Punch Bowls Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
3-4h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
11.7 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
264 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Punch Bowls Hike is one of the most popular trails in Ventura County—and rightfully so. Explore the shaded valley of the Santa Paula Creek and cool off in one of the many, idyllic swimming holes along the way. This wonderfully scenic hike is a must add to your adventure to-do list.

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Route Description for Punch Bowls Trail

Explore the Santa Paula Canyon adorned with inviting pools and mesmerizing cascades along the Punch Bowls Trail. The crowds that flock to the area are a testament to its beauty. Though well-revered, this route lacks proper signposts in sections, so we suggest downloading the trail GPS before departure. Additionally, much of the route travels through forestlands and high brush—so it is important to be wary of poison oak! Wear long pants if you are nervous about exposure!

Setting out from the East Fork Trailhead, the Punch Bowls Hike travels north along the East Fork Trail. Wandering north, the path will gradually climb into a meadow before escaping into the shaded canyon of Santa Paula. Enjoy the scene of the nearby craggy peaks of the Santa Ynez Mountains as the chaparral bushes that hem the footpath. Following the route along the picturesque creek, you will eventually confront an intersection; veer left onto the Punch Bowls Trail. As you hike, you will understand how the trail got its name as you pass several inviting, punchbowl-shaped swimming holes fed by beautiful cascades.

Wander around the loop, and at the following junction, turn right, and you will reconnect with the East Fork Trail. Now tracking southwestward, you will pass the Big Cone Camp before descending into the Santa Paula Canyon. At this point, you will simply retrace your steps along the East Fork Trail back to the trailhead and car park.

Getting to the Punch Bowls Trail Trailhead

The Punch Bowls Hike is accessed via the East Fork Trailhead off Ojai Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Big Cone Camp

  • When to do

    Year-round

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Extreme

  • Route Type

    Lollipop

Punch Bowls Trail Elevation Graph

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Punch Bowls Trail Reviews

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