Well took me long enough to get this 3rd review up! So this final review is going to be on my last day at the Alabama Gold Camp and my experience with the Dredge you can rent from them.
First let me say wow what a blast. This thing was so much fun I almost convinced my wife we need to buy one for ourselves, then she reminded me how far we are from gold. I still want one though, and maybe one day when we move closer to the gold I will buy one.
The cost of 4 hours of dredging is $75 plus entrance fees to the Gold Camp, so minimum cost is $80 for 4 hours. Now one thing I wasnt happy about is the time starts from when you pay, and it takes a good 30 minutes to have them set it up and place in the river. So you really probably only get a good solid 3 hours of dredging but again what a blast. The Dredge they use is set up with an air snorkel and they provide a mask so you can dig deep enough to hit bed rock. The bad thing though is they don’t provide any type of weight belt so once you get deep its hard to stay down.
Sadly I didn’t get any pictures of the dredge, by the time I remembered we were all waist deep in the cold river. Oh and yes the water is cold, even in the middle of the summer. Not so cold that its not fun, but it is a shock at first until you warm up.
One last thing I want to mention is that in my previous searches for reviews on the Alabama Gold Camp they all said that the dredges could only be placed in a certain designated spot. Well that has changed so now you can put the dredge any where you want. Since our trip was so short I didn’t have time to try and dig test holes before I placed the dredge. When I go back next time I will stay for a week and use the first day to just dig by hand and pan to find a good spot for 5 days of dredging.
So how much gold did I get? Well after 3 hours of dredging I ended with 2 1/2 gallons of pay dirt to clean up. Which is one of the reasons it took me so long to add this last review, it took me 3 days to clean it all up. The pay dirt at the Alabama Gold Camp is loaded with Garnets so they tend to clog up riffles fast and you have to pluck them out. I ended up with a 8oz cup full of garnets, and not the pretty kind, but the kind used to make sandpaper. So after 3 days of panning I ended up with 0.10 grams of gold or about $5 so wasn’t a money maker.
My final words on the Alabama Gold Camp: VISIT! I am serious, you won’t become rich or probably even break even but it is one hell of a beautiful place and you can mine for gold. I had a blast, my kids had a blast and we all will have great memories of our trip to the Alabama Gold Camp. I already have plans to return as well as to take a trip to visit some of the Gold Camps in Tennessee.