Upper Natural Bridge Trail

easy 387 reviews

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.

Distance: 2.1 miles Elevation Gain: 380 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

cave

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

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.

hiking
2 days ago

Awesome hike! Can get crowded; and even in summer, the water in the creek/caves is very cold. Beware of ticks during warm months as well

hiking
13 days ago

Would recommend this trail to anyone looking to for adventure, beauty, a slight workout on the way back up. Amazingly unique trail. Will definitely explore the cave in warmer weather. Definitely worth planning to stay a while when you reach the bottom!

hiking
rocky
14 days ago

Took the Coyote Creek trail down to a huge cavern, the path was rocky in a lot of spots but very easy! The cavern down the trail past the bathrooms was incredible! It’s definitely going to be a perfect summer swimming hole. There is a poison oak warning so definitely don’t touch any plants

hiking
1 month ago

Spectacular views while hiking down to the cave, such a beautiful hike. PicNic tables, could stay all day. Great for beginners, little steep on the way back, take water and pace your self and you will be glad you ventured on this hike. Can’t wait to go back in the summer.

hiking
1 month ago

one of the most beautiful destination hikes i’ve ever been on. The hike itself is a short downward walk to a river with picnic tables, and a fantastic looking cave. the only hard part is the hike back up!! super fun, but no dogs allowed.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail especially if you can go inside the small cave ! Spectacular inside !

hiking
2 months ago

Does anyone know if you can bring metal detectors on this trail?

off trail
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

Loved this trail. I didn't take the main Trail though. I followed the road to the end and followed that down to the Cave. definitely rocky at some points. good for beginners if you're careful. I slipped a few times on loose gravel. Took tons of pictures, and the water wasn't nearly as cold as I was expecting. I definitely plan on coming back here in the Summer and swimming all the way through!

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

Great hike for the family. Beautiful fall colors and not too busy for a Sunday. Easy trail with some moderate inclines at one point on our way back. Mostly shaded.

hiking
4 months ago

Great for beginners. Only about a mile down and a mile up. It is a relatively easy, and not too rocky after the initial start. Sort of steep on the return, but if you pace yourself it’s easy going.

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike with kids age 3, 4 and 8. We came Sept 29 with a temp of 64. Bring water shoes.

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Very fun but would recommend water shoes

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

It's a nice little trail, it took my friend and I about 15 minutes to get to the bottom. But come early if you want to have room to explore. We spent a little time in the cave and were definitely ready to go by 11am when a group of 30 showed up. The echo gets loud. Sept 2, 2019

hiking
bugs
rocky
5 months ago

This place is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. me and my husband arrived by noon and it was packed, although on our way down the trail a lot of people were heading back up to the parking lot. First two things i noticed on my way down the trail was Poison Oak and those that were headed back up were out of breath, bent down, hands on their knees and some even off to the side sitting down to catch their breath. lol. I thought to myself why are they out of breath? its not that bad.. well i would later find out why and experience those same reactions to the walk up. lol needless to say, I WAS NOT READY. haha. Once we made it to the bottom i was taken back by the beauty nature provides us. I was mesmerized by the smooth granite rock, the dark cave that housed huge tarantulas the size of my husbands hand (fingers spread out) the river ran so quietly in many places but also had a few mini waterfalls. Wonderful place to visit. i recommend plenty of water and a quick lunch or snack for the hike. and shoes that you don't mind getting wet. Have fun and enjoy!

hiking
5 months ago

I got there at 9am .. made my way down to the water... the hike down was easy as most down hill hikes are.. The cave, rocks, water EVERYTHING was so beautiful! I plan to go back with my older kids so we can swim through the cave.. the hike back up damn near killed me.. LOL.. I stopped several time to catch my breath ( yes I am not in shape, over weight and old).. that part was a little rough... I left to go back up around 11 am and a butt load of people were making their way down.. families, groups of friends.. by the time I got back up to the top, the parking area was packed... So.. I do recommend going really really early so you are able to enjoy natures beauty

hiking
6 months ago

Gorgeous hike. Moderate to easy trail. Lots of kids and fun at the creek and caves at the end. Trail is rocky and uphill on the way back. But kids did well ( youngest is 7) but we have seen younger kids.

hiking
6 months ago

Great little trail with a nice little surprise at the end. Creek with a cavern filled with water. Summer time can be hot and the hike out can get a bit breathy and winded if not prepared. Not much skill needed for this trail just a head on a swivel and common sense when navigating rocks, and wet conditions

recorded Upper Natural Bridge Trail

hiking
7 months ago

Map from Oakdale to Parking area.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Was a great time for my boys and I . Come early for good parking. Bring plenty of water the trip back up is hot. They have picnic tables so we brought lunch. If you want to float through the cave( which I recommend because it’s amazing) bring floats. My 7 year old had his life jacket, I brought a float and my 15 year old just swam across it. My kids loved it and so did I . Only thing is lots of poison oaks be careful.

hiking
7 months ago

Came here 7/13/19. Got here about 11am. Took the back trail there. It was all downhill over dirt and loose rocks with 3 kids. It wasn't too bad, just had to hold on to my 3 year old at times. At the bottom the water was refreshing and nice. You can swim from one side of the cave to the other. I liked this little adventure. I'd only say, come early cause parking gets full fast. Bring sunscreen. Good shoes you don't mind getting wet cause the rocks in the river are very slippery. If possible, come during the week, it was kind of crowded.

hiking
bugs
over grown
rocky
7 months ago

bring bug spray, other than bugs, it was a beautiful cave well worth the hike and you can even swim through the cave, water is super cold, but in July it felt like heaven! Tried to get to the 2nd cave but its incredibly overgrown and full of poison oak, i would have done it myself but i had kids with me and didnt want to deal with that

hiking
7 months ago

Such a nice trail w/ great views! There’s a cave there that has water trickling down where you can swim through, under or, in. Little waterfalls around the area as well.

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