Nestled in the eastern Santa Cruz Mountains between Morgan Hill and Watsonville is Uvas Canyon County Park. With Swanson Creek flowing year-round and tall hills, this is a great place for some mellow and scenic hiking away, but not away, from civilization. You can hit miles of trails and still be back in time for brunch. I met up with my longtime Instagram friend, Christian Arballo, and set off to explore some trails in this new-to-us park!
We started by heading up Alec Canyon to check out Triple Falls. With the dry winter we’ve had in California, Triple Falls was barely a trickle. This is only a seasonal fall, so this was not too alarming.
From there, we re-traced our steps back down Alec Canyon to where it intersects with Contour Trail to head over to the Waterfall Loop.
The first falls we hit were Upper Falls at the top of Swanson Creek. They were flowing! While Christian was working his waterfall camera magic, I sat down next to the creek and made some face paint.
Then we headed over to Basin Falls, which were super cool! These fall into a little basin which overflows out into a smaller fall and down the hill.
Lastly, we stopped by Black Rock Falls, aptly named for the black rock. Black Rock Falls were the last stop on the waterfall loop. We made our way down to the parking lot.
Overall, a lovely, scenic place! I highly recommend getting here early in the morning when it’s quiet, foggy, and much less crowded. The lots were filling up quickly and children were running around rampant as we were leaving.
If you’d like to add a little extra difficulty to your hike, take the .8 mile out and back trail up to Knobcone Point from the beginning of the Waterfall Loop. You can also bag Knibbs Knob (2694′) from the park entrance. Those are on my to-do for next time!
For other spectacular waterfall hikes in the Bay Area like Uvas Canyon County Park’s Waterfall Loop, try Alamere Falls or Berry Creek Falls.
Hike: Alec Canyon & Waterfall Loop
Where: Uvas Canyon County Park
Trailhead: Uvas Canyon County Park
Duration: 3 hours
Length: 6.42 miles
Gear: Yonder App shirt, Outdoor Research Contour Shorts, Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Socks – Women’s, REI Flash 18 Pack, Arc’teryx Delta LT, and Ahnu Sugarpine Waterproof Hiking Boots
Cost of Parking: $6