Site of the first documented gold find in the United States. From this discovery, gold mining spread gradually to nearby counties and eventually into other southern states. During its peak years gold mining was second only to farming in the number of North Carolinians it employed. The estimated value of gold recovered reached more than one million dollars a year. North Carolina led the nation in gold production until 1848, when it was eclipsed by the great rush to California.
Today, portions of the underground tunnels at the Reed mine have been restored for guided tours. A visitor center contains exhibits of gold and historical mining equipment. An orientation film highlights the first gold discovery, and tours of a restored ore-crushing stamp mill are offered. A picnic area is available, and you can try your hand at gold-panning. Trails wind through the historic mining area, too.