Plan Your Visit

close up of gold in a gold pan

Reed Gold Mine is the 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 over 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.

COVID-19 Site Update:

Due to the latest Executive Order update from Governor Cooper, all visitors to Reed Gold Mine after June 26, 2020 must bring and wear a face covering while touring the property.  Phase 3.5 restrictions, as listed below, are now currently in effect:     

Reed Gold Mine will welcome visitors back into our Visitor Center and historic structures beginning on September 12th, with some new procedures in place to help ensure the safety of staff and visitors.

New procedures include:

  • Limiting visitors to 50% of occupancy, to allow a comfortable visit to the Visitor Center and historic structures.
  • Requiring cloth masks to enter the Visitor Center and historic structures, as outlined in Executive Order 163.
  • All exhibits in the Visitor Center will be open.
  • Installing hand sanitizer stations and increasing the frequency of cleaning high touch public areas and restrooms.
  • Installing protective barriers at sales counters and information desks.
  • Interactive exhibit features will be paused or modified.

Visitors are expected to follow the “Three W’s” as outlined by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services – WEAR a cloth mask over your nose and mouth, WAIT in line at least six feet away from others, and WASH your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. If you are experiencing symptoms of illness, we ask that you postpone your visit.

We look forward to seeing you soon!!

Hours and Location

Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday, Monday, and most major holidays

9621 Reed Mine Rd.
Midland, N.C. 28107

Admission 

There is no general admission to the site.  The underground mine is open for self-guided tours only from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm Tuesday - Saturday. A special tour pamphlet is available in the visitor center. 

Gold Panning

Gold Panning is available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday only between April 1 through October 31, weather permitting, with a charge of $3.00 per pan (plus tax) for individuals and $2.00 per pan (plus tax) for groups of 20 or more that make reservations a month in advance. Panning is not available November 1 through March 31. Instructors are available to assist those with limited or no experience in gold panning.

For the 2021 season, gold panning will have to follow current North Carolina COVID restrictions. This includes wearing masks at all times and maintaining a 6 foot distance between visitors not in the same family or household. A maximum of 2 tickets per visitor 8 and older are allowed per panning session. These panning restrictions may be revised through the 2021 season pending changes to COVID restrictions. 

Individual panning "stations" numbered 1-10 will be marked along each of the 3 troughs. These 10 stations, spread around the 3 troughs, allow a maximum of 4 family members at each station, for a potential total of 40 panners during each timed session. If a single non-family visitor purchases a ticket, then they will occupy a station by themselves. Tickets will be assigned a station number when purchased to ensure stations will be properly assigned. These stations are at least 7 feet apart, and all visitors must remain in their section during the entire session.

There are 7 panning sessions through the day, each lasting 30 minutes. After each session, the panning area will be cleaned per COVID guidelines to minimize exposure to staff and visitors. The session times are 9:15 am, 10:15 am, 11:15 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm. Tickets are only available at the site gift shop counter, first come, first served. Reservations cannot be accepted in advance, and session times will be sold and filled in order throughout the day. 

Group Reservations

Facilities

Historic Structures
The restored underground tunnels date to the 1830s. The reconstructed stamp mill represents machinery of the 1890s. It is operational and demonstrated daily from April through October.
Visitor Center
The visitor center features exhibits on gold, the geology of gold, mining technology, and equipment. An orientation film describes North Carolina’s gold mining industry. A library features materials on gold mining and Reed family genealogy.
Trails, Monuments, Outdoor Exhibits
Reed has several trails (approximately 3 miles total) which cross lode and placer mining areas and archaeological sites.  These trails take visitors to Upper Hill where the chimney and restored foundations of the 1854 mill house can be seen as well as Lower Hill, with a long boardwalk view of Little Meadow Creek. Trail maps are available in the visitor center. 
Handicapped Accessibility
The visitor center, panning area, and restrooms are accessible. The underground tour is on a level gravel surface with the exception of a series of steps at the end. Visitors with mobility impairment may elect to return from the tour using the level entrance. ADA accessible trails are available for visitors to visit the stamp mill and Lower Hill area. 
Picnic Facilities
A shaded picnic area is located beside the main parking lot for the use of visitors and scheduled groups. 
Gift Shop
A small gift shop features souvenirs related to gold, mining, and jewelry. Drink vending machines are located at the visitor center.

Programs, Group Activities

Special events are held throughout the year. Panning for gold is offered from April 1 through October 31 (weather permitting) for a small fee.