Guide to Gold and Buried Treasure: Mud Lake, Idaho Gold

About a treasure of gold and money that was thrown into Mud Lake, Idaho by bank robbers, history and searches for the gold.


Mud Lake Gold

Gold bullion and money totaling $180,000-stolen from a Wells Fargo stagecoach-was thrown into Mud Lake, Ida., by escaping bandits.

How It Got There. In 1865 a stagecoach bound for Salt Lake City was attacked by the notorious Updike and Guiness gang. Four of its passengers were killed, and the driver was knocked unconscious. At least $100,000 in valuables was taken from the wealthy passengers, along with $80,000 in gold bullion from the stage's strongbox.

The driver and the surviving passengers made it to McCammon, Ida., where they told their story. A posse quickly formed, and tracked the gang to the Mud Lake area. The outlaws were trapped next to its murky waters, and they knew that they'd never escape with the heavy gold weighing them down. While the posse was still in the rocks above, it saw the robbers throw heavy sacks into the lake.

The gang made good its escape, and never returned to the area. Somehow the posse couldn't pinpoint the exact spot where they had seen the gold dumped, and there's no record that it was ever found.

Previous Searches. A treasure hunter named B.C. Nettleson and his partner Orba Duncan searched the lake for 20 years without finding a clue. Duncan continued hunting after Nettleson died, and in 1901 Duncan came up with 3 bars of solid gold which he sold in a nearby town for $25,000. He kept searching, but found nothing more.

That's all that has ever been found, according to the record, and local residents are convinced that the gold is still in the muddy bottom of the lake, or buried in lake fill.

How to Get There. Mud Lake is in east-central Idaho, in Jefferson County, about 30 mi. northwest of Idaho Falls, and about 60 mi. north of Pocatello.

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