Metal Detecting in PENNSYLVANIA (Laws, Places, Gold & More)

Metal Detecting in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, known by its beautiful lakes and rich history, attracts consistently many hobbyists and seasoned detectorists to swing their machines and earn some good finds!

Yet, having a prior understanding of the regulating rules is something you should not skip! At the end of the day, having trouble with local authorities is not something I want you to fall into, I’d rather see you having fun and enjoying the hobby …

… In this detailed post, I try my best to give as much helpful info as I possibly could that you should know before you start using your beloved machine in Pa soil … That is, I talk about …

  • Some important rules that you should stick to
  • Location I suggest that you should explore
  • Detecting in Pa parks
  • How you should approach Gold Prospecting there
  • Suggestions of known detection clubs
  • As well as additional practical info …

Before further ado, let’s dive in the subject!

What are the metal detecting laws in pa?

The use of detectors in Pennsylvania is readily allowed as long has a few simple rules are followed. As the state welcomes explorers within its borders, the law says that reasonable use of metal detectors is allowed in state parks!

This is great news considering that most hobbyists do not wish to create any disturbances. Following this theme, detection equipment may not be used within fenced in areas or in any spots that would conflict with activities already going on in the area.

As far as beaches and lakes, you can carry on detecting within reasonable distance from the shore between the Tuesday after Labor Day and the Saturday before Memorial Day! During the summer months, each shore is allowed to make its own decisions about whether or not the hobby is allowed or not.

Final notes to remember are that you must abide by any rules a state park posts not allowing metal detectors, you are only legally allowed to use it from sunrise to sunset, and you must report any historical findings!

All in all, Pennsylvania is a very reasonable and welcoming state for us as detecting fanatics!

Best places to metal detect in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is full of historical towns and sites that are teeming with opportunity for detectorists! Although Philadelphia, Erie, and Gettysburg all hold great desire for explorers, it is important to keep in mind that any historical artifacts like treasure or musket balls are to be reported to the park by Pa law.

This means that finding someone who has an old house on private property may be the way to go. If you can find treasure and exciting discoveries on private property, you can choose where you want them to go! This is way more exciting than handing your awesome finds over to someone else.

The last area that may be of interest for explorers is anywhere there is a creek! The running water coming from who knows where is sure to bring with it surprises of all sorts …

… In other words, people love to go hiking and adventuring around creeks, so it is reasonable to assume that there could be many valuables hiding in the banks! Finding a map of the creeks is the first step to deciding where you want to start, but the Delaware River and French Creek are both beautiful spots that encourage good metal detecting!

Best Detector for Pa Soil!

Garrett AT Max

This State is known for its Soil Types Dieversification! There are many types of grounds that you may deal with including the mineralized soil!

That’s why a multi-purpose device will work just fine in such conditions! The Fisher F22 (Check it Here at Amazon!) is a very good choice, especially for those who are on a budget … Yet, if you have the ability to invest on a much more established detector, then I simply recommend the Garrett AT MAX (Check it Right Here at Amazon!), it is one of my favorite models!

The latter is a much better version of the Garrett AT Pro, and it brings much higher performances on most aspects, including sensitivity to smaller targets, depth underground, accurate Target IDs …

… This Minelab model detector can also operate for you just fine!

Gold Prospecting in Pennsylvania – what you should know

The first thing to keep in mind with looking for gold in Pennsylvania is that if you find something historic on government property, you are legally required to report it! The state of Pennsylvania is a very welcome state towards this hobby, yet anything that has a significant place in history must be given up, otherwise you could encounter some trouble.

This being said, your chances of finding gold in Pennsylvania are slightly better than in other more ordinary states. Some factories produce gold as a byproduct of mining, so the streams that surround that area are promising if you are looking for placer gold.

York County and Lancaster County are specifically good spots to try. Dillsburg, Grantham, Wellsville, and Rossville have all been named hot spots for gold! Additionally, Quarryville, Susquehanna River, and Peter’s Creek in Lancaster County are good places to look!

What other finds should you expect there?

In York and Lancaster County spots, there have been reports of finding small amounts of platinum, although I am not sure how true those reports are. Typically, the reports of finding exciting substances like Garnet and Quartz Crystals come from areas that are near quarries and mines!

