Uvas Canyon County Park

If you’re looking for a hike to escape a hot day near Silicon Valley, Uvas Canyon is the place for you. Uvas Canyon offered us a tree canopy that kept us well-shaded and the sounds of gently falling water alongside most of our hike. Waterfall Loop Trail offers a short ~1 mile trail past 3 of the park's named waterfalls, over and alongside many rocks and trees covered in bright green moss.

Mossy Rocks at Swanson Creek, Uvas Canyon
Mossy Rocks at Swanson Creek, Uvas Canyon

My kids loved crossing the many bridges and the occasional rock-hopping to cross Swanson Creek. The tree canopy over us kept us relatively dry throughout most of our walk, despite the rain over us. It was amazing to see this type of landscape in often drought-stricken California, one that very much reminds me of wet Washington state. Watch out for poison oak.

Creek Crossing at Uvas Canyon
Creek Crossing at Uvas Canyon

We went beyond Waterfall Loop, connecting to Contour Trail then to a portion of Alec CanyonTrail to make our way back to the car. Our total mileage with detours and side trips came to about 5 miles. The hike comprised of a gentle uphill or downhill slope most of the time. Shoes with good grip are highly recommended. Walking sticks might be useful for some. The kids and I did okay, but I could see that my mom might have preferred a walking stick… she got a helping hand instead and she managed just fine. As we made our way to the parking lot, we saw a sign warning of mountain lions. We did not have any encounters but it's always a good idea to keep kids close while hiking.

One of waterfalls we saw at Uvas Canyon
One of waterfalls we saw at Uvas Canyon

There were many picnic spots near the park entrance, flushing restrooms and a big parking lot. We arrived at the park about 2pm on a rainy Saturday and had the place mostly to ourselves. I hear that weekends can get pretty busy, so if you are coming on a fair weather weekend day, you might want to consider arriving early and perhaps with a back-up plan in case the parking lots are full. The road to Uvas Canyon is long, windy and narrow, especially near the end when it becomes a one lane roadway through a private property dedicated to the Swedish Crown Prince. The entrance fee into the park is $6 (as of 2016). Be sure to pick up a trails map near the parking lot. There are also campgrounds available run by Santa Clara County.

I understand that there are two reservoirs (Uvas and Chesbro) closeby for fishing and non-power boating. No swimming or wading is allowed in Santa Clara County Parks as indicated in their brochure.

Practical Information (as of May 2016):

Features: 3-4 Waterfalls, mossy rocks, bridge hopping and canopying trees
Address: 8515 Croy Rd, Morgan Hill, CA, the road in is a one-lane, slightly rough road but our low clearance sedan made it in to the large parking lot
Hours: 8am to sunset, waterfalls are likely seasonal based on the amount of recent rain
Amenities: picnic tables, restrooms, campground (Camping reservations)
Fees: $6
Dogs: allowed on 6 ft (of less) leashes
Website: For most updated information like reservation requirements etc please visit website