Santa Paula Canyon and Punch Bowls Trail

MODERATE 170 reviews
#1 of 2 trails in

Santa Paula Canyon and Punch Bowls Trail is a 6.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Santa Paula, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. 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.

DISTANCE
6.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1194 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

horseback riding

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

washed out

Although there are several trails in Santa Paula Canyon, the most popular is the Punch Bowls hike. Beginning at St. Thomas Aquinas college, one may travel along creekbeds and across streams surrounded by inspiring forested mountain facades to several waterfalls, rock slides, and swimming holes. Santa Paula Canyon is one of the best hikes in Ventura County. The trail takes you through picturesque St. Thomas Aquinas College, then along the shady banks of Santa Paula creek with plentiful swimming holes, capped by a spectacular 25 foot waterfall just past Big Cone Camp.

hiking
13 hours ago

The punchbowls themselves are gorgeous. Cold, clear water. So beautiful. Had a lovely swim.

However, why do so many people that clearly don't respect nature end up on this trail? There is so much trash and graffiti it is disturbing and disgusting. I don't get it and it made me incredibly angry and sad.

But on the plus side, the natural beauty is wonderful. My husband and I started the hike really early and had the first punchbowl all to ourselves. On the way back we passed 50+ people so if you like solitude, go early.

hiking
1 day ago

takes approximately 2 hours to get to the punchbowls! so worth it once you get there. clear blue water to swim in. only downside is the trash people leave behind, it's disturbing! I even saw a pad! lol....yuck! pick up your trash people, it's such a beautiful spot to just destroy. and I guess the graffiti as well, I'm all for it! I write myself....but cmon people, not on nature!

hiking
8 days ago

very rocky hike can be difficult for smaller kids, it's a very good outdoors adventure with lots of forest like scenery. good thing about this hike it had markers and painted arrows on rocks that helps guide you into the right direction...can write way more about the hike but just get out and do it the water bowl is well worth it at the end...have fun...live life...and make a splash!!!!!.....

hiking
8 days ago

13 days ago

The end is totally worth it. We only hiked to the first bowl and it wasn't easy. The path is marked with green paint/spray near the beginning and sort of dissipates once you're closer to the bowl. Just pay attention to any markings such as ribbons and spray paint...that will get you there. Use common sense, that always helps.

On the way back, the trail is nicely marked with white and pink "X" so pay close attention to those. You may be able to take the trail closer to the water which I think is marked with white ribbon (the kind people decorate parties with).

Out and back was four miles. If you don't want to park on the street and don't feel like walking the 1-1.5 miles before the actual trail, consider having someone drop you off at the ranch behind the college if possible. It's hot during midday so bring lots of water and food/snacks that will keep your energy up!

hiking
14 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

Not a hiker so it seemed a bit difficult and long. There are definitely two ways of getting there we were told to stay to the left which we climbed boulders for about an hour

hiking
14 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

19 days ago

Trail was hard to follow at times but the pools at the end were great. Bring plenty of water.

26 days ago

Drove all the way out there to find out the trail was closed due to fires:((( so sad. But now I know to check reviews before heading to a trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Trail is CLOSED due to a fire by the punch bowls yesterday. Estimated two weeks until opening. Fire department on trail.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

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1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Awsome my family and I have been there 3 times this year alone. the hike is not bad moderate . stay to the left of the river and only cross if u must and cross back and it won't be so difficult

1 month ago

Fun and moderate hiking trail. If you're taking a dog, I'd recommend dog boots.

hiking
1 month ago

Maybe it's because we lost some of the trail on the way to the punchbowl or maybe it was the heat but this trail seemed provingly more difficult than I had originally thought. 8 miles round trip, 800 feet of elevation gain reads "easy" to me but I would categorize this hike as more on the "moderate" side. Luckily we were rewarded with the beauty of the punchbowl and the option to instantaneously cool down with one quick plunge into the water. It was a decent outing, one I will reserve for cooler months.