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Waterfall Loop Road

Easy/Intermediate

Trail

1.0 mile 1.5 kilometer point to point
75% Runnable
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 319' 97 m
Descent: -268' -82 m
High: 1,468' 448 m
Low: 1,149' 350 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 20% (11°)

Dogs

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Trail shared by Joan Pendleton

This is a fun trail with many waterfalls to explore and a huge variety of lush vegetation including flowering bushes.

Joan Pendleton

Features River/Creek · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Open 8 a.m. to sunset.

Reservations required on the weekend due to limited parking and traffic on a one lane road. See the park website for up to date information on how to get a reservation.

Description

Waterfall Loop "Road" is really a trail, but the signposts refer to it as Waterfall Loop Road in most, but not all, places. At least one place calls it Waterfall Loop Trail. Also, there are signposts for both Waterfall Loop Road (this trail description) and Waterfall Loop Nature Trail (a Featured Run). They differ slightly at their beginnings.

To find the Waterfall Loop Road, from the parking area, take the park road towards the campground. Watch carefully for a sign for Waterfall Loop Trail on the left. If while you are on the park road, you go over Swanson Creek on a bridge, you went too far.

Going left at the Waterfall Loop Trail sign from the park road, one begins running this Waterfall Loop Road trail in the thick woods of this area. Alec Canyon Trail is on the left after 0.1 miles. After about another 0.1 miles an unmarked trail comes in from the right. This is Swanson Creek Trail and where Waterfall Loop Nature Trail merges into Waterfall Loop Road. After this point, Waterfall Loop Road and Waterfall Loop Nature Trail are the same.

After merging with Waterfall Loop Nature Trail at the Swanson Creek Trail junction, Waterfall Loop Road crosses Swanson Creek on a sturdy bridge, and then climbs above the creek. The creek is below, to the left as the trail runs upstream. A short spur trail, Waterfall Loop Trail - Black Rock Falls Spur, that takes one to Black Rock Falls is passed at the 0.5 mile mark. It is well worth visiting.

Almost immediately after passing Waterfall Loop Trail - Black Rock Falls Spur, a picnic table is on the left at Myrtle Flats. Waterfall Loop Road makes a U-turn around the picnic table and begins heading downstream on a singletrack path that immediately descends to the creek. Continuing straight at the picnic table takes one to Basin Falls and Upper Falls on Basin Falls Trail. This is not marked. Basin Falls and Upper Falls are close by and very pretty waterfalls.

Going downstream, Waterfall Loop Road travels right next to the creek at creek level. Little Falls is passed, and an unbridged Swanson Creek crossing is reached at the 0.95-mile mark. After crossing the creek, the trail ends by completing its loop at the first bridge over Swanson Creek.

Flora & Fauna

There is a huge variety of lush creek side vegetation, bushes, flowering bushes, and trees. Pick up the Waterfall Loop Nature Trail pamphlet at the trailhead to learn about and identify several of them. Along the trail, many are numbered with corresponding numbers that have descriptions in this pamphlet.

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Contacts

Land Manager: Santa Clara County Parks

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Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 3 votes

#8835

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  4.0 from 3 votes
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Trail Rankings

#932

in California

#8,835

Overall
3 Views Last Month
59 Since Apr 17, 2018
Easy/Intermediate

33%
67%
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Photos

Upper Falls.
Apr 18, 2018 near Day Valley, CA
Swanson Creek cascades over moss covered rocks along Swanson Creek Trail.
Apr 18, 2018 near Day Valley, CA
Granuja Falls along Swanson Creek.
Apr 18, 2018 near Day Valley, CA
Little Falls along the Waterfall Loop Trail.
Apr 18, 2018 near Day Valley, CA
The Diablo Range in the far distance across Santa Clara Valley, comes into view beyond Santa Cruz Mountains as one climbs Knobcone Trail.
Apr 18, 2018 near Day Valley, CA
Nearby Santa Cruz Mountains to the northwest, seen from Alec Canyon Trail as it climbs steep switchbacks at the beginning.
Apr 18, 2018 near Day Valley, CA

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