Hite Cove (aka Hites Cove) is small mining camp tucked along the Merced River. John Hite discovered gold here in 1862 and ran the mine for 17 years. The simple stone arrastra eventually became a 20 stamp mill. The post office operated from 1868 to 1889 off and on. This camp is very old so not much remains other than some big iron, partial roads and stone foundations.

There are three ways to access the camp: 1)First is the Hite Cove trail, popular among hikers for the extensive wildflowers to be seen as you hike 7 miles along the Merced River. There are several large pieces of equipment a 1/4 mile west of the camp along the trail. 2)Hites Mine Road out of Incline, CA which has been done in the past but recent drone footage by Prodme1 leaves me to wonder if it is still possible. 3)Drive in from the south on Hites Cove Road near Jerseydale, CA.

We drove in from the south from Sweetwater Mine. The road is certainly class III or maybe class IV in some spots. Rock stacking was required but we never needed lockers. The super steep drops down to the river make it a fun ride and camping next to the river was excellent. Driving in from the south as we did requires a river crossing to reach the town site and mining equipment. We had no problems crossing the river in the drought stricken fall of 2016 by hopping from rock to rock. I imagine a crossing more difficult to impossible when the Merced River is at her normal flow.

We didn’t climb the north slope towards Incline so we never saw any adits that may exist nor did we see the rusting tin structure seen from satellite imagery. If you have traveled the road from Incline to Hite Cove please comment below!

  • JB Bergmann

    Rating: 4 / 5

    Despite its lack of mills, headframes and adits, I give Hite Cove 4 stars for the drive down, the camping at rivers edge, the hiking and the history.

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