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

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

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.

Looking across Uvas Canyon at some deforested lands at the top of the hill
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.


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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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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