Hite Cove Hike With Wildflowers & The Mining Ghost Town of Hite
Famous for its wildflowers and ghost town, this springtime hike is a must see for its annual California Poppy display. Although the entire hike is about 8 miles, the best poppy viewing is within the first mile or so. Mid March through April is prime viewing time and the trail is closed due to fire danger for the summer.
Where: Private Land and Sierra National Forest
Distance: About 8 Miles (The first couple of miles have the most brilliant displays of California Poppies)
Elevation Range: 1,412′ – 1,692′
Date: March 13, 2013
Highlights: Wildflower displays where the star is the California Poppies, but accompanied by a supporting cast of Mission Woodland Star, Bluedick, Redbud, Lupine, Popcorn Flower, Baby Blue Eyes, Shooting Star and many more. Walking along the trail above the South Fork of the Merced River, you view calm pools with reflections and water tumbling over the rocks.
Directions: From Mariposa, take Hwy 140 toward Yosemite. Savage’s Trading Post is on the right after you cross the South Fork Bridge. You will need to park across the road (on the river side) where there are also a couple of portable toilets that were not smelly at all when we checked them out. You will need to walk across the road from where you parked and the trail begins with a short climb through private property, staying on private property for 3/4 of a mile. The trailhead signs were not there when we hiked this and we were busy talking and missed the trail, so you will need to watch for it.
How about a little history of the area for starters? Hite Cove, (also formerly known as Hite’s Cove, and Hite) was named after John Hite who discovered gold there. Placer mining began in the area shortly after the beginning of the gold rush, and the Hite mine was discovered in 1862 by John R. Hite. He operated the property for 17 years and became quite rich. The mine was active again during the early 1900s and there has been some prospecting in the area in recent years. The Hites Cove post office operated from 1868 to 1869, and from 1878 to 1889. The Hite post office operated from 1901 to 1902.
California Poppies close their flowers during the night and when we started the hike, they were still closed up.
The trail is well marked and lined with flowers, and posion oak. Be sure and carry drinking water and watch for rattlesnakes. You will see photographers along the trail, many with point and shoot cameras, catching the colorful wildflowers in various poses.
You will see wildflife if you keep your eyes open. This little guy was on the trail . I don’t know exactly what kind of newt or salamander this guy is and maybe someone can help me identify him.
Bluedick with California Poppies.
We came across a cascading stream of Waterfall Buttercup. You can see what I found as I focused down and paid closer attention.
There were a few succulents, one teeny tiny one starting to bloom.
Watch out for the poison oak.
Beautiful moss covered rocks and reflections in the river.
A poppy lined trail.
Click here for Part 2 of the Hite Cove Hike.