Hike the Santa Paula Punch Bowls

Los Angeles Santa Paula Punch Bowls Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Swimming, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    8.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    700 Feet

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Groups
Waterfall
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

One of the best hikes in the Ventura County, which features a waterfall, swimming holes, and some water slides.

This is an 8.5 mile trail, out and back. Parking is available along Ojai St, and the trail starts at the entrance of Thomas Aquinas College. Follow the paved road which goes around the school, until you reach a fork on the road, then stay right. The trail will take you through Ferndale Ranch, just keep going straight and the trail will end once you see a fenced gate, with several oil pumps inside. Make your way to the left, and follow the edge of the fence, until you reach the Santa Paula Creek. At this point, you can just follow the creek upstream, until you see the trail on the opposite side of the stream. Cross the stream with caution, to follow the trail (be aware that the stream could be really strong on days with heavy rains, so be careful!).

Continue to follow the creek upstream, and you will find another place to cross it. If you see a lot of graffiti covered rocks, you're on the right path. You will then pass by a camp called Big Cone Camp, just pass through it and you will eventually find a fork on the trail. Left leads to the Punchbowl, right leads to the Slides.

To get to the Punchbowl, just scramble over the big rocks to your right side. Soon enough you will see the swimming hole with the waterfall.

To get to the Slides, go back and continue upstream, and about a quarter mile you will reach a spot directly above the Punchbowls. Keep following the trail parallel to the creek, at the 4 mile mark you will find Cross Camp, and the trail ends when you hit a narrow slot canyon. The Slides are about a quarter mile up the canyon.

Be safe at all times! Rocks may be very slippery.

Go back the same way you came in.

Pack List

  • Daypack
  • Water
  • Packed Lunch
  • Trail Snacks
  • Swimsuit
  • Watershoes/Slippers
  • Change of clothes
  • Quick-dry Towel
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Extra Batteries
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Reviews

Overall rating: 

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The trail is currently closed and will be for weeks to come due to a major fire

2 months ago
2 months ago

It was beautiful and met some amazing people. Follow the pink tape or black arrows, they are accurate

3 months ago
3 months ago

Thanks for the write up, very descriptive. I've always loved this hike, and the fun waterholes!

8 months ago
8 months ago

Decided to go up while it was sprinkling and was able to make it all the way to the punch bowls with little to no wetness. The hike is amazing with great views and amazing solitude(I'm sure the rain helped with that). The graffiti is easy to follow and the trail is pretty mellow for the most part. Definitely a great hike.

8 months ago
8 months ago

Sassy ResuelloExplorer

Spending time outdoors and seeing the beauty of nature is my way of fueling my passion for life. Taking photos is my way of sharing the inspiration with the rest of the world.

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