Alysia and I went for a hike up to Hite Cove in 2005. We wanted to get out and possibly see some wildflowers and scenery. We weren’t disappointed. We hiked in from where the South Fork of the Merced joins the Merced River at Savage’s Trading Post. The hike is pretty easy; following the South Fork, you climb roughly +500 ft in 5 miles (one-way).
John Hite discovered gold here in 1862. He worked the vein from an arrastra in the beginning to a twenty-stamp mill and, over the years, recovered millions of dollars from the quartz vein. The mining camp (nearly a small town) grew up in the small canyon around the mine. The camp even had a two-story hotel and a suspension bridge over the river. Most of the buildings have been destroyed by wildfires, weather, and vandals over the years, but it is a large site, and there are a few remains of rock walls and machinery hidden in the underbrush. The site can be spectacular in the springtime.