Hites Cove Trail [CLOSED]

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Sierra National Forest

Hites Cove Trail [CLOSED] is a 10.5 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Yosemite Valley, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 10.5 km Elevation Gain: 299 m Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly


nature trips


bird watching





wild flowers




Please note that as of May 2019, this trail remains closed due to the Ferguson Fire.

17 days ago

By the way, always have a mask or bandana around your neck when hiking. Pull it over your nose and mouth when near others. Show your respect for others. Thanks.

Mon May 13 2019

Any clue as to why this trail is closed. Was it because of the fire? Thanks.

nature trips
Sun Apr 28 2019

Trail is closed. Lots of wildflowers & lovely views. No shade on parts of the trail. Be careful- the trail is narrow & cut into the side of a steep hill next to the river.

no shade
Wed Apr 03 2019

Beautiful trail with peaks and valleys, offering a vast array of viewpoints. Some pathways are on cliff’s edges so one should be aware when taking in the fresh air and breathtaking views.

over grown
Tue Mar 19 2019

Trail conditions were poor with dozens of downed trees on the trail. Choose another hike if you are looking to hike and not an obstacle course.

Fri Mar 15 2019

The Sierra National Forest has officially closed the trail, and it's likely that it won't be open for the remainder of 2019. There are many other notable wildflower hikes in the area, namely in the Merced Canyon, south of Briceburg, especially where the north fork flows into the canyon. Join our Facebook Public Group to keep abreast of activities on the South Fork of the Merced River, including the Hite's Cove Trail. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1488628871465907/

Tue Jan 29 2019

closed due to construction on road

Sun May 20 2018

I am a beginning hiker and wouldn’t rate this as hard at all. It is rolling hills, but it doesn’t have any crazy ascents like pretty much every other hike in the Sierras. It gave me the confidence I needed to start going on more ambitious day hikes and is absolutely stunning in wildflower season (April 2018 in my case). I recommended it for beginners just starting out with dayhiking, but wear a hat and sunscreen up, because it’s very sunny!

Mon May 14 2018

perfect time of year for wildflowers, water, and decent temps.

Mon Apr 23 2018

This trail is absolutely amazing, especially during this time of the year (Spring) when the wildflowers are in full bloom. This trails is about 9 miles round trip out and back. Parking is available on the side of the highway, although I did see an old "No Parking" sign that was so faint, you would not even know which way it's pointing. People parked there regardless. Best views are at the beginning of the trail, but at the end you will find some history with abandoned coal mining equipment all over and an old shack. The beginning of the trail has some shade from trees, but still most of it in in full sun, especially at noon when the mountains don't protect you from it. I brought sunscreen with me and had to reapply several times throughout the hike. The earlier you start, the better. We started at 9 AM, and I think this was already too late. If you can, start around 6ish, this way you are not hiking back in blazing heat. Water is essential on this trail. I usually bring 1.5L and have at least half left, but this time I drank the full water bladder. While the trail runs along the side of the mountain, I did not have my usual fear of heights. It is rated as strenuous, but if you are in a good shape, I would say it is moderate due to distance. This is one of the best hikes I have done.

Mon Apr 16 2018

We had a wonderful one night backpacking trip this weekend. We started at the Hite Cove trail head. We hiked few miles to the campsite along the scenic South Fork Merced River. After we setting up tents at the campsite we hiked few more miles up on the Hites Mine Road. We turned back before we reached the Hites Cove because we were running out of day lights. We spent a night at the campsite. The campsite was sandy flat ground with fire pit and next to the river. Next morning we packed up and hiked back. The trail was full of wildflowers and many wonderful views along the river.

