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Upper Natural Bridge Trail is a 2.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Vallecito, California that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Length 2.1 mi Elevation gain 380 ft Route type Out & Back

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Cave

Forest

River

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Getting There

Note: As of June 26, 2020 users have reported that the Caves are currently CLOSED. This majestic spot features a large creek that flows through massive caves. Bring shoes that can get wet and a sense of adventure! Bring a tube to go through the cave! There are picnic tables along the trail and at the end of the trail as well. The river is shallow and has tons of areas for crawdad catching, tadpols, fish, or to put up a hammock! This is about an hour from Manteca. Great for kids, can get crowded.

Parking is on the left (if traveling from Tuolumne County)and is on what used to be the highway. A new stretch of road was built and the old piece was used for trailhead parking. There is also parking on a wide shoulder at the entrance. Vault toilet available, no other facilities.

Located on Parrott's Ferry Road, you can access from Calaveras County, Highway 4 to Parrott's Ferry Rd. You can also access from Tuolumne County, Highway 49 to Parrott's Ferry Rd. travling north to Columbia State Park. The trail head is 6 miles north of Columbia on Parrott's Ferry.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (496)
Photos (392)
Recordings (203)
Completed (1059)
Carol Pérez de Flores
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HikingRocky

This trail is very very crowded and full of trash. It’s a downhill to a creek/river and eventually to some really cool caves. You will get wet if you want to go into the caves, make sure you have water shoes/sandals. The trail is dirt about halfway through you have to climb over boulders following the water to the end...keep left of the river its easier. When you get to the cave you can hike up on the left side to go up and over so you can relax on the other side of the cave if you don’t want to get wet going through it. Trail smelled mostly of human feces.

Alina Bertalan
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Hiking

Loved everything about it!!!

Amanda Satter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking

We arrived around 8am on a Sunday. First car in the lot and first ones down. Water was cool but not terrible even at that hour. The water is deep through the caves so plan to swim or bring floaties. Yes, there's lots of trash still. We were back to the car by 915am and lot was full and we passed lots of big groups heading down. Even in non-COVID times it looked like it was about to get way too peopley for us!

Eva Frend
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 2, 2020
HikingRocky

Some parts shaded. Bring towels extra clothes, waterproof camera, watershoes, floaties flashlight if u plan to swim. Parking is usually full but may park side of road

Pita Mariscal
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 30, 2020
HikingBugsNo shadeRocky
Brigitta Kuykendall
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the cave is pretty but the trail is overused. there is trash and human waste everywhere. you recomend floaties, but people are leaving them down there. also lots of poison oak.

Jeremiah Johnston
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 28, 2020
Hiking

This used to be one of my favorite local hikes and still would be, but it is way overcrowded and lacking facilities for the amount of traffic it gets. Parking, restrooms and trash facilities are severely lacking and leading to a once beautiful location being way overused and trashed. If you’re going, please take a garbage bag and help clean this place up. Very sad to see it getting destroyed by overuse and general disrespect.

Carla Rivera
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 27, 2020
Hiking

The natural formation of the cavern is beautiful but this place was TRASHED. So sad to see such a pretty place full of garbage and plastic everywhere.

View Carla's Recording
Vero Ban
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 25, 2020
HikingRocky

Get there early, too many people by 9:30am on weekend.

View Vero's Recording
Phally Neang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 21, 2020
Hiking

Easy down hike to the cave, coming back out a slight incline but nothing hard. Tubing through the cave was the best part of this adventure.

View Phally's Recording
Brandy Phan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 21, 2020
HikingRocky
View Brandy's Recording
Haley Blythe
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking

We were warned about how crowded it gets so we got to the trail at 7:00 am, made our swim and hiked back. All done by 8:40! If you’re going to do this, definitely come early! It was a beautiful and refreshing early morning swim!

Carolyn Vilinskas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 18, 2020
Hiking

WAY TOO CROWDED! No ability to social distance or stay away from people. Very few people were even wearing masks. I’m sure the caves and swimming holes would have been beautiful if we could have even experienced them. Basically got there and noped back out as there was just too many people. Very steep coming up on the way back, made more difficult with the heat.

julie nash
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 17, 2020
Rocky

Trail was somewhat rocky, top two thirds of path are shaded, watch for poison oak. cave is cool. water very cold and refreshing. don't miss the swim holes downstream.

Cinthia Cholico
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 17, 2020
HikingRocky

Loved it, must wear water shoes the rocks can be painful, also try not to take too many things it makes it hard to carry everything down, but do carry tubes:) Fun beautiful space

Cecilia Iliesiu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 16, 2020
Hiking

Did this hike with my 73 year old parents. It wasn’t easy but it was so memorable and unique! Many other brought inner tubs. Highly recommend!

View Cecilia's Recording
Jason Garcia
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 15, 2020
Hiking

Gets there early as it gets crowded. The trail down is very rocky and it is easy to twist an ankle if you are not careful. The reward at the end of the trail is a beautiful cave that offers a very cold swim. Recommend bringing something to float on in order to enter the cave. My kids were brave enough to swim it.

Erick Mondragon
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Hiking

Nice trial not recommend if you have toddlers

Susana Tejeda
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HikingRocky
View Susana 's Recording
John Scampone
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 12, 2020
Hiking

1.8 mile hike

View John's Recording
Richard Reyes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 12, 2020
Hiking

Short hike, lots of shade. Gets kind of rocky on path. Cold water, easy to swim in cave. I advise to get their early as crowd gets big as day goes into afternoon. Overall nice little place

Jonah Hendler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2020
Hiking

Fun little hike. We got there super early which was good because it was packed by the time we left. Bring shoes for water, tube to float they the caverns, and swim stuff. Lots of fun!!

Fatina Miqbel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2020
HikingRocky

Not a bad hike down to the caverns. Perfect for days where you want a nice little hike and dip in the water. The caverns are beautiful.

View Fatina's Recording
Jeet Kaur
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 11, 2020
HikingRocky

Such a beautiful place and a pretty short hike, but there’s definitely a lot of people at the cave itself. It’s best to go early in the morning if you want a more peaceful experience.

Catalina Cortes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 9, 2020
HikingRocky

A beautiful place to come and cool down. Highly recommended water shoes and for fun some floats

Shawn Lomas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 7, 2020
HikingRocky
View Shawn's Recording
Tarsha Cheek
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2020
Hiking

This was the best place! People said the water was low. I can’t imagine what it looks like when it’s full! The water is freezing though but you have to get in and go through to to the other side.

View Tarsha's Recording
Damian Williams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

awesome experience. Everyone must see! Trail was rocky and a bit long, but once again well worth it. Upon getting to the caves the sound of people take over. A bit crowded but enough room to enjoy yourself. the water was ice cold but the caves were beautiful, so unbelievable. Recommend having some type of floating device to really enjoy the water.

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