AZentertain: Tucson, Arizona Gold Rush

Tucson Gold Rush of the 1880s

Hunt for Gold and Legends in the Santa Catalina Mountains

jewelry grade silver and gold Santa Catalina MountainsBy Robert E. Zucker

The Tucson Gold Rush in the Santa Catalina Mountains is still going on! There is still some gold left in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

The search for gold in the Cañada del Oro (Canyon of Gold), north of Tucson, Arizona, may have started as early as the 1500s with the expedition of Coronado.

The arrival of the Spaniards in the 1700s also contributed to the legends of lost Spanish Jesuit mines with tales of bullions of gold treasure still buried in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Read Sample Chapters from two books on Tucson & Arizona Gold Prospecting & Mining. Download free sample PDFs:

Gold placer deposits in the Cañada del Oro were well exploited by the Spaniards and pioneering Americans in the mid-1800s. Their diggings still scar in the mountains today. Remnants of the Tucson Gold Rush Days. Read more about gold in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

The Santa Catalinas are rich with legends– the lost Iron Door Mine (the Lost Mine or the Lost Escalante Mine), the lost city, and the lost mission– that have been lost in time. Rediscover the Lost Mine and Lost City.

All of the lost history and legends of the Santa Catalina Mountains have been collected into a single source. Read selections throughout this site.

A new book in preparation covers the "Tucson Gold Rush of the 1880s" when many local Tucson businessmen were weekend prospectors in the Santa Catalina Mountains. Many discovered gold, silver and copper deposits.

The Santa Catalina Mountains Legends & History

The Tucson Gold Rush of the 1880s

The Lost Mine

The Lost City

The Lost Mission

Lost civilizations of the mountains

The Legend of the Iron Door Mine

Videos on the Santa Catalinas

Articles & Videos

In February 2020, join in the Annual Buffalo Bill Cody Days at the Oracle Inn Steakhouse & Lounge in Oracle. Free entertainment, presentations, book talks, movies, treats, and a treasure hunt for kids. Free jewelry drawing  for gold and silver mined from the Santa Catalina Mountains

Treasures of the CatalinasSanta Catalina Mountains Legends & History

Explore the legends of the lost Iron Door mine of the Santa Catalinas, buried Spanish gold, silver, and the Tucson Gold Rush of the 1880s. Discover the rich history and the stories of the Santa Catalinas recorded over the centuries.

Free PDF Download. Read sample sections from the new book Treasures of the Santa Catalinas: History and Legends.

Available on in print - 430 pages: Treasures of the Santa Catalina Mountains: Unraveling the Legends and History of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Also available digitally on Kindle.

Author Available to Share Legends and History

Robert Zucker, author of "Treasures of the Santa Catalina Mountains," is available to speak to your group or organization about the history and legends of the Catalina Mountains, including a presentation on the famous Iron Door Mine legend of the Catalinas. To arrange a presentation or book talk, call 520-623-3733 or email [email protected]


Video of Treaures of the Catalinas


Original music by Gary Holdcroft written for the Santa Catalina Mountains in the 1980s.

The Tucson Gold Rush of the 1880s

During the Arizona gold rush of the 1880s, numerous newspaper accounts described the "gold bearing quartz" found in the mountains north of Tucson that helped spark the rush.

The Santa Catalina mountains had been extensively mined for copper, silver and gold by some of Tucson's community leaders of the 1900s, like E.O. Stratton, Sheriff Bob Leatherwood. Even William "Buffalo Bill" Cody invested and explored the mines in search of precious minerals.

Prospectors and wealthy industrialists staked multiple mining camps and hauled out thousands of pounds of gold from the hills well before Arizona became a state in 1912. This gold, encrusted in quartz, was not far from the legendary lost mine.

Gold placering sites in the Catalinas had a reported production as much as 1,000 ounces of gold from 1904 to 1949. One  jewlery grade nugget found weighed over 6 ounces.

