Devil's Punchbowl Trail

HARD 26 reviews
#1 of 1 trails in

Devil's Punchbowl Trail is a 8.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Happy Camp, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

8.9 miles
2,378 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



nature trips

trail running





wild flowers




The road to the trailhead is closed indefinitely due to a landslide. There is an alternative route that adds about 1 hour to your drive time. Contact the Gasquet Ranger District for details: (707) 457-3131

1 month ago

The main road was closed as it states. If you take South Fork road just outside of Hiouchi and keep going past Big Flat campground it will take you to the trailhead where it dead ends. This will take you on approximately 20 miles of steep dirt roads. I would recommend 4WD but you can get there in a sedan. The trail is pretty flat the first few miles and then there is an area of sharp incline. The last push to the punchbowl takes you past a small lake first. Follow the cairns. It is currently smokey from wildfires burning close by. The wildfires also caused displacement of bees and the area was swarming with them. This would be a beautiful hike under better conditions. We clocked the hike at 10 miles.

1 month ago

This was our first difficult trail we completed. It was beautiful at every point. Unfortunately the 2 hour drive on the alternate route is one of the toughest parts. Very narrow forest service road on the edge of the Siskiyou national Forest. We started the trail late in the day and unfortunately went down the wrong trail which set us back about an hour and half. Just pay extra attention to the signage on the trail. When it means up, it means up. The first half of the trail was pretty easy. But once you start climbing up hill on the switch backs, be prepared for it to go one for a while. Again, every part of the trail has its own beauty. The last part of the trail is on a pretty rocky terrain but the cairns will lead the way. Yes! You will run into a smaller lake before you get to the punchbowl, which means you are pretty close. It took us about 3.5 hours on the way back. That was with minimal stops. After a night out in the wilderness we stopped at Hiouchi Cafe for some burgers. Perfect way to end the trip. *also the Gasquet Ranger Station provided some great information!

3 months ago

Very nice day trail, saw a bear. must use app to know where you going in a few spots.

4 months ago

Great trail but do your research before... the road getting there isn’t marked well, and the turn off the main trail to head up to the punchbowl is easily missed and the first body of water is often mistaken as punchbowl but it’s more like a teacup :) visit the ranger station down road for campfire permit and more details

5 months ago

First trail I ever went on as a kid. The hard rating is a little deceiving; the end is a little rough but other than that it's fairly easy and all in all a wonderful hike.

7 months ago

LOVED THIS HIKE!! Do your research before the trip as always. I would not do this hike as a day trip. Plan to stay over night. Must take an alternate route and have a fire permit (both of which you can get at Gasquet Ranger Station). I highly recommend this hike for people looking to camp in a rural, low trafficked area. we were the only people there for 2 days. Totally worth the hike in. Amazing scenery and lots of wildlife. We will be returning again.

trail running
10 months ago

Such a long drive for a hike. Nice pit toilet at trail head. Easy miles from TH to switchbacks - about three(?) miles. Switchbacks will take your breath. Rock scramble is slow but interesting. There is a pond at what may appear to be the summit. The larger “lake” is a bit more scrambling and spectacular! Otherworldly panorama.
Give yourself a time buffer. Get started early.
Last time we ran this was probably mid 2015.
Heading to Bear Mtn summit today - will learn about current access issues...

Monday, August 07, 2017

the alternative route is super long! walked about 3-4 hours in today and hardly made it 1/4 of the way.

Monday, July 03, 2017

The road to the trailhead is closed indefinitely due to a landslide. There is an alternative route that adds about 1 hour to your drive time. Contact the Gasquet Ranger District for details: (707) 457-3131

I wasn't able to make it out there so I have no idea what the trail is like - had to leave a review to share the road status!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Road up to the trail head is washed out around mile marker 9.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Great hike. Had my gps tracking me and it came out to over 6 1/2 miles one way. Total trip one way with stops for taking in the sights was just a little over 6 hours. Out of that 3.25 hours was actual moving hiking time. Took treking/hiking poles which were extremely helpful. Very nice hke. A lot of hikers talk about the switch backs...i found them not to be to hard. the part I thought was hard was nearing the lake going over rocky terrain for about a mile that a mountain goat would like.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Friday, September 30, 2016

Did this hike mid September,well worth the pain suffered over the last couple of miles. Had the lake to ourselves.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hiked this trail several years ago wasn't ready for it but the end was very worth it

Friday, July 22, 2016

Finished this trail last year. Extremely hard trail. Best bet is to not hike here during extreme heat. Had to carry my wife on back about quarter of the way back. If you like hard hikes, this is for you! Had a blast on the trail though. Definitely tough!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Hiking & Camping

Monday, August 11, 2014

Just over 5 miles in. Sounds easy, right? Think again. Very rewarding hike with some devilish switchbacks and some scary shale scaling over cliffs, with in officially stacked rock trail markers. Refreshing and beautifully cool deep blue lake at the end of this trail. Slept under the stars for 2 nights before heading home. Great experience. Would definitely do again and again.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Amazing trail! The tough switchbacks at the end make the prize worthwhile when you get to give yourself a well earned dunk in the punchbowl on a hot day.

Careful and pay attention to the signs, as the trail has changed since the maps were made.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Possibly the best backpacking trail in del norte county. The trail head is not open during the winter but mid spring to late fall is usually clear of snow. The hike itself is 5 miles of moderate hiking with a strenuous switchback section about 3 miles in. After leaving the wooded area look for stacked rocks to locate the trail at about mile 4. The lake features 3-5 camp sites and usually has a few parties camping during the summer months.

2 months ago

7 months ago

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Friday, June 20, 2014