Waterfalls and Wine Pours

Hike to a series of waterfalls at Uvas Canyon County Park

Cooler temps, green hills, and the return of our magnificent waterfalls! This family-friendly 2-mile hike at Uvas Canyon County Park in Morgan Hill is a great way to get the most out of a short hike post-rain.

From the main parking lot, follow signs for the Waterfall Loop, a beautifully wooded trail that runs above the creek.

Be mindful of the massive clusters of ladybugs along the trail. In wintertime, thousands of ladybugs will group tightly together for protection, warmth, and to mate before they go into hibernation. The creekside forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains are one of their favorite spots.

After crossing the small bridge, Black Rock Falls is immediately on the right. Walk up the short spur trail beside the waterfall for an even better view of how this mighty river has cut through the canyon over time.

Less than one tenth of a mile up the trail, hikers can stop and have a bite to eat at the picnic area. This is a great spot for families to relax and for kids to splash in the water. Just beyond the picnic spot are two waterfalls: Basin Falls and Upper Falls.

Retrace the route back down to the road and turn left onto Lower Swanson Creek Trail. A rustic footbridge makes for a perfect photo op in front of beautiful Granuja Falls.

Descend the stone staircase and continue another tenth of a mile to visit the final waterfall: Lower Falls. Lower Falls can be observed from both the top and bottom, so you can hike down below the falls as well.

To return to the parking lot, hike back up the Lower Swanson Creek Trail and retrace your steps to the lot.

BONUS WINE: Visit the nearby wine region in Morgan Hill and Gilroy, known for its oaky chardonnays and bold cabs. Drop in at any of the 30+ wineries and enjoy a pour! (Pictured: Kirigin Cellars.)

{DECEMBER 2023 NOTE: Due to recent storm activity, check the status of this hike before planning to go.} Uvas Canyon can be found at 8515 Croy Rd., Morgan Hill. From US-101, exit onto Bailey Ave., then turn left onto McKean Rd. Turn right onto Croy Rd. After 4.5 miles, turn into the parking lot. The park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset. A $6 reservation is required for entry. Dog-friendly!

Story and photos by Heather Werner, @heath.er.wer.ner

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Golden Gate's Blue Heron

    Golden Gate Park’s Blue Heron Lake is home to birds of many feathers, turtles lounging on rocks, visitors from afar, and locals who love this urban oasis in San Francisco. Try the "Boats and Breakfast" rowboat or pedal boat deal.

  2. Cañada Collage

    This 4.3-mile loop through Cañada Del Oro Open Space Preserve showcases all the highlights of the season, thrumming with wildlife and wildflowers.

  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais into Muir Woods

    Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

  4. Hike Kortum Trail on the Sonoma Coast

    GOAT Coastal Hike + Sunset

    GOAT (greatest of all time) Sonoma Coast experience? Hike the Kortum Trail, wine taste on a patio overlooking the Russian River, and catch a sensational sunset at, yep, Goat Rock Beach.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Camp at Goose Lake in the Lakes Basin

    Duck, Duck, Goose!

    Try to get a first-come, first-served campsite at one of the Lakes Basin’s lakeside campgrounds. We love Goose Lake Campground, where there are just 13 sites and no motorized boats.

  2. Fancy Camp

    Wanna go rugged on the coast, minus the whole pitching your own tent and sleeping on the ground bit? Mendocino Grove is spot-on for upgrading your roughing-it experience, with beautifully appointed tent-cabins set across the bluffs overlooking Mendocino Bay.

  3. A Splash of Whiskeytown

    Located just 8 miles west of Redding and surrounded by mountain peaks, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is nearly 40,000 acres of all things outdoors: waterfalls, campgrounds, beaches, hiking trails, and a beautiful crystal-clear lake at the center of it all.

  4. Bucks Up!

    Come on in, the water is beautiful. Whether you like swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddling, or heading out on a bigger boat, Bucks Lake is a high mountain haven that’s easy to access, blissfully uncrowded, and surrounded by sandy beaches, picnic areas, pines, and aspens.