Santa Paula Canyon / Punch Bowls

Santa Paula, California 93060

Santa Paula Canyon / Punch Bowls

Santa Paula Canyon / Punch Bowls Professional Review and Guide

"Hike past Aquinas College, through lovely riparian habitats into Santa Paula Canyon, and to perfectly formed swimming areas at the appropriately named Punch Bowls. During the floods of 2005, much of the trail and road was eliminated by high waters. There are orange markers for ambiguous parts of the trail, so it is a good idea to be watchful of these and stay on the well-worn trail. The trail itself requires a few jaunts over Santa Paula Creek. Be prepared to get your feet wet. Many people pack a pair of reef shoes or water shoes for this part of the trail; these may come in handy later in the day when you have reached the swimming hole and waterslide. PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT WILDFIRES IN THE AREA."

More Santa Paula Canyon / Punch Bowls Professional Reviews and Guides

"The Santa Paula Canyon Trail is among the most beautiful and popular hikes in the Ojai area. The trail follows Santa Paula Creek up a shady, forested canyon past a variety of small pools. The hike ends in a scenic, narrow gorge with a 25-foot waterfall and deep pool."

Santa Paula Canyon / Punch Bowls Reviews

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5/10/2011
This was a pretty hike, but strenuous for the last part. The dirt road is no longer dirt, so follow the road to the end to the second set of oil wells and the path begins there. Look for the orange signs when possible. We made it to the falls before the punch bowls, but after that it is a lot of rock! It was beautiful back in the canyon.
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1/17/2010
the hike up to the falls is more difficult than expected. you have to cross the river a few times. other reviews say that all the graffiti really ruins the hike but it doesn't. and there is some trash. bring a trash bag and help pick up some. the trailhead parking lot is on the left side of the road. (Lat:34.427571 Lon:-119.089664) park there then walk across the bridge and on your right should be a college. WALK past the guard and thru the gate. you'll see a "HIKING TRAIL" sign follow it. the trail in kinda hard but fun. the waterfall is amazing. bring your dogs they'll love it! hope this was helpful!
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10/8/2009
While the area can be beautiful I found this trail severely lacking. I think officially it is an unmaintained trail and what's happened is that everyone creates their own trail. I found the trail very hard to follow with beaten paths running all over the canyon. The only real trail markers are the spray-painted rocks and the trash. This could be a really fantastic trail. I got off trail further up into the canyon and it's a beautiful oasis in the desert but one that has been heavily touched by people. A cleanup effort would go a long, long way.
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3/6/2009
We did this trail with the family and everyone had a good time. We got lost a couple of times in the river bed since the spring runoff was high, and the river crossings were difficult to spot. The way we usually found our way back onto the trail was by looking for the graffiti on the rocks and canyon walls. These unfortunate scrawlings really put a damper on the trip - as did the constant stream of paper scraps and discarded water bottles. A concerted community clean up would really help this trail out. The waterfall and pool at the Big Cone was beautiful, but again, graffiti marred the canyon walls. It was lunchtime when we got there, and very crowded with dogs and people splashing into the pool. We actually saw a guy dump his trash into the pool right at the bottom of the waterfall! So while we had a fun family adventure, we thought this trail needs a break from people for a while, and could use a serious cleanup.
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10/14/2007
After the rains of 05, the first 2 miles on the left side no longer exist. Since the rains, it has been very dry causing what was once a beautiful verdant area to become dry and parched devoid of life. Once you get to what was once the creek crossing at approx. 2 miles you go up a series of switchbacks. At this point the hike begins to resemble its old self...a little. My advice is to wait for soem decent rainfall to green things up a bit. In terms of pure physical challenge I would grade it Moderate. Many rocks.
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5/25/2003
The trail is a slow starter for you first need to hike through private property. Once upon reaching the river, you began to have some good nature trail experience. The trail leads you to cross water in three sections that allows you to test your rock jumping skills. It then goes through various conditions from flat sandy ground, to switch backs up a small mountain, to reach a grass valley beneath beautiful large oak trees. This valley also is a campsite with two firepits already prepared. Once reaching this section you may go down a steep grade, where you need to climb over some beautiful sandstone. This where you need to practice caution for its the steepist part of the trail. This leads you to a large pool with a water fall with the clearest water availible. The trail is very popular so you will see signs of human occupation. But, if you want to explore farther, there are water slides and many other trails that branch off this original sight. It is a beautiful expericene, though I do grade it down for being overused.
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3/5/2003
Park on side of road("150" go to rangers office for directions).Hike along college road,the trail begins on right.This is about as good as it gets!This trail is prety hard, follow dirt trail, past oil rig,along side mountain,cross stream,right along trail,follow stream past 2 camps to water source.Easy to get lost.Use common sense and remove all garbage you see.Bare left when trail leads to fork at (3.5 miles)Follow to beutifull waterfall.Beware poison oak(easy to avoid).
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9/17/2000
Be careful when entering the private school area that leads to the public trail. Do not walk on the grass or bring your car to the begining of the trail to drop of people packs and supplies.There is a security guard at the front gate that likes to give hikers a hard time,and if he sees you doing any of the above mentioned he will try to detain you,and call the police department for arrest. I have been to this beutiful place many times and even hough you are tired do not walk on the grass or take your car on to the proprty.
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Santa Paula Canyon / Punch Bowls Photos

Trail Information

Santa Paula
Nearby City
8
Distance
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
4 hours
Duration
Year-round
Season
Los Padres National Forest
Local Contacts
USGS map: Santa Paula Peak, CA
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018