Milpitas Camera Club Field Trip
Field Trip: Uvas Canyon County Park
Trip Date: March 1, 2008
Report Author: Scott Hinrichs
Report Date: March 5, 2008

The Uvas Canyon County Park field trip is an attendance record breaker

The largest number of field trippers ever to go on a Milpitas Camera Club field trip converged on Uvas Canyon County Park the weekend of March 1, 2008. I estimate that more than 20 persons from our club, the Sunnyvale Camera Club and associates made up the group.

Uvas Canyon County Park is a secluded, 1,133-acre park located in upper Uvas Canyon about ten miles south of San Jose (a few miles off the old San Jose-Morgan Hill road). The park offers several trails, picnic areas and even 25 campsites. This year, the day-use fee had increased to $6 per vehicle.

Of course, this park is all about cascading watertorrents of water run down from numerous side canyons and converge to shoot down the rocky, main canyon in a noisy and beautiful display of hydro-batics. Here at Uvas, you can find high waterfalls or series of low cataracts. If you wanted, you could spend all day shooting the water as it rushes over the rocks that line the bottom of this beautiful canyon.

Saturday morning, our group arrived in small subgroups and dispersed itself throughout the canyon. Around every corner was a familiar face (usually with that familiar face buried in the viewfinder of a camera). The Waterfall Loop Trail was the basic attraction of this excursion. There are side trails, but they shoot up the sides of the hills, and are of interest mostly for the hikers (and our group had maybe two or three real hikers present). Daves better half took a jaunt up to Knobcone Point and came back with the recommendation not to hike up there because there is not much of a pay off at the top. (Payoff referring to a spectacular view or a specific attraction.)

All the payoffs for our group were in the many vistas of waterfalls visible from the loop trail or nestled in small side canyons near the trail. One in particular was Black Rock Falls, accessible by a short side trail (or by hopping a wooden barricade near the bridge). Near the top of the 3.2-mile loop trail was another very picturesque falls, Upper Falls, where group members waded into Swanson Creek to take their shots. The loop trail starts out at 1,100 feet above sea level and tops out at 1,800 feet in elevation.

As we returned on the other side of the creek there were numerous smaller falls and cataracts that might have provided good images, providing the photographer took the time to frame all the possibilities. All in all, there was way too much potential subject matter for our band of day-trippers to handle all at once.

Last year we encountered some Ladybird Beetlesknown to most as Lady Bugswhich were massed on the side of the trail in great numbers in a mating frenzy. This generally occurs every year, usually in February, but we were too late to catch the insects in their mating ritual for this years visit.

If you want to come to Uvas Canyon, wait for a big rain storm and come a day or so after it stops rainingthe creek will be running, you wont be standing in mud, and you wont be disappointed.

Thanks to all the Milpitas and Sunnyvale club members and their friends for the large turnout, you helped make it a fun trip!

© 2008 S.R. Hinrichs