As we reached the end of our trail, we started seeing many different remnants of the old mining days including the remains of an old suspension bridge, rusty mining equipment and the remains of hand stacked old rock buildings that made up the old town.
My research of the mining in Hite Cove revealed that there were actually several mines in this area. The Hite Mine was located at Hites Cove and $3 million dollars were produced out of this mine from 1862 and the early 1900s. Other mines in this immediate area included the Brown Bear Mine, Bunker Hill Mine, Confidence Mine Emma Mine Eureka Mine, Georgia Point Mine, Hite Central Mine, Kaderitas Mine, Mexican Mine, Squirrel Mine and the Williams Mine. John Hite also owned and operated a sawmill at Snyder Gulch.
By 1864, the town of Hites Cove had a population of about 100 and a ten stamp milling operation. It also had 2 hotels and its own Chinatown. Because of its isolated location, drinking and gambling were popular diversions. All of the buildings in the small camp burned in 1924.
Gail Gilbert took this picture of me by a giant wheeled gear of an old stamp mill.
Favorite Hikes of the Sierra Hiking Seniors by Jim Putman includes the following: “On a sandy flat at about 3.4 miles there are pieces of mine machinery-largecone grinders, an Arrastra, and a Pelton wheel-all from the 1899 attempt to reprocess the tailings from Hite’s mine.
As you approach Hite Cove the overgrown rock cellars to the left of the trail indicate the site of the Chinese encampment. Cross a ravine into central Hite Cove. The shack on the bench on the hill is on the old hotel site. The mine tunnels are further up the hill. The black locust trees at the far end of the cove were planted in the 1870’s when the operation here was in full swing. A long-gone bridge across the river permitted supplies to be brought down a steep road from Jerseydale.”
Stone lined ditches and remains of old rock houses that were once part of the thriving town are along the path.
One my hiking buddies for the day, Becky, explores the remains of the old stone buildings. I was scared of snakes so didn’t want to venture in there.
As we entered the abandoned mining site of Hite Cove, just a little uphill from the trail is one remaining wood builing. This building is obviously from a later timeframe than the stone buildings. But what is the purpose of the “floating roof” hanging from a tree next to it?
After exploring the old mining ruins, we turned around and headed back, anticipating that the poppies would be in full bloom on our return. Gail is shown with the poppies along the trail.
By the time we got about half way back along the trail, it was very hot. This was the warmest day of the year that we had hiked and we were feeling it. Gail Gilbert took this picture of me on the trail with the afternoon sun on the poppies.
Redbud with the river below.
The afternoon got hot in that canyon and at one point the thermometer on Gail’s pack said 93 degrees. The reflective heat off of the rock walled canyon can be quite brutal in the afternoon so make sure you are prepared for that.
I categorized this hike as a Moderate hike, but if you just hike along the river trail for a mile or so, you will see the largest displays of wildflowers and it will be easier but I would still call this hike Moderate due to the sharp drop-offs and some short steep places.
Favorite Hikes of the Sierra Seniors Book, Jim Putman, July 2010
Gold Districts of California Bulletin 193 California Division of Mines and Geology 1976 Hite Cove District
Guide to the Ghost Towns, Mining Camps, and Other Formerly Inhabited Places in Mariposa County, California http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~gtusa/usa/ca/mrp-co/h.html
U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Hite Cove, California
Click here for Part 1 of the Hite Cove Hike.