Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 4, 2018

Wildflowers Of Hite Cove and Merced River Canyon 4/4/18

from an Inquiry to the Foothills CNPS
It’s quite nice there right now, probably prime time starting last weekend and going for another couple weeks. The poppies are up in mass and new species are blooming every day. This has been a good year for the wildflowers along the whole Merced River Canyon. Low precip in the early part of the rain year limited the non-native grass cover, then with the March rains, the wildlfowers exploded through the grasses.
I also recommend hiking along the Merced River at Briceburg in the footprint of last years Detwiler Fire (further downstream). The flowers are even more amazing inside the burned area, (but they are still better than most years at Hite’s Cove and all along the canyon). The road is closed right at the beginning once you cross the suspension bridge due to rock fall and landslides that occurred during the last storms. The road ends about 3 miles downstream and the old railroad grade becomes a hiking trail. Right past where the road ends and the trail begins is the edge of the fire. The trail continues along the old rail grade, then cuts follows the North Fork of the Merced. The hills are more orange than green in the fire footprint.
I’d recommend bringing a bicycle and biking the three miles of the closed road to the trailhead and edge of the fire, then hike up the North Fork as far as you want. The North Fork has western exposure and you’ll see a few different species in bloom than you do on the rail grade, which has southern exposure. Because of the road closure, I didn’t see a single other hiker once I got to the trailhead on Sunday. If the road opens, there will be a CNPS field trip there on Sat. April 14th.
Happy trails filled with many blooms!

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