If you’ve ever gone on a Los Angeles hike, you’ve probably noticed that Los Angeles Hikes aren’t exactly hikes (at least in my opinion). Most cases, you’ll find a flat trail (with maybe a little incline) and of course a view. Don’t get me wrong, I take those trails often and they’re not bad but if you’re willing to drive just a little bit further, there are other options. One of my favorites is called Punch Bowls in Santa Paula (Ventura County) and there are few of reasons why.


  1. It’s a full day hike.
    Quite literally a 9-5 depending on how many breaks you take and how long each one is. Sure, morning hikes are great but there’s just something about being outdoors the entire day that’s extra meditating. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed with work or start to get headaches from stressing out so much, this hike always does the trick. By the end of the day, I feel so accomplished & rejuvenated that I forget why I was stressed out in the first place.1-punchbowls
  2. The trail isn’t so obvious.
    By the time you read this, the trail might be different but when I first did this hike, there really wasn’t a set trail. We just followed the stream and guessed which way to go. I mean, there are some trails and they almost always lead to the right direction but there are so many variations that I never take the same route twice (even if I wanted to). This also makes it feel like more of an adventure because you don’t know what you’re going to see next.4-punchbowls
  3. It’s challenging.
    Even if you’re walking on the trail, it’s not your simple walk through the forest. You’ll find yourself looking at the ground a lot trying to find out where to step next. The terrain changes from flat to rocky, to climbing boulders, to sandy & everything in between. Other than the distance, this is one of the reasons why this hike is more intermediate than easy.2-punchbowls
  4. The water.
    California is in a drought for sure but there’s still some water here and you won’t be able to count how many times you’ll cross the stream. Heads up though! Most people try to avoid getting their shoes wet on this hike and let me tell you that it’s absolutely pointless. If you want to get to the last pool, you’ll have to soak your feet in water eventually so save yourself some time and let that foot sink it. I personally think it’s refreshing.
  5. The pools.
    There are three known natural water pools in this hike.
    The first pool takes roughly 1 ½ – 2 ½ hours to get to (depending on your pace) and many times this is the only one people will hike to. It’s nice – there’s a little waterfall and in the spring, there’s enough water to swim. But after a quick dip, I suggest continuing the trail up to the second and third pool.
    To be honest, I haven’t really been to the second but I assume it’s the section where there are a couple natural water slides. It’s pretty cool but you’ll need something to sit on to get some momentum. Once you pass that though, you’ll have to find the third pool.
    It’s hard to really explain how to find it but once you think the trail ends, it actually doesn’t. Hopefully, there’ll be other people along the trail who know where they’re going (that’s how we found it) because once you get there, all the hours that you put in will be worth it. There, you’ll not only find a pool clear and deep enough to swim in, but a nice natural water slide, a 15-foot rock jump & a rope swing. What else is there to say?
  6. Lastly, no reception.
    If you were doing a regular LA hike, you’d probably snapchatting, be LIVE on Facebook or posting pictures on instagram. Well, you don’t have that option here and that’s one of the best parts – you unplug and there’s nothing more rejuvenating than just being present.


The only con to this hike is that there is a lot of graffiti & trash so if you ever take this trail, please bring a trash bag & maybe pick up some along the way. Otherwise, hope you enjoy it as much I do!

Xo, Carmelisa

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