Tag Archives: Contour Trail

Waterfalls at Uvas Canyon

It was chilly this morning!

We decided to try out a new park that we hadn’t been to before, and browsed the Bay Area Hiker website for inspiration. We decided upon going to Uvas Canyon County Park, and based our hike on the one described here.

The described hike is a loop of 3.2 miles, but we decided to add a little extra to take in another waterfall, and a nice view across to the Diablo range in the east bay from Manzanita Point:

View from Manzanita Point

Parking in the main lot, take the road past the restrooms (featuring running water and SOAP!!!!!) up to the start of the waterfall loop trail. Take the left fork – Alec Canyon Trail, follow the steep trail up to the junction with Contour trail (0.5 miles), instead of going right, for an extra workout and view keep on Alec Canyon Trail up to the junction with the Triple Falls Trail (0.5 miles), taking in Manzanita Point on the way. The walk up to Triple Falls from this junction is 0.2 miles each way, or you can continue on Alec Canyon Trail 0.3 miles towards the Old Logging Camp. Or both 😉

Triple Falls
Triple Falls

We then returned to the junction with the Contour Trail, and followed this to the Basin Falls Trail (1.6 miles), past the Upper Falls and the site of the old Hot House, where all that remains is a sign and some twisty rusted pipes:

Old Hot House Pipes

Upper Falls
Upper Falls

Basin Falls is 0.1 miles each way from this junction.

Continue across the bridge (0.1 miles) towards the junction with Knobcone Trail (a steep there-and-back-again trail of 0.4 miles to Knobcone Point) and then continue onto the Waterfall Loop Road. There is another short 0.1 mile trail just off here to Black Rock Falls.

Black Rock Falls
Black Rock Falls

From here continue following the Waterfall Loop Road down to the parking lot.

2016.02.01 Endomondo Data

It was a really lovely hike, nice and shaded, so still would be great on a sunny warm day.

The Santa Clara County Park website for this park includes both a trail map, and a nature trail guide for the (mostly) wheelchair accessible Waterfall Loop.

Birthday Hike with Wife and Madonna

So, turns out the US was nice enough to have a holiday for Mrs M’s birthday this year, and she decided what better way to start the day than an nice gentle hike. Unfortunately actual Madonna was busy, so instead we chose to hike at Mt Madonna. We have been to Mt Madonna before, which mostly involved hiking in the clouds, so this time was quite different. Thankfully the trails are mostly sheltered under the canopies of the <insert correct tree type here, I’m not sure exactly what they are but they are big> trees, and with it being another scorcher of a day here in the Bay, it was a little cooler up in the mountains, and a perfect day for a hike. We set off early and collected our fearless leader D’Ivy [Dog Ivy, as opposed to our human friend of the same name, H’Ivy]. After a windy (that’s winding roads, not a blustery gale) drive up Pole Line Road from Hecker Pass Hwy, we reached the main entrance. Expect to pay $6 to the friendly Park Ranger Person, and then be on your way. We parked by the Amphitheater and made sure to start our various FitBits, watches and phones to record our progress.


Setting off along the Upper Miller Trail, we joined Blue Springs Trail and continued to descend (much to Steph’s delight) to meet Pole Line Road. More shady downhill sections followed as we took BlackHawk trail along the creek (which, unlike its name suggests does not contain any actual water). BlackHawk Trail is only partially open, as landslide activity has permanently closed a large section of the trail after the junction with Contour Trail. This diversion means taking Contour Trail towards Ridge Trail, where there are options for a long loop (continuing to Sprig Recreation Area and the start of the Merry-Go-Round Trail), or a shorter alternative via Tie Camp Trail.


Opting for the shorter route, as things were hotting up and we didn’t fancy the full extent of the climb back from 560ft, we continued our Hike along Tie Camp Trail,  starting at around 1000ft and winding its way slowing back along the ridge under the trees to intersect Merry-Go-Round at around 1400ft. Here the climb becomes a little more exposed… IMG_2192

After a half mile, we took Loop Trail heading south until it meets the cut-off, which was our only option at this point as the main Loop Trail was closed. After a short but fairly steep climb up Loop Trail Cut-Off, we reached Lower Miller Trail, and soon after the car park was visible again. Clocking just about 5 miles, and nearly 1000ft descent/ascent, we totally deserved a Stack’s brunch, so we set off back down the mountain and headed to Campbell to continue Wife’s birthday celebrations.


Lindsay’s Notes: I would recommend doing this hike backwards, particularly on a warm day, as the later portion of the hike is much more exposed, so better to do this going downhill than to have sunshine and incline, and then the uphill hike will be nice and shady 🙂