reed discovered a 17-pound gold nugget in Little Meadow Creek. Today, visitors can explore the site of the first documented discovery of gold in the United States!

Start your journey of this State Historic Site at the Visitor Center where exhibits showcase gold and historical mining equipment, and the orientation film describes North Carolina’s gold mining industry. Then, tour restored portions of the underground mine tunnels during a guided tour including the restored ore-crushing stamp mill. Enjoy walking trails and the picnic area, and be sure to try your hand at panning for gold!

From this discovery, gold mining spread gradually to nearby counties and eventually into other southern states. North Carolina led the nation in gold production until 1848, when it was eclipsed by the great rush to California.