Triple Falls

Uvas Canyon County Park / Morgan Hill / Santa Clara County, California, USA

Rating: 1     Difficulty: 2.5
Triple Falls in low water flow

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Triple Falls was kind of the lone wolf waterfall within the boundaries of the Uvas Canyon County Park mostly because it was a bit out of the way in Alec Canyon compared to the other six waterfalls we had encountered in and around the Waterfalls Loop along Swanson Creek. Just doing the out-and-back hike to this waterfall required an additional 90 minutes. And it was because of the extra effort it took us to get here that I decided to give this waterfall its own write-up instead of including it in an already packed write-up for the rest of the Uvas Canyon Waterfalls. Even though the hike was a modest 2.6 miles round trip (more or less), the trail was time consuming in that there was quite a bit of steep elevation gain for a good part of this hike into Alec Canyon.

As for the waterfall itself, its isolation from the rest of the waterfalls meant that the trail to get up there was very quiet and peaceful (although our experience with the Waterfalls Loop was also pretty quiet relatively speaking). The scenery was also a bit more varied as the elevation gain meant we climbed above most of the trees and were able to get birdseye views of Uvas Canyon as well as the neighboring canyons and gullies along with all the developments within. That said, Triple Falls was fed by a different stream, and during our visit, it had quite a bit less waterflow than what we had seen earlier in Swanson Creek (as you can see in the photo at the top of this page). So I'd imagine it would be best to visit this falls during a Wet Winter shortly after some pretty substantial rainfall had fallen.

From the Uvas Canyon County Park parking lot, we followed the familiar trail through the picnic area upstream along Swanson Creek before leaving the Waterfalls Loop Trail onto the Alec Canyon Trail to the left at about a quarter-mile from the trailhead. Once we were on the Alec Canyon Trail, it immediately started climbing steeply, and this uphill stretch would persist for the next half-mile, which took my mother and I about 20 minutes to get up to an overlook with a bench where the uphill climb started to flatten out. At this overlook, we managed to get obstructed views down and across Uvas Canyon where we could see the drier terrain further to the east in the direction of Morgan Hill while we could see lush greenery across the canyon, where there was a surprising number of exclusive estates (and the cleared forest to accommodate these developments).

Beyond this overlook, the climb was less severe as it followed the contour of the mountain while going past the junction with the one end of the Contour Trail (the other end was between Upper Falls and Basin Falls in the Waterfalls Loop described here). The trail continued to persist along the contour of the mountain we were on for the next half-mile until we reached Manzanita Point some ten minutes after leaving the first overlook. At Manzanita Point, we were able to get a clearer view of the canyon scenery to the east of Uvas Canyon as well as see the side canyon we were about to enter (Alec Canyon).

As the trail curved to the right to enter Alec Canyon, it descended for the next quarter-mile as it re-entered the shade of the forest, where we then encountered a trail junction. We kept right at this junction to go the last 0.2 miles to Triple Falls. This last stretch undulated along the creek responsible for Triple Falls, and it was interesting in that we were walking amongst several coastal redwood trees that seemed to be a bit more abundant than what we encountered within Uvas Canyon itself. As for the creek, it was eerily quiet as we were worried Triple Falls wouldn't be flowing, but as we went further up the trail, we started to see bits of the stream, which meant that the water tended to be concealed beneath the debris deposited in the creek. And the further up the trail we went, the more of the stream we started to see. Eventually, the trail would dead-end at the viewpoint of Triple Falls, where we finally got to see the three-tiered thin drop totalling probably 40-50ft or so.