Other exciting things that have been found in Pennsylvania are fossils! Although I would not expect to find the next T-Rex, it is reasonable that you might find clams, corals, and muscles as you search!

Detecting in pa parks – Helpful info

The main idea that you need to understand when looking to detect in state parks is that you can’t disturb anything that is already going on!

Most state parks are very accommodating, but calling ahead to figure out what events are going on and where they allow you to metal detect is recommended.

Don’t go in to any places that are fenced off, and keep in mind that any historical finds you may come across ARE NOT YOURS. They are legal property of the state and you are legally required to report them to the manager of the park so they can go to the proper place.

Exploring pa state game lands …

According to the statute and many metal detectors’ interpretation of the statute, it seems that you are legally allowed to detect on the grounds, but you may not be able to take any finds, historical or otherwise, with you.

It is recommended that you email the game warden or director of the land before going out. Also, it is smart to keep a screenshot of the email or the email itself readily available so that if anyone questions you, you have that as a backup.

Are there any detection clubs in Pennsylvania?

There are two main sects of clubs in Pa … The first are true clubs like Leigh Valley Treasure Club and Black Diamond Treasure H.unting Club

… These clubs are invested in finding all sorts of things through their explorations and do not limit themselves to one substance!

The other type of club in Pennsylvania is the Gold Prospecting type club. As their name explains, they are specifically looking for gold swinging their machines. It seems like G. P. A. A. has many off shoot clubs around Pennsylvania that are easy to get in touch with. Whatever side you choose, you will be with people who love doing what you love!

Are there detection equipment dealers in Pa?

There are actually quite a few metal detecting stores in Pennsylvania! There are at least three popular and well-known stores …

… The first is in Pleasantville, the second in Harrisburg, and the third in Quakertown!

The hours for these stores can be tricky to nail, but they seem to be liked by the community! There are a few more on the outskirts that don’t seem as popular with the community, but I’m sure they are still worth a look!

Metal detecting in Pa cities …

There are many Pa cities known for this hobby and I would love to address the most important ones that you should at least be aware of!

1. Altoona

Through forum research, I have found that Altoona may not be the most popular place to detect in, but there are a few dedicated adventurers!

There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of interesting finds in Altoona, but it may still be worth a look.

2. Allentown

Allentown and the surrounding areas are very popular sites for detection activities!

Several people report finding jewelry and valuable items in the creeks surrounding the area and also request detecting buddies for their next adventures.

3. Carlisle

Carlisle has its own detecting club and supplier! The hobby must be awfully popular there as the club is up and running and the equipment store has a website and detailed information about where to find them.

4. Erie

Erie seems like a great place to explore as well. There are many people out there looking for cool items, and Lake Erie promises lots of excitement!

Forums report many people getting together to go look, and even YouTube has videos of people searching near the lake!

5. Gettysburg

There are tons of videos on YouTube of people exploring in Gettysburg!

Some show awesome historical finds, and forums show lots of interest in uncovering many more awesome items. The hobby is popular and thriving in Gettysburg!

6. Harrisburg

Harrisburg seems to be just picking up steam in the metal detecting world. Although there are some people already out there, a new club was just born on a forum around late 2017, so there is still a lot of growth happening out there.

7. Johnstown

Johnstown has a few people detecting within its borders and a detection store, but it also seems like it has some growing to do!

Western Pennsylvania, though, has a lot of active detectors, so Johnstown should increase in interest as well.

8. Lancaster

Lancaster is a super popular spot especially for gold seekers! Forums report lots of interest from metal detecting adventurers, and lots of success from them as well. Lancaster seems to have the popularity and the goods!


If you are a hobbyist (of course you are!) who lives in Pa or at least you are going to visit the state spend a significant period of time there, then you should be aware of the good opportunities to come up with some highly valuable detection finds …

… That’s why I don’t think you should miss on this chance!

Just take into consideration most of the info and tips I’ve listed in this article or that you’ve learnt elsewhere from a trustworthy source,  so your task will turn to be much easier, and you will have a much successful journey!

Finally, if you are looking for other places to explore, then I highly invite you to have a look at this metal detecting guide in Switzerland!

Carissa Harmer

Carissa is the huge metal detecting enthusiast that loves collecting coins. She is also highly interested in other treasure hunting activities like magnet fishing and gold prospecting/panning.

Recent Posts