The Arapahoe bar, named after the Arapahoe living in the area is the town from which the 1859 gold rush was launched. Located at 44th & Youngfield Wheat Ridge CO, this historic park is just a short drive from I-70 with a Walmart and restaurants across the street. So many legendary stories have been told about this place we well have to condense them here.
Here’s the important thing to know about Arapahoe Bar.
- No motorized equipment allowed however battery powered is. A battery box is needed.
- You can prospect on the North side and in Clear Creek, however no prospecting is allowed on the south side next to the Pedestrian Path.
- Although the park is open year round, if you are traveling we would suggest you check with us regarding runoff. This creek can turn into a raging river and make it almost impossible to work safely. Generally speaking mountain runoff is between late March-or April thru July-August. There is just no good way to know and the weather man has been wrong more often than not.
- There is a La Quinta Inn a block away and others within a mile. Unfortunately there is no RV parking close however the Walmart may let you stay there.
- The gold is fine with minimal flakes and lots of cobble, digging is pretty easy and access to the creek is a short be steep climb.
- If you are a GPAA member please don’t consider this park “Public Lands” or expect to excercise your “Rights”. You have no Federal rights in this county park and you are a visiting guest of Jefferson County and Wheat Ridge.
Now Some More History!
Eleanor I and Eleanor II raced down the Arapahoe bar with folks wagering on their favorite to get the most gold. Also known as the Reilling Dredges, these apartment building sized electric powered “ditch witch” style rock churning monsters created a lake on which floated the giant bucket line dredges with up to 100 buckets each digging down to bedrock before moving forward downstream. It must have been quite a sight not to mention the amazing ground pounding sound….
It’s amazing there is still gold in Clear Creek but they must not have been interested in the fine stuff like we are!
George Andrew Jackson is known for his famous Chicago Creek gold discovery in present day Idaho Springs, but did you know that he lived and survived the Colorado winters by panning for gold with his friend Tom Golden near their cabins at Arapahoe City?
John Hamilton Gregory may have found the famous gold strike near Central City that led to the Pikes Peak gold rush of 1859, but did you know that he survived prior to that by panning for gold near his cabin in Arapahoe City in order to finally find “The Richest Square Mile on Earth”?