Once we got our fill of this falls, we went back the way we came. Even though the hike back was mostly downhill, we did have to climb uphill on the initial stretch where we had to get back to the overlook at Manzanita Point. Then, when we had to descend the steep part back to the Uvas Canyon County Park parking lot, we had to be careful not to slip and fall due to the steep grade of the trail.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Mom standing besides the imposing Castle Rock, which resided in Castle Rock State Park not far from San Jose and Morgan HillMom standing besides the imposing Castle Rock, which resided in Castle Rock State Park not far from San Jose and Morgan Hill
The Uvas Canyon Waterfalls Loop featured many waterfalls, including the Upper Falls shown hereThe Uvas Canyon Waterfalls Loop featured many waterfalls, including the Upper Falls shown here
Mom about to start on the hiking trails from the Uvas Canyon County Park parking lotMom about to start on the hiking trails from the Uvas Canyon County Park parking lot

Starting the steep ascent up the Alec Canyon Trail as we were leaving the Uvas Canyon floorStarting the steep ascent up the Alec Canyon Trail as we were leaving the Uvas Canyon floor

The fencing at this curve in the Alec Canyon Trail appeared to be protecting some kind of small power station probably harnessing the power of Swanson CreekThe fencing at this curve in the Alec Canyon Trail appeared to be protecting some kind of small power station probably harnessing the power of Swanson Creek

Although the initial climb up towards Alec Canyon was only about a half-mile long, it felt a lot longer than that due to how relentlessly uphill it wasAlthough the initial climb up towards Alec Canyon was only about a half-mile long, it felt a lot longer than that due to how relentlessly uphill it was

Going up another switchback as the trail continued its relentless climb above Uvas CanyonGoing up another switchback as the trail continued its relentless climb above Uvas Canyon

When the Alec Canyon Trail finally relented on its initial ascent, we reached this overlook where we managed to get partial views of both Uvas Canyon and the region to the eastWhen the Alec Canyon Trail finally relented on its initial ascent, we reached this overlook where we managed to get partial views of both Uvas Canyon and the region to the east

This was the view from that first lookout directed to the eastThis was the view from that first lookout directed to the east

Beyond the first overlook, the trail flattened out a little as it followed the contour of the mountain we were on while also providing some shadeBeyond the first overlook, the trail flattened out a little as it followed the contour of the mountain we were on while also providing some shade

Mom at the second lookout at Manzanita PointMom at the second lookout at Manzanita Point

This was the view to the east from Manzanita PointThis was the view to the east from Manzanita Point

Now the Alec Canyon Trail descended towards the next gully, which happened to be the one that would harbor Triple FallsNow the Alec Canyon Trail descended towards the next gully, which happened to be the one that would harbor Triple Falls

We kept right at this junction to go the last 0.2 miles to Triple FallsWe kept right at this junction to go the last 0.2 miles to Triple Falls

The nice thing about the last 0.2 miles of the trail was the surpring amount of coastal redwood trees concentrated hereThe nice thing about the last 0.2 miles of the trail was the surprising amount of coastal redwood trees concentrated here

Mom being dwarfed by the coastal redwoods along the trailMom being dwarfed by the coastal redwoods along the trail

The canyon walls started closing in as we were approaching the trail's endThe canyon walls started closing in as we were approaching the trail's end

Finally at the end of the trail with a view of Triple FallsFinally at the end of the trail with a view of Triple Falls

Now Mom and I were headed back while getting to walk besides these towering coastal redwoods once againNow Mom and I were headed back while getting to walk besides these towering coastal redwoods once again

This initial ascent back to Manzanita Point was the only uphill stretch before it was all downhill back to the car parkThis initial ascent back to Manzanita Point was the only uphill stretch before it was all downhill back to the car park

Mom headed back down towards the first overlookMom headed back down to the first overlook

Finally returning to the main Waterfalls Loop Trail complex as we finally finished the steep descent of the Alec Canyon TrailFinally returning to the main Waterfalls Loop Trail complex as we finally finished the steep descent of the Alec Canyon Trail


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Left to right sweep checking out Triple Falls before examining it more closely towards the end


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

The Triple Falls hike begins from the same car park as that of the Uvas Canyon Waterfalls at the Uvas Canyon County Park. So see that page for the driving directions.

For context, Morgan Hill (the town nearest to this falls) was 22 miles (under 30 minutes drive) southeast of San Jose, 69 miles (over an hour drive) southeast of San Francisco, and 321 miles (over 4.5 hours drive) northwest of Los Angeles.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES





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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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