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Hike the Waterfall Loop at Uvas Canyon County Park

So you really want to see some winter waterfalls but don’t want to work too hard to do it? Far back in the Santa Cruz Mountains, west of Morgan Hill, is Uvas Canyon County Park—a compact, tree-filled delight with picnic tables, hiking trails, and several waterfalls bunched into a 1-mile loop along Swanson Creek.

Extend the hike going upstream: The 2.7-mile Uvas Waterfall and Contour Trail Loop follows Swanson Creek to Granuja Falls, Black Rock Falls, Upper Falls, and Basin Falls. Lichen-covered trees and rocks make a lush backdrop, and wooden bridges add some old-fashioned whimsy. Coastal redwoods add yet another layer of beauty.

Viewpoint overlooking the Santa Cruz Mountains in Uvas Canyon County Park

Continuing on Contour Trail, extend the loop to a 3.6-mile hike (total round-trip) by turning right onto Alec Canyon Trail to see Triple Falls. Take a breather at Viewpoint Bench and enjoy the expansive views of the Santa Cruz Mountains before heading to Triple Falls at the end of the trail. Return on Alec Canyon Trail to finish the loop. Waterfall way to spend the day.

Parking reservations ($6) are required ahead of your visit. From US-101 in Morgan Hill, exit Bailey Ave. and go west 3 miles to McKean Rd. Go left on McKean and drive 6 miles (McKean turns into Uvas Rd.). Turn right onto Croy Rd. and go 4.5 miles to the park. The Waterfall Loop Trail starts at Black Oak Group Area. Dog-friendly!

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