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:
- Face coverings are OPTIONAL to enter any buildings or the underground mine. Face coverings are ENCOURAGED for visitors who are unvaccinated and high risk individuals.
- The panning area still has limited capacity of 50 people per session, with 7 sessions available every Tuesday through Saturday.
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
There is no general admission to the site. The underground mine is open for paid guided tours only from 9:15 am to 4:00 pm Tuesday - Saturday from January 4th - March 31. Guided tours are $2.00 for adults and $1.00 for children 3-12 and seniors. Tickets must be purchased on-site at the orientation desk, they are not available for advanced purchase. Guided tours last approximately 30-40 minutes and are offered on the hour through the day.
Gold Panning is available Tuesday through 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.
Individual panning "stations" will be marked along each of the 3 troughs. These stations, spread around the 3 troughs, allow a total of 60 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 at the panning area to ensure stations will be properly assigned. All visitors must remain in their section during the entire session.
There are 7 panning sessions throughout the day, each lasting 30 minutes. 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.
NOTE - Panning will not be available during periods of moderate to heavy rain or if thunder and lightning are detected. If thunder is detected, panning will close for 30 minutes and then reassessed for opening. Panning may remain open during periods of light rain, pending staff approval. Panning will close whenever the heat index reaches above 105 degrees for the safety of staff and visitors.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A shaded picnic area is located beside the main parking lot for the use of visitors and scheduled groups.
- 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.