As you travel between Cave Junction and Grants Pass, take a moment to visit one of the most unusual habitats in Southern Oregon. Botanists since the 1880s have recognized the importance of the Eight Dollar Mountain Botanical Area. Several species only found in this area grow in serpentine soil, a soil type that lacks the nutrients that most plants require for survival. Instead they are replete with heavy metals and other substances that create an environment in which only specially adapted plants may survive. During wetter times of year, the soil becomes waterlogged. But during the dry periods of summer the soil almost completely dries up.
The best way to explore this area without trampling plants and getting your shoes wet is by taking a stroll on the boardwalk. The most easily recognizable native species is the carnivorous Darlingtonia. Also known as cobra lily or California pitcher plant, this tubular plant has a hook-shaped top that is shaped so that insects that enter the plant's tube can be trapped inside. The plant can then digest its prey! At the end of the boardwalk you'll see large clusters of Darlingtonia in a seasonally wet field.
Other endemic plants include Waldo gentian, serpentine phacelia, Howell's mariposa lily, and Bolander's lily. Interpretive signage along the way will help you identify these plants along the path. Although this trail is accessible most of the year, you'll see the most wildflowers between April and July.