Uvas Canyon Waterfall Hike

San Francisco Swanson Creek Trail

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    1.5 Miles

Dog Friendly
Picnic Area

Short hike to see the park's amazing waterfalls and closely located to a campground and picnic sites if you want to extend your stay. These springfed falls operate year round, but are most prominent during the rainy months.

Uvas Canyon offers up to 6-miles of hiking trails, which includes a 1.5 mile loop, which runs along Swanson Creek and passes many of the park's waterfalls. To take short loop, head North out of the parking lot to the Swanson Creek Trail. Once you find Swanson Creek Trail, you'll be on the Waterfall Loop trail and will take this past more than a few sets of falls before returning to the car.

Looking for something a little longer? After parking your car, head toward waterfall loop. As you see the loop starting off to the right, remain on Alec Canyon Trail. Take this trail until you reach Contour Trail and head to the right on Contour. Keep an eye out as Contour Trail is very narrow. Once you hit Swanson Creek, take a second to catch you breath and keep an eye out for where the trail crosses the stream. After crossing the stream, head uphill toward Basin Falls. You can take a quick hike up the path to enjoy the falls. Once you're back, continue on Waterfall Loop Fire Road. Stay on this road as it's wider and more stable than the Waterfall Loop Trail. This trail will return you to your car. This option creates a little over a 3-mile hike.

Looking to make a day of it after the hike? Head to Loma Prieta Winery to enjoy a glass and the view.

Photo: the_tahoe_guy

Pack List

  • Hiking Shoes or Boots
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Camera
  • Food for after the hike if you want to picnic
Read More


Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

Looks like the road washed out and had a few mud slides. I'm not sure when it will be opened back up.

2 months ago
2 months ago

It's a short but sweet loop around several beautiful waterfalls! The hike is completely shaded, with several picnic locations throughout the trail and so many photo opportunities along the way! A perfect hike for all levels and ages, with a small uphill portion in the beginning. Definitely recommend checking this park out after some rainfall but it's still a beauty even without significant rainfall! It's a very well maintained park with an $8 entrance fee that you can either pay by card or cash (handy for people who don't carry around cash), several maps are also available to keep, and clean bathrooms will lead the way for the start of the Waterfall Loop hike!

10 months ago
10 months ago

Parking is difficult in the AM, but it lightens up after lunch. Nice and easy scenic hike.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Had a great time on this hike. Loved that it's kid friendly. Next time I'll definitely pack a lunch for a picnic.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

My family and I love the waterfall loop. My four and six year old can both do it, no problem. It's just long enough to stretch little legs and beautiful enough for me and my husband. The hike starts off climbing stairs and is uphill the first half. But the way back down is pure delight. The path takes you right next to the river, over bridges and under a fallen tree. It's loads of fun for the kids. The only downside is the drive to get to the park. It's a bit slow and long, but it's worth it. Spring is the best time to go, flowing water and everything is green and mossy!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Waterfalls are flowing nicely during the Spring. Summer... not so much. Easy to hike, not too crowded.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

It was our first time coming here & it was such a gorgeous hike! Pretty challenging, wouldn't recommend for beginners, but the Waterfall Loop Trail was amazing because the whole trail is streams & waterfalls! The Contour Trail was a nice view too seeing the mountain tops overlooking everything.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Skunks. Poison Oak. And traffic. Not worth the drive

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

A great family friendly and dog friendly hike. Nice views and a good workout. Has some nice areas along the stream and waterfalls to let your dog swim and play in the water.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

This was a super fun short hike. The scenery was so magical like it was something out of the lord of the rings.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Light hike that was great for the whole family. Bring a lunch and enjoy the beauty!!

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Nearby Adventures

Hike to Black Mountain and Stevens Creek Canyon

San Francisco / Monte Bello Open Space Preserve Parking Lot

This hike can be done during any season, but for the creek to be running and for more comfortable temperatures, it is best to go on a cool winter or spring day.

35 Saves

Hike the Steep Ravine and Bootjack Trails Loop

San Francisco / Bootjack Campground

This hike is best done in the winter and spring in order for the creeks and waterfalls to be flowing. Park at the Bootjack Campground in Mount Tamalpais State Park.

36 Saves

Hike the Arastradero Preserve Loop

San Francisco / Arastradero Preserve

Getting There: From Hwy 280, take the Page Mill Road exit and head West on Page Mill Road, away from Downtown Palo Alto (if you're taking 101, exit on Oregon Expressway).

30 Saves