Uvas Canyon County Park

We have driven by the signs for Uvas Canyon County Park several times but had never been. This was in part because the park had been closed for several years as a result of flooding damage or something like that. Recently Santa Clara County Parks re-opened the park on weekends only. Further, in order to go you needed to book in advance and purchase a parking permit. In addition to day use, the park also has a few campsites. Since I was already on the phone purchasing an annual parking pass, I figured I’d also get us a reservation for going to Uvas. We figured we might as well check it out and see if it was worth our while to go camping there.

Upon arrival at Uvas Canyon County Park, we discovered a pretty little park. It was only a 40 minute drive from home, which makes it one of the closer county parks with camping. It is also one of the smaller of the Santa Clara County parks, tucked into a Canyon within the Santa Cruz mountains just south of Morgan Hill.

We choose a loop hike, following the Waterfall Trail partway up the mountain, and then the Contour Trail across, and then returning to the parking lot via the Alex Canyon Trail.

The first noteworthy waterfall along our hike was Black Rock Falls.

Black Rock Falls and Becky searching discovering the trail above Black Rock Falls.
Falls near Myrtle Flats rest site.
Scott climbed town to get a better view of the waterfall (Upper Falls).
Upper Falls from Scott’s perspective.
Upper Falls from Becky’s perspective.

While Scott was perfecting his photos of the Upper Falls, Becky happened across a small bit of orange fungus, so she decided to try her hand at portrait mode on her phone.

A portrait of orange fungus.

Scott stopped to hug a redwood.

Redwood tree towering over the side of the trail.

After leaving the waterfalls, we entered the contour trail with a variety of different types of trees including the madrone, which sheds its bark as it grows.

Becky pointing at the ants living in the trunk of the madrone.

We came around a corner and saw a large madrone with something sticking out of the side of it. At first, Becky thought it was some kind of tree artwork – as it is not uncommon for people to attach things to trees to make faces. It turns out this was only the artwork of mother nature. It was part of the madrone itself!

An interesting old tree branch growth out of the side of a large madrone.
A small valley in the Contour Trail.

At one point, the forest on the side of the trail opened up and we could see the neighbouring ridge lines in the distance.

The neighbouring ridge lines.

The path widened out on the Alex Canyon Trail. We had hoped to check out more of this Trail, but we were getting pretty tired by this point and the day was getting late. The park is only open until 5pm and we needed to make sure we finished our hike well before then.

Scott taking a photo from the much wider Alec Canyon Trail.

And of course the requisite selfie.

The required selfie with a view.

One last vista before the parking lot.

View of the Santa Clara Valley in the distance.

Overall, it was a great hike at a great little park. We hope to return there to camp at some point, and perhaps to hike parts of the trail that we missed.

We hiked 5.25km with an 800ft elevation climb in just over 2 hours.

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