In 1982, a reported 230 oz of gold was recovered in a resource assessment test on "placer gravels allegedly near 200-year-old placer sites of the Spaniards.

Gold mining the Santa Catalina Mountains still has some lucrative prospects, according to a mining assessment report published by the US Bureau of Mines in 1994.

Is there any gold left?

Some prospectors and gold hunting groups insist that the patient hobbyist, or entrepreneur can recover some gold, mostly in the form of flakes and occasional nugget. There are some claims that plenty of gold is still available if properly mined.

Recently mining operations has been revived on the Oracle Ridge by Gold Hawk Resources, a Canadian mining company.

A lost city, lost mines and buried treasure

While American mining ventures have been extracting as much of the gold and copper it could from the Catalina mountains for over a century, there are still some spots that haven't been explored in a long, long time.

The lost mine and the lost city are among the most well known legends. Somewhere deep inside the basin of that mountain range, some of those great treasures may still be hidden, according to legends. Read about the Lost Mine in the Catalinas.

The Treasures in the Catalinas

The real treasure is what the Spaniards supposedly hidden, or took with them, when and what's left in those mountains.

This is where the legend of the treasure in the Santa Catalina begins. These are the stories, histories and legends of one of the biggest secrets in Southern Arizona- Arizona's rush for gold.

Discover the history of Arizona's rush for gold through old newspaper articles and personal accounts recorded from pioneers who helped spark Arizona's golden treasures. Discover more Treasures of the Santa Catalinas.

The Santa Catalinas

Catalina Mountains Tucsn Arizona- the Lost City Treasure

The Santa Catalina Mountains rises north of Tucson, Arizona. Its peak near Mt. Lemmon reaches over 9,000 feet above sea level. This earns its name as a "sky island" as it juts out in the middle of the Sonoran desert. The Catalina mountains are also the source of lost treasure legends and a long, documented history of gold and precious metal mining for centuries.

The history of inhabitation of the Tucson basin spans over ten thousand years. Ancient canals and artifacts provide the evidence of Tucson being the longest inhabited "civilization" in the North America.

The majesty of the sky island mountain range has lured foreigners and native residents of the dusty desert valley to the towering pines of the Santa Catalinas.

Today, the road to Mt. Lemmon provides a quick way to get to the top of the Santa Catalinas within a hour. Flowing out of the north end of the Catalinas is the Cañada del Oro (Canyon of Gold or gold gulch), a now dry riverbed that once had year round running water.

New Books Featured

The Entertainment Magazine, in conjunction with BZB Publishing (the publisher of and the Entertainment Magazine) is producing print and digital books for the public. Copies are available through and other retailers. Read sample chapters of the following new releases:

Authors: This research project is conducted by the following Tucson, Arizona residents fascinated with the history and legends of the Old West. Robert Zucker is available as speakers for groups and events.

Robert E. Zucker, a Tucson, Arizona native, author, former journalism instructor and newspaper publisher, is the CEO of Entertainment Magazine network, publisher of Robert Edward Zucker has researched and explored the Santa Catalina mountains. Contact Robert Zucker at 520-623-3733 or email [email protected].

William "Flint" Carter is a local miner who has been prospecting the Santa Catalinas and surrounding areas for decades. Flint Carter has held dozens of mining claims and has been in persuit of the lure of the legends for over 40 years. Flint Carter passed away in December 2019.

Cody Stone is mined and designed as jewelry grade gold and silver in quartz from the mountains of the Santa Catalinas. Cody stone specimens and hand made items are on display at the Oracle Inn Steakhouse & Saloon in Oracle, Arizona. Get a tour of the area, see artifacts of the Iron Door Mine and Southwest, and mine for gold with Flint Carter. The only source for Cody Stone.


"Treasure in the Santa Catalinas: Unraveling the History and Legends of the Iron Door Mine, Lost City and Lost Mission"

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