Merced River – Wildflowers and Archaeology

I had wildflowers on my mind; Hite Cove was my destination. My car and some higher power led me instead to Briceburg, not far from Mariposa on Highway 140, the gateway to the Merced River Recreation Area.

The hike begins at this gated bridge, on nearly flat railroad grade with the river as a constant companion.

Before starting my hike, I happened to meet Vern, a naturalist for the area, who contributed to the local wildflower brochure. This serendipitous encounter resulted in me becoming the lucky recipient of the brochure, hugely helpful in wildflower identification. I encourage you to stop at the Briceburg Visitor Center for your own copy of this excellent brochure; plenty of interesting tidbits included. (If you’re not into flowers, scroll down to learn about my archaeological finds.)

Blue Dicks

Bottle Brush

Fairy Lantern


Pretty Face

Fiesta Flower

Snake Lilly

Harvest Bardiea

Low Phacelia


California Thistle

Long-Beak Stork’s Bill or Fillaree

The poppies were mostly closed on this overcast day, a slight disappointment.

The lupine were stars on this day.

Red Bud was another show stopper.



I always enjoy finding traces of how areas were used previously. In this case, you’ll find evidence of gold mining and railroad activity.

There were long stretches of disentegrating flume along the hillside

I read that this was an old pit mine

There are several campgrounds along the trail, including this one dedicated to the railroad. If you’re lucky, you may hear the ghost train while camped there.

I found this little graveyard a bit spooky, not exactly what you want near your campsite.

Very curious about this 1991 grave.

Mother nature sure provides some spectacular skies

The winding road to Mariposa reminded me of those in the Swiss Alps.


6 thoughts on “Merced River – Wildflowers and Archaeology

    • Now I have to figure out which method worked best. I took hundreds of shots experimenting with different settings. Some were a success, others a bomb.

      I was excited to find some flowers I hadn’t previously seen. Once I had the brochure I felt like I was on a scavenger hunt.

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