Mon Apr 16 2018

Did this hike 4/15/18 and it was beautiful! Lots of variety in terrain. Some up and down but definitely not “hard.” Lots of wild flowers out, go now! :)

Sat Apr 07 2018

Walked the trail last Saturday. There’s a lot to see here. Took many pictures. Arrived around 2:30 pm while most hikers were headed out. Saw kayaking down on the river. Poppies were closing up as I headed out around 6:00pm. Some very interesting rock formations down at the bend in the river at about 3miles (best guess).

Mon Mar 19 2018

Worth the drive. I always love how few people we see. 2 people in 3 hours if you don't count the group we saw only going 0.25 miles in to take pictures and return. March 18, 2018 the river was going strong and we saw plenty of flowers and little cute red lizards.

Sun Mar 11 2018

Has always been a great hike, have been going since I was a kid.

Sun Oct 22 2017

Beautiful autumn hike with my pup. Views and trail hugged the Merced river from different heights. Some nice up and down to get the legs going. I saw 5 people in 3 hours.

Thu Jul 13 2017

A few good places along the way to sit and enjoy the water. Lots of sun exposure. This trail get extremely hot early on in the year, bring water.

Wed May 17 2017

Great trail to listen to the water and enjoy wild flowers.

Sun May 07 2017

Great hike! Had a good balance of elevation changes and straightaways. Be advised that the water level is so high this spring the trail is cut off a bit toward the end. Still very worth it though. Would suggest going on an overcast day or brining plenty of water as there's a good deal of sun exposure.

Mon May 01 2017

Beautiful hike. Amazing scenery River was running high The flowers The hiking companions

Mon Mar 20 2017

The wildflowers are blooming now and will probably get even better in the coming weeks. The river is high and adds to the experience. The rolling single track trail isn't too tough, but there are places to be careful and watch your step due to exposure to the river below, especially when stepping aside for foot traffic. Bug spray is recommended and make sure you and your pup are protected from ticks. We spent about 2 hours pulling at least a dozen off of our dog.

Sun Aug 21 2016

This is the best wildflower trail on the planet, but it has to be done at it's peak in March!

Sat Apr 09 2016

We really enjoyed this trail. Took our 10 year old daughter with us and she did fine. She was a little winded and took a few second break coming back, as there is more incline heading back. I read the path was narrow but I hadn't read that it was aping the edge of the mountain you're on for the first mile and a half or so. Was beautiful though. Also had our German Shepherd with us and of course he loved it. We started too late so we only got a little over two miles down the trail and had lunch and had to head back. Really want to return to finish this one! Do watch out for the poison oak.

Tue Apr 05 2016

Loved this trail. A couple of downed tree obstacles. A case of scrambling under or endeavoring to get over. Otherwise a great hike.

Wed Mar 16 2016

Nice and relaxing, but I didn't know where the trail end. I kept on walking till about 20 minutes after there's no identifiable trail, then I just turn back.

Sun Mar 13 2016

beautiful and intense hike! maybe I'm a newbie, but this trail was very narrow. it wasn't bad, but there's definitely a lot of elevation, which is hard for some people to climb up and down constantly.

Wed Nov 25 2015

Most beautiful in the early winter. Lots of color in the trees.The grade is easy with fine river canyon views. Wish I had brought my fishing pole.

Mon Mar 31 2014

Not actually a year round trail. The first quarter of a mile is on private property and the trail closes at the end of spring due to the increased fire danger in summer. It is also 8.4 miles round trip to the actual site of the town of Hite Cove - not 14.4 miles. It is what I would call an easy hike, most of the route is traversing with slight elevation gain/loss at the beginning of the hike.

Sun May 01 2011

This is a great hike. Not sure that I agree with the 14miles though. I'm a newbie, so I don't have any fancy equipment telling me how far I hiked. It's actually a moderate-demanding hike. There are some hills to climb. Narrow trails. Rocky in many points. Definitely go in April when all of the wild flowers are still in bloom. We started around 10:30a and returned 2:30 or so. It's an out and return hike. When the creek/river splits, that's about the end of the trail that we could find. Might be longer, but we didn't find it.

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