Waterfalls and Wine Pours

Hike to a series of waterfalls at Uvas Canyon County Park

{NOTE: Due to recent storm activity, a section of the Waterfall Loop is closed, so this hike is currently an out-and-back. Hikers can still get up-close to every wonderful waterfall except Triple Falls.}

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.)

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. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park waterfall hike in Sonoma Valley

    Sweet as Sugarloaf

    Right in the heart of wine country there’s plenty more than wine flowing right now, with an oft unheralded waterfall that has surged to an exuberant spectacle from all the recent rain.

    View
  2. Muiraculous Beauty

    Ready to make your non-California friends jealous? Have a bonfire at Muir Beach while watching the sunset. This is Northern California living at its most braggadocious.

    View
  3. From Town to Falls

    Mount Tam’s Cascade Falls is a bit under the radar, tucked back off a residential area in Mill Valley. Some people drive up to the tiny parking lot nearest to the falls. Do an easy 3-mile (round-trip) hike right from downtown Mill Valley, weaving through quiet streets and secret trails.

    View
  4. oak manor labyrinth

    Loma Alta's Hidden Labyrinth

    Oak Manor Labyrinth in Marin’s Loma Alta Open Space is a hidden gem with huge views. The 2-mile out-and-back hike to reach it is a bit steep in parts, but the payoff is a 360-degree joy to the wild (with a bit of cityscape).

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Sponsored

    Best in Snow

    There’s snow better destination for outdoor fun and events. Plumas County is a northern Sierra Nevada dreamland, with vast outdoor spaces, places, and races! Snowshoe Lassen Volcanic National Park, downhill ski at charming Coppervale Resort, and have a blast at the quirky Longboard Races.

    View
  2. Hike from Point Fermin Park to Angels Gate Park

    Park it Here

    Do a 2.5-mile scenic hike from Point Fermin Park to Angels Gate Park in Los Angeles. It’s got big trees, big ocean views, and a food and beer bonus!

    View
  3. Skull On!

    Temescal Canyon not only has epic views, it's got a waterfall right now, one that only shows after big rains. Head out on this 4.6-mile loop.

    View
  4. Two people walking towards Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point Orange County

    Getting Salty

    Long walks on the beach are great, but what about long walks to the beach? This 7.7-mile (round-trip) to the beautiful Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point is one of the best in Orange County.

    View