Devil's Punchbowl / Devil's Chair

#14 of 195 trails in Angeles National Forest

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Devil's Punchbowl / Devil's Chair is a 7.4 mile out and back trail located near Pearblossom, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

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Jason Ethridge (190)

8 Completed7 Reviews

Clever Ways (36)

1 Completed1 Reviews

I write this passage to share my experience but more to endeavor to find the people who helped me make it back. If anyone can assist with identifying those that helped me, I would greatly appreciate it.
My contact information is at the bottom.

If this hike is considered moderate, I'd like to know what is considered difficult. Maybe it's my age (59) but I have been hiking for many years and this is by far the most difficult hike I've ever done. Getting to the chair was fairly moderate, but getting back was extremely challenging. Part of the problem was that I hadn't initially planned on going so far, but it was so beautiful yesterday that I felt energized to do it. I'd only had a liter of water on me, and I normally carry a 2.5 liter hydration pack, but again, it wasn't the original plan to go to the chair. Lesson learned. About half way back I ran out of water and was beginning to feel leg cramps. I was afraid I might not make it out of there on my own. I'd seen a young couple several times along the trail, and at one point while I was sitting under a shaded area and they started to pass me, I' d asked them if they had any spare water. Now -- I'm a very independent person and I have to be pretty darned desperate to ask for anything, especially for water from someone who may not have enough for themselves, but this was most definitely a desperate situation. The young woman said, "Sure", and the young man offered me the bottle of water that he was carrying and said, "You can keep it." I'd never felt so grateful in my life. I thanked them and said, "God bless you." He smiled and said, "You're welcome". And they continued on. I drank half the bottle and kept the rest for sipping on the journey back.
I was becoming more and more exhausted as I pushed myself forward. I could only take a few steps at a time, then rest under shaded areas for awhile before continuing on. I was imagining collapsing from exhaustion and being discovered by a hiker, then being awakened by paramedics in an ambulance on my way to some hospital with sirens blaring. I would rather die than have that happen. I prayed to God to give me the strength I needed to get through this. Each step was becoming more and more of a major effort. At one point I again saw the couple who so graciously offered me water. They were with another couple that I'd seen a few times earlier. There were a few children with them as well, and a little brown dog. I believe they all came together and became separated at some point. But now they were together. They were taking pictures of each other. By this time the bottle that the young man had given me was empty. As I passed them, I said to the young man, "God bless you. I think you may have saved my life." His eyes beamed with kindness as he smiled and said, "You're welcome". I think he is the kindest young man I have ever met. It occurred to me to introduce myself and get their names, but I regret that I didn't, partly because I was so out of it and because didn't want to intrude on them, so I just kept walking. Then he called to me when I was a few feet away, "Ma'am?" I turned and said, "Yes?" And miracle of miracles, he handed me another bottle of water that I think the other couple gave to him to give to me. I almost collapsed -- not from exhaustion, but from gratitude. Trying to hold the tears of gratitude back, I said, "God bless you." And said the same to the other couple. The whole group looked at me and smiled and said, "You're welcome." And the young man said, "You're only about a mile away, you'll make it." I wanted to hug him, but my normally reserved self would not allow me to. I deeply regret that I didn't. I continued on, more exhausted than I'd ever felt in my life. Stopping every few minutes to catch my sinking breath. Sipping the sweet, cool, miracle water with each stop. Trying to stretch the cramps out of my legs. Praying to make it to the end. Hearing the young man's words, as if channelled directly from God, "...you'll make it." Finally I made it to the sign that says, "Devil's Chair, 2.8 Miles". Personally, I think the 2.8 miles is a drastic miscalculation. But I knew if I was at this point I would make it to my car, and then "home, sweet home." I dragged my feet like a cast member of 'The Walking Dead'. Motivated in spirit (not so much in body) to move on, get to my car, maybe find more water although it would be hot from being in a hot car for half the day but who cares, then get home to more water and sustainince. (I'd only brought some strawberries with me that I'd eaten hours before). I started to feel as though a higher power was pushing me along; it just didn't seem to be "me" that was making myself move forward. Was this the power of prayer? And then I made it. I saw my car. I cried. I opened the hatch where I thought there was water. Then I saw the couple with the little brown dog standing by their car which was p

Oscar Mejia (37)

1 Completed1 Reviews

I ran it early in morning, but on my way back it was starting to get packed.

Kristy Li (151)

6 Completed6 Reviews

Awesome view and great hike.
Hiked with one other friend.

We started off with the hike to the Devil's Chair. The trail was relatively quiet, most likely because it was the day after Christmas and it was kind of cold when we started. There's great views of the desert along the way to the chair that we would stop and take a detour to go look at.

The chair itself was pretty neat, a good rest stop to fuel up and then head back. Very quiet and serene (again, most likely due to it being the day after Christmas) but it'd be hard to imagine the rest being peaceful with more people. We were lucky that only one group was there taking in the view, who shortly left once we arrived, so we had the chair to ourselves.

Afterwards we headed over to the punchbowl and explored that area a bit. More families were down there with their kids playing in the stream below. The rock formations are just awesome to stand and absorb them in