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Santa Paula Canyon and Punch Bowls Trail [CLOSED]

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Los Padres National Forest

Santa Paula Canyon and Punch Bowls Trail [CLOSED] is a 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: 7.0 miles Elevation Gain: 787 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

running

forest

partially paved

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

over grown

rocky

scramble

washed out

closed

Note: The Forest Service has temporarily closed this trail due to overcrowding, trash, graffiti and illegal parking and will not reopen until July 31st, 2020. Santa Paula Canyon is one of the best hikes in Ventura County. The access trail starts off highway 150 just North of Thomas Aquinas College’s entrance. It takes you along the shady banks of Santa Paula Creek. Further along the trail there are a number of swimming holes, The trail is capped, just past Big Cone Camp, by a spectacular 25-feet waterfall. To access this trail, you will enter private property (an easement), so be respectful - you are allowed to use the trail to access the national forest, but not allowed to loiter on the first mile of trail. Following signs, go past an oil rig and through an avocado farm. You will walk past a large red gate, then on to another oil pumping rig. Go left around the rig to the trailhead (this is where the national forest starts), where you will be greeted by the sounds of the Santa Paula Creek.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
10 days ago

we were there a month ago. it was crowded, but it's a nice place to take some pics (we missed the last two waterfalls) get ready to get wet

hiking
19 days ago

The trail will reopen July 30th. Thank the idiots who litter and graffiti. Morons as usual. Luckily I did it three times during covid already. Didn’t litter a thing.

closed
21 days ago

just read that it will reopen till July 30th , really upset ...

hiking
closed
21 days ago

Drove by yesterday (Friday), trash bags in hand for a pickup excursion. All street parking, off-street parking, and the physical gate itself are closed/locked. Definitely closed, and probably rightly so Just cannot put ourselves in the mindset of someone who would drop their trash, spray their graffiti, or otherwise ruin such a wonderful environment. When it reopens, we’ll do a killer hike and pickup any trash that we see. Ask others to do the same. And call people out if they’re being $hitty human beings.

hiking
23 days ago

Love this hike, sucks that recently it’s been covered in trash and graffiti, I think that’s why it’s closed on the weekends, too bad humanity doesn’t consider the after affects

hiking
30 days ago

Does anyone know when this trail will open?

hiking
1 month ago

I love this hike at santa paula canton and it is very beautiful, the only downfall is all the trash left behind hikers SMH is there anyone I can talk to about organizing a group of hikers to hike and collect trash on the way back down? I’m willing to do it alone.I would love to do that and would love to help i any way and to keep our forest clean

hiking
closed
1 month ago

Trail is closed because people trashed it with garbage, feces and graffiti. CLOSED. $5000 fine from forest service if found trespassing.

hiking
1 month ago

Does anyone know if the trail is open?

1 month ago

I've hiked this trail more times than I can count. Loving every aspect of it and cleaning as I go. Sometimes I'll do my community service by cleaning up the trail as I go, bringing 40 gallon trash bags, but it is simply not enough. Once I was walking by a person, who literally looked me in the eyes and threw a water bottle on the ground, while I had the trash bag in my hand. People simply don't care out here, it is terrible. In Texas we have a saying, "Don't mess with Texas", but I say, "Don't mess with the Bowls!"

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

I really love this trail, but does anyone know how to get to the second and third bowls?

hiking
closed
1 month ago

Trail is closed, not because of COVID19, but because the place was being mistreated. Trashed, graffiti, bbqs, fires, human waste on the trail and in the creek, overcrowding. It was like a spring break party every day of the week. With people posting pictures and videos the place literally went viral especially during a time when everything else is closed. People getting drunk and otherwise than getting hurt. Search and rescue was up there almost every night. They had 5 helicopter rescues in 4 days. In one case parents got drunk and their 9 year old daughter hiked out by herself at dusk. Some people came across her and called the sheriffs. One of the parents was passed out drunk at the top. All of this ridiculous crap is why it is closed and will remain closed for a good while.

hiking
1 month ago

As of two months ago this was my favorite trail, and absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately since the Coronvirus hit, people have been coming from all over (mostly from LA, suddenly I've had tons of people out there asking me where they could get this, or what they should take on a trip to the Punch Bowls) and just trashing the place. I know people who have gone up and removed tons of trash and tell me they didn't even make a dent. Glad they closed it, hopefully it can heal a little now.

hiking
1 month ago

This place is great. People ruin it with overcrowding littering and graffiti. Since some aren’t athletic there are injuries. Then the deputies have to fly in with a chopper. Airlift people out. Don’t attempt this hike unless you are somewhat fit. Prepared to get wet and can climb up some rocks and scramble. The middle punchbowl is lit. Top is full of teenagers trash.

hiking
closed
1 month ago

Pursuant to 16 USC 551 and 36 CFR 261.50(a) and (b), and to provide for public safety, the following acts are prohibited within the Los Padres National Forest, Ojai Ranger District. This Order is effective from May 23, 2020, through July 30, 2020. 1. Entering or using the campgrounds listed below and shown on the attached map. a. Big Cone Campground b. Cross Campground c. Jackson Hole Campground 36 CFR 261.58(b). 2. Being on the National Forest System road listed below and shown on the attached map. a. Forest Road No. 4N04A 36 CFR 261.54(e). 3. Being on the National Forest System trail listed below and shown on the attached map. a. Forest Trail No. 21W09 (Last Chance Trail) 36 CFR 261.55(a). 4. Going into or being upon National Forest System lands within the Closed Area as described in Exhibit A and shown on the attached map 36 CFR 261.53(e). Pursuant to 36 CFR 261.S0(e), the following persons are exempt from this Order: 1. Any Federal, State or local officer, public utilities employee, or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty. 2. Owners or lessees of private land are exempt from the prohibitions listed above to the extent necessary to gain access to their land. 3. Residents are exempt from the prohibitions listed above to the extent necessary to gain access to their residences. These prohibitions are in addition to the general prohibitions in 36 CFR Part 261, Subpart A. A violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both. 16 USC 551 and 18 USC 3559, 3571, and 3581. Executed in Goleta, California, this 22nd day of May, 2020. Kevin B. Elliott Forest Supervisor Los Padres National Forest

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Hiked this today 5/22/20 at 11am. There’s cones on the road and hard to find parking on the dirt areas. Sign says trail is closed but did not get towed or ticketed one car did though if you park on the road illegally or crossing the white line. There’s a different entrance to the left of the college entrance new trail signs posted. Lots of river crossing but fairly easy make sure you have shoes you can get wet. Flat trail very few inclines. Follow the pink ribbon and pink paint on the rocks and trees. Easy to follow trail if you get lost just follow the creek to to the top there’s trails to the right of it. Some rock hopping/climbing but fairly easy. If you take this route the first punch bowl/waterfall about an hour and half away-2 if your slow. Water is freezing and it was 78 degrees out. Not super crowded as I’ve heard before basically because there closing the trail on the 23rd of may for like two weeks I’ve read. Overall fun trail and refreshing water super clean clear crystal water. Recommend if you can make it. Stay safe and pick up after yourself!

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

My sister and I hiked this on a Saturday morning. We had read the reviews (both good but mainly bad) but decided it was worth a shot to hike this at least once. Parking: extremely crowded. We had to park about a mile away. And all the cars were literally almost touching each other. Trail: about 8 miles total there and back. a lot of river crossing. Probably not the best for younger kids. Hiking shoes/boots and water shoes recommended for sure. Pretty flat trail with no inclines. And only some parts where you had to climb over big rocks. Pros: the river is long enough and there’s small pools along the way where you can sit and enjoy your lunch or go for a dip if you choose to not hike all the way to the falls/punch bowl. Plenty of shade. Beautiful views. CONS: The amount of people on the trail was absurd! Never had we ever experienced that many people on a trail. Wow!!! We saw many people with coolers, and loud speakers blasting music loud, and in regular clothes with beers in their hands. Trash everywhere!! Graffiti all over as well. Was definitely not the vibe of a regular hike. Felt more of like a family event center where people were so careless about nature? Call me crazy but it’s so sad to see how trashed this place is. Will we be returning? Probs not. I would love to experience this hike without the cons but I’ll keep dreaming. *PLEASE REMEMBER TO HIKE OUT WHAT YOU HIKE IN INCLUDING YOUR TRASH!*

hiking
1 month ago

Great Hike, not too hard for the average adult. There is some minimal rock climbing. You got to cross the river a handful of times to get the punch bowl so waterproof or water shoes are recommended.

hiking
closed
private property
rocky
1 month ago

The Forest Service will be temporarily closing this trail due to overcrowding, trash, graffiti and illegal parking. There have been traffic collisions (and someone was hit while walking on the highway) and multiple injuries and rescues on this trail in the last two weeks. Also cars are being towed, ticketed. There are no public facilities available for anyone, there are no trash cans you hike it in, you hike it out. This trail is not pet friendly, please leave your pets at home. It is a 2 hour hike in once you reach the trail head. This trail will be closed temporarily starting 05/23/2020.

hiking
closed
1 month ago

The Forest Service will be temporarily closing this trail due to overcrowding, trash, graffiti and illegal parking. There have been traffic collisions (and someone was hit while walking on the highway) and multiple injuries and rescues on this trail in the last two weeks. https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/special-reports/outdoors/2020/05/19/despite-attempts-limit-parking-crowds-again-jam-punch-bowls-trail/5217878002/

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

We got there at 10:00 AM Saturday and parked a little under a mile away. The CHP hollering over their speaker should have been an indicator this wasn’t my kind of hike but we’d driven all the way out there. No one on this trail had any trail etiquette. We tried to give people space while passing and no one reciprocated the respect. This trail is not for everyone, yet everyone was trying to do it. If you have small children or you’re unfit and I’m on your heels, let me pass. Don’t turn around and look at me and keep going at your snails pace. Absolutely rude. The trash was ridiculous. The pool at the top was gorgeous but the overcrowding didn’t allow for you to enjoy it. We quickly hiked back down for a more private pool with great people watching. Oh man the characters on this trail. Moral of the story: Heed the warning of the reviews. We read them and thought hey, we gotta try it once. Never again. If you’re looking for a real hike, these days...I would stick to the backcountry.

hiking
private property
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Difficult with 1 year old on my husband’s back and 5 year old walking. Scrambling on the rocks was fun. Thank goodness for the pink trail markers, they kept us on track.

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