Upper Natural Bridge Trail

EASY 317 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

trail running

walking

bird watching

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
rocky
1 day ago

hiking
3 days 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.

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
9 days 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
14 days 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.

hiking
24 days ago

you won't be disappointed. amazing place.

hiking
28 days ago

Crowded! But worth it! I’ve been here three times, and always bring the kids. First time little ones were 3 months and 9 years old. Perfect spot to hang out and relax. Bring food to stay all day. Water is cold! Bring floaties if you want to cross through the cave!

hiking
1 month ago

This was a nice little hike. It wasn’t very steep or muddy and the cave was really cool. It was a nice little picnic area as well. It didn’t take us very long to get to the caves and the water was flowing that day so it was really pretty. There are steps to get down to the cave but it’s not too bad.

1 month ago

easy trail to go on

hiking
1 month ago

This exceeded my expectations. The trail itself was pretty average - more poison oak than I was comfortable with - but doable in flip flops with a baby in carrier. The river & cave were amazing! It was a hot day, and by the time we reached it, the cool water was perfect. We even swam through to the other side. Highly recommend!

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
1 month ago

Easy hike to complete with kids, my 2 and 6 year olds did great. Next time we won’t forget our swim wear.

1 month ago

Its also great in the winter time to see the cave covered in snow and icicles

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail. Parking on week days is awesome and convenient but weekends can be a little difficult. Trail is all downhill for about a mile to the river which means all uphill on the way back but not bad. The trail winds in and out of the Forrest so there is plenty of shade. I did this hike with my wife, 3year old and 5 year old and had no major meltdowns and we didn’t end up carrying them. Once at the river there are plenty of areas for the kids or adults to cool off in the stream without much worry. The cave is really cool but fairly deep so either float it or be a proficient swimmer. Bring old tennis shoes or teva type sandals (you could hike just fine in either) My issues with this trail is that it’s only a mile so you get some crazies with coolers of beer blasting their Bluetooth speakers accessing this trail down to the caves. Lots of beer cans and general trash down by the river. Try it early morning or weekdays to avoid crowds. It was about 88 when we did this hike. There were about 50 people at the river when we made it down.

hiking
2 months ago

I really liked this hike. It was beautiful. The second cave was worth the hike. Definitely coming back. Next time I'll bring a bag to pick up the trash dumped by the inconsiderate visitors.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Trail was good. Not that easy for beginners coming back up. You gotta get your feet wet people, if that’s not your thing then get out of the way of the great picture opportunities Seeing the trash down there was disheartening.

3 months ago

super fun hike to do in the summer, when the kids can play and splash in the water. Watch out for poison oak. Hike out is mostly up so can be tough but my three-year-old handled it just fine. we enjoy walking down the creek for a bit more Adventure

hiking
3 months ago

Such a nice little hike to the cave! It’s all down hill until you get to the cave and then you have to climb back up to get to your car. I would say the hike was fairly easy but can definitely get tiring going back up. I am not a very active person and am overweight so it did get me a little out of breathe but it’s do-able! Also heard some locals talking about there being another cave down the river in the opposite direction so we decided to venture it out. Definitely going back to float through the cave!

hiking
3 months ago

The trail required minimal effort for a big reward- A natural cave you can swim through? Yes please! (Keep in mind this was August) A lot of people were down at the cave partying, especially after school hours- but it was surprisingly clean considering how many people seem to visit this trail. We tacked this short hike on to a daytrip to Moaning Caverns for a fun, well rounded outing.

hiking
4 months ago

Such a treat.

hiking
4 months ago

Fun little hike.

hiking
4 months ago

Did this today with my son. We had a great time. The trail is an out and back. The river and cave at the midway point was nice, we enjoyed that for a few minutes before starting Back.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice quick trail. The entire way out is downhill, with some slick rocks but not hard to maneuver. Pretty views.

hiking
5 months ago

Great little hike, a little muddy and the rocks can be slippery so I suggest good shoes. Aside from that the caves and views are nice. Definitely somewhere to go in the summer to swim.

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked the day after a big rain so the trails were suuuuper muddy and slippery. Water was also a little too high so tough to get into the cave. Would recommend it for a dry day though! Very quiet tail on January Thursday.

8 months ago

The water in the cave is never warm, regardless of the time of year. But very beautiful if you are brave enough to go through. Bring water shoes! This is not a running trail unless you want to bust an ankle.

hiking
8 months ago

The water in the cave was numbingly cold mid-October but me and my 5 yr old still dared to jump in. It was an easy hike and a nice time down in the cave. Very fun, family friendly hike. Take towels and a floating device if you plan to brave the waters.

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