Devil's Punchbowl

Devil's Punchbowl
California’s ‘high desert’, the Mojave, usually gets overlooked by tourists, who speed through the area driving between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. This is a pity, as there are many wonderful places to explore and enjoy in relative solitude. One well-kept secret is the Devil’s Punchbowl, which is just over the San Gabriel Mountains to the north of Pasadena. Incredible vistas, great hiking trails, and a visitor’s center await those willing to make the drive.

This is a geologically active expanse, adjacent to the famed San Andreas Fault. A combination of the earth’s movement and water runoff from the San Gabriel Mountains have created a 1,310 square mile depression resembling the eponymous punchbowl. Large rocks stud the floor of the depression, creating different scenic formations. The desert environment means that abundant sunshine and dry air pervade the area, casting interesting shadows on the trails.

Joshua Trees, which are native to the Mojave desert, grow here, as do Pinyon pines, cottonwood trees, and the ubiquitous chaparral, which scents the air with that pervasive Southern California desert fragrance. Devil’s Punchbowl is also home to grey foxes, deer, and desert raptors such as Bald Eagles and Burrowing Owls. As is true in most desert areas, animals tend to sleep during the warm part of the day, thus more easily spotted in the early morning and late evening.

Hikers, photographers, and rock climbers will all enjoy spending time on the trails. There is a one mile loop suitable for families, as well as longer trails that require extra exertion. There are also horse trails and an equestrian staging area. Stop at the nature center before or after your hike or trail ride to find out more information about the natural features of the area. Be sure to bring sunscreen and plenty of water - this is a hot and dry location.

While there are no concessions at Devil’s Punchbowl, there are picnic tables available for those who bring food with them. Or, stop before or after your workout at nearby Charlie Brown Farms, which offers barbecued meats, delicatessen sandwiches, wraps, burgers, funnel cake, date shakes, soda pop, and coffee drinks. The stores claims to be the largest gift shop in the Antelope Valley, selling jerky, candy, Christmas décor, dried fruits and nuts, and an assortment of different trinkets. At six acres, the store encourages extended browsing. Don’t expect elegance here – this is a rustic, casual location with good food at reasonable prices.

Disclaimer: I have paid for my meals at Charlie Brown Farms with my own funds.

Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area, 28000 Devil’s Punchbowl Road, Pearblossom, California, 93553

Charlie Brown Farms, 8317 Pearblossom Highway, Little Rock, California, 93543.

You Should Also Read:
California Chaparral

Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map

Content copyright © 2023 by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. . All rights reserved.
This content was written by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. . If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. for details.