Triple Falls

Uvas Canyon County Park / Morgan Hill, California, USA

About Triple Falls


Hiking Distance: 2.6 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 90 minutes

Date first visited: 2016-05-19
Date last visited: 2016-05-19

Waterfall Latitude: 37.07806
Waterfall Longitude: -121.79445

Triple Falls was kind of the lone wolf waterfall within the boundaries of the Uvas Canyon County Park.

We say this 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.

Uvas_Canyon_237_05192016 - Triple Falls - the lone wolf of the Uvas Canyon Waterfalls
Triple Falls – the lone wolf of the Uvas Canyon Waterfalls

Just doing the out-and-back hike to this waterfall required an additional 90 minutes.

As a result of this extra effort it took us to get here, 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.

Uvas_Canyon_247_05192016 - Context of the Manzanita Overlook on the way up to the Triple Falls as we climbed towards Alec Canyon
Context of the Manzanita Overlook on the way up to the Triple Falls as we climbed towards Alec Canyon

That said, 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.

So I’d imagine it would be best to visit this falls during a Wet Winter shortly after some pretty substantial rainfall had fallen.

Hiking to Triple Falls in Alec Canyon

Uvas_Canyon_192_05192016 - This is the trail junction where we had to keep left to climb onto the Alec Canyon Trail (the Waterfalls Loop Trail was on the right
This is the trail junction where we had to keep left to climb onto the Alec Canyon Trail (the Waterfalls Loop Trail was on the right

From the Uvas Canyon County Park parking lot, we followed the familiar trail through the picnic area upstream along Swanson Creek.

However, at a signed fork about a quarter-mile from the trailhead (before the bridge fronting Granuja Falls), we kept left to go on the Alec Canyon Trail, which climbed above Uvas Canyon.

The climb immediately started off steeply, and this grade would persist for the next half-mile.

It took my mother and I about 20 minutes to get up to an overlook with a bench where the uphill climb finally started to flatten out.

Uvas_Canyon_201_05192016 - View from the overlook looking across Uvas Canyon at some deforested lands towards the top of the hill
View from the overlook looking across Uvas Canyon at some deforested lands towards the top of the hill

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.

At the same time, 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.

By the way, the Contour Trail junction was at the other end of the trail junction between Upper Falls and Basin Falls in the Waterfalls Loop described here.

Uvas_Canyon_220_05192016 - Mom descending towards Alec Canyon, which was the next canyon over from Uvas Canyon as we pursued Triple Falls
Mom descending towards Alec Canyon, which was the next canyon over from Uvas Canyon as we pursued Triple Falls

The Alec Canyon 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, and we were also able to start seeing 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 the next trail junction.

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

Uvas_Canyon_227_05192016 - Passing by lots more coastal redwood trees on the way to Triple Falls in Alec Canyon
Passing by lots more coastal redwood trees on the way to Triple Falls in Alec Canyon

This last stretch undulated along the creek, and it was interesting in that we were walking amongst several coastal redwood trees.

There was noticeably more of these trees in this section 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.

However, 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.

Uvas_Canyon_240_05192016 - Approaching the dead-end at the Triple Falls in Alec Canyon
Approaching the dead-end at the Triple Falls in Alec Canyon

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.

Uvas_Canyon_251_05192016 - Mom descending towards one of the overlooks on the Alec Canyon Trail as we were making our way back to the Uvas Canyon County Park trailhead
Mom descending towards one of the overlooks on the Alec Canyon Trail as we were making our way back to the Uvas Canyon County Park trailhead

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.

Authorities

Triple Falls resides in the Uvas Canyon County Park in Morgan Hill in Santa Clara County, California. It is administered by Santa Clara County Parks. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Uvas_Canyon_004_05192016 - Mom about to start on the hiking trails from the Uvas Canyon County Park parking lot
Uvas_Canyon_194_05192016 - 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 Creek
Uvas_Canyon_196_05192016 - 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 was
Uvas_Canyon_199_05192016 - Mom going up another switchback as the Alec Canyon Trail continued its relentless climb above Uvas Canyon
Uvas_Canyon_202_05192016 - 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 east
Uvas_Canyon_204_05192016 - This was the view from that first lookout on the Alec Canyon Trail as we directed our gaze to the east
Uvas_Canyon_206_05192016 - Looking back at the bench by the first overlook on the Alec Canyon Trail in pursuit of the Triple Falls
Uvas_Canyon_209_05192016 - Beyond the first overlook, the Alec Canyon Trail flattened out a little as it followed the contour of the mountain we were on while also providing some shade
Uvas_Canyon_210_05192016 - Approaching the bench for the Manzanita Point Lookout as we pursued the Triple Falls
Uvas_Canyon_213_05192016 - Mom enjoying the view from the bench at the Manzanita Point while taking a momentary breather on the Alec Canyon Trail in pursuit of the Triple Falls
Uvas_Canyon_214_05192016 - Context of Mom at the second lookout on the Alec Canyon Trail (Manzanita Point)
Uvas_Canyon_215_05192016 - This was the view to the east from Manzanita Point along the Alec Canyon Trail to Triple Falls
Uvas_Canyon_224_05192016 - We kept right at this steep trail junction to go the last 0.2 miles to Triple Falls
Uvas_Canyon_230_05192016 - Mom being dwarfed by the coastal redwoods along the trail leading to the Triple Falls in Alec Canyon
Uvas_Canyon_232_05192016 - The canyon walls started closing in while the trail became narrower against the creek as we were approaching the trail's end at Triple Falls
Uvas_Canyon_234_05192016 - Finally arriving at the Triple Falls at the end of our out-and-back uphill hike in Uvas Canyon County Park
Uvas_Canyon_242_05192016 - Now Mom and I were headed back after getting our fill of Triple Falls while getting to walk besides these towering coastal redwoods once again
Uvas_Canyon_243_05192016 - Mom towered over by coastal redwood trees on the way back from Triple Falls
Uvas_Canyon_245_05192016 - This initial ascent back to Manzanita Point was the only uphill stretch before it was all downhill back to the parking lot on the way back from Triple Falls
Uvas_Canyon_252_05192016 - Finally returning to the main Waterfalls Loop Trail complex as we finally finished the steep descent of the Alec Canyon Trail

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The Triple Falls hike begins from the same parking lot 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.

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

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Tagged with: uvas canyon, county park, morgan hill, san jose, california, bay area, northern california, waterfall, gilroy, alec canyon, santa clara, manzanita point



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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