Why waterfalls hikes can suck?

Maxx’s first birthday was coming up on a Saturday. He’s been to the beaches several times, but never really into the woods. So I really wanted to take him on a beautiful hike, on his birthday. While looking for dog-friendly hiking trails, I came across Uvas Canyon County Park, which has lovely hiking trails along waterfalls. I love waterfalls hikes, so we decided to bring him here on this birthday.

Since we started a little late in the morning, I was bit worried about the availability of parking space, but luckily there was quite a handful of empty spots. The road to the county park itself is not one of the most fun drives. If you are prone to car sickness, the serpentine roads don’t help at all. Fortunately, the roads are curvy just for a few miles.

Hello there... Do I look cute?
Hello there… Do I look cute?

Just before the entrance to the park, we saw a herd of deers – most likely mom and her two fawns. I slowed the car, to not scare them away, but as soon as they saw the car moving, they hopped off into the forest. One fawn decided to pose for us, before hopping off into the woods and joining its siblings.

Maxx - Ready to go?
Maxx – Ready to go?

After grabbing a free map, we did the waterfall loop trail, which runs along the Swanson Creek. I’m pretty sure the creek would have been a lot lovelier after the rains. When we visited, the water level was very very low. California drought in action! Since the creek was very shallow, we let Maxx play in it; he certainly had a hell a lot of fun!


The trail took us through the Upper Falls and Basin Falls. Though the water levels were low, the Upper Falls was pretty. There was no water at all at the Basin Falls, perhaps just a few droplets coyly dripping over the boulders.

Upper Falls - Impact of the drought!
Upper Falls – Impact of the drought!

We continued on the trail and took the Contour Trail to make a big loop and join the parking lot. The trail is well shaded, narrow and slippery in a few places due to small gravels. If it were just my husband and I, we would have enjoyed it. With my hyperactive big puppy, it was challenging navigating through the narrow and steep trails. Every time he saw a little bird, he would act like a wild dog and try to run after it.

Parts of the trail are moderately challenging and at the end of the hike, you’ll feel like you’ve got a decent workout. We spotted a rattlesnake on the trail; watch out for mountain lions as well.

I’d love to come back again, when there is more water in the creek. Else, it just becomes like any other humdrum, non-scenic hiking trail.

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