Waterfall Loop Nature Trail
ElevationAscent: 320' 97 m
Descent: -318' -97 m
High: 1,464' 446 m
Low: 1,145' 349 m
GradeAvg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 56% (29°)
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“This is a fun trail with many waterfalls to explore and a huge variety of lush vegetation including flowering bushes.”— Joan Pendleton
Reservations are 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.
Five beautiful waterfalls are passed on Waterfall Loop Nature Trail along with short side trips from this nature trail. All are named and labeled. There is a huge variety of lush creekside vegetation along the trail. Several plants, bushes, and trees are identified by number and described in a pamphlet that can be picked up at the trailhead.
To find Waterfall Loop Nature Trail from the parking area, take the park road toward the campground. While still on the park road, cross a bridge over Swanson Creek. Immediately after crossing the creek, turn left onto the trail at the sign that marks the start of Waterfall Loop Nature Trail. The trail runs along Swanson Creek with the creek to the left of the trail for a very short ways, then climbs stairs, turns left, and crosses back over Swanson Creek on a sturdy bridge. Granuja Falls can be seen slightly upstream of this bridge. Waterfall Loop Nature Trail is on Swanson Creek Trail for this section.
Shortly after crossing Swanson Creek at Granuja Falls, Waterfall Loop Nature Trail joins Waterfall Loop Road. A sign at this trail junction points the way to continue this Nature Trail.
After merging with Waterfall Loop Road, Waterfall Loop Nature Trail re-crosses Swanson Creek on another bridge, and then climbs above the creek. The creek is below and 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 0.45-mile mark. It's 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 Nature Trail 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 Nature Trail travels right next to the creek at creek level. Little Falls is passed, and an unbridged Swanson Creek crossing is reached at the 0.9-mile mark. After crossing the creek, the trail returns to its 0.1-mile mark near a bridge that it crossed earlier. Re-cross Swanson Creek on this bridge and then at the Swanson Creek Trail junction, continue straight following an arrow showing the way to the parking lot.
Waterfall Loop Nature Trail ends at the park road very near the parking area.
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We need help with the following missing trail information:
Need to Know, Runner Notes, History & Background
Land Manager: Santa Clara County Parks