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California Gold Region 5 is in Northern California and extends from Millerton Lake State Recreation Area, in Fresno County, about 40 miles south of Yosemite National Park, northward to about five miles north of Quincy, in Plumas County. It extends  eastward from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe and the Nevada state line. Gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in 1848, which led to the California Gold Rush in 1849.
California Gold Region 5 embraces Yosemite National Park, Mono Lake, Sacramento, Carmichael, Columbia, Auburn, Placerville, Nevada City, Grass Valley, Angels Camp, Yuba City, Marysville, Oroville, Paradise, Magalia, Downieville, Mariposa, Coarse Gold, Coloma and Jamestown.
Because of the proliferation of gold deposits here, California Gold Region 5 is known as the California Mother Lode. There is no fixed definition of the boundaries of the "Mother Lode", and actually no true "mother lode" exists. Some geologists define the boundaries as extending further southeast into California Gold Region 4 and further northwest into region 6. In any case, this is a very gold-rich area that has drawn worldwide attention and stimulated migration to California. Pioneers flocked westward across the U. S. plains in covered wagons and people came from Germany, China and other countries to seek gold in California. 
California's largest true gold nugget weighed 54 pounds troy. It was found in California Gold Region 5 at Magalia, in Butte County
Big Ten's California Gold Map 5 covers California Gold Region 5. It shows 3,000 gold mines and prospecting sites from official geological records of the State of California and the federal government. Specific gold deposit sites are shown in parts of these counties:
Alpine      Amador       Butte      Calaveras      El Dorado      Fresno      Lassen      Madera      Mariposa      Mono      Nevada      Placer      Plumas      Sacramento      San     Joaquin      Sierra      Stanislaus      Tuolumne      Yuba
Gold sites continue to the south on California Gold Map 4 and to the north on Map 6.
There are scattered deposits throughout California Gold Region 5 and there are heavy concentrations of gold sites in famous mining areas, such as Grass Valley, Auburn, Placerville, Downieville, Mariposa, Angels Camp and all along California state road 49, which connected the gold camps.
Recreational panning and sluicing is done in the hundreds of streams that lace the region. Hard rock lode mining is done by established mining companies. Much hydraulic mining was done in the past. 
Some of the gold-bearing rivers are: Yuba, Feather, American, Calaveras, Merced, Cosumnes, Tuolumne and Stanislaus. Tributaries to these rivers have also produced gold.
Gold panning may be done in the eight national forests that cover much of the region: El Dorado, Tahoe, Plumas, Lassen, Sierra, Stanislaus, Inyo and Toiyabe. There are many beautiful streams in the national forests where gold may be found.
The dry remains of the ancient rivers of the Tertiary Period are shown on California Gold Map 5. The ancient rivers are discontinuous today, with some parts of them being in the sides of mountains and other parts buried under lava flows from the volcanoes that erupted in the past. These ancient rivers were a major source of gold in the present-day rivers. According to Lindgren, some gravel deposits in the Tertiary  rivers were 250 feet deep, with gold occurring at various levels within the gravels. Remains of the ancient rivers are actively prospected and mined.
Many people have long harbored a desire to find gold in the California Mother Lode region. With the advent of motorhomes, travel trailers and other recreational vehicles, many prospectors are fulfilling that dream.
If you venture to California Gold Region 5, be sure to tour California State Highway 49, which connects the gold camps and was named after the 49'ers. Interesting gold mining artifacts are displayed at localities along this route.

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