Swanson Creek, Uvas Canyon Park
In the wake of a good spring drenching, the Uvas Canyon Waterfall Loop Trail near Morgan Hill in the South Bay’s Santa Cruz Mountains rewards with easy footing and sights to put a smile on your face and a wag on Scout’s tail. Think of the 1-mile path, with its multiple footbridges and lush, rocky backdrop, as a scenic promenade with a rushing-water sound track.
You’ll come first to Black Rock Falls, which impresses with a loud and zesty 30-foot drop. About a tenth of a mile past the far end of the loop are the smaller Upper Falls and Basin Falls, the latter of which is an idyllic spot for a picnic.
You and Scout can get some aerobics in by extending your hike to 5-plus miles and enjoying a fourth waterfall in the bargain. Cross over Swanson Creek at the far western end of the Waterfall Loop, switchback your way up the Contour Trail and take a break on the ridge to catch your breath before continuing on to Triple Falls, the most secluded cascade in Uvas Canyon County Park. Going this route subjects you to a stout, 1,400-foot elevation gain, so be sure to pack some energy bars for yourself and some extra kibble for your four-legged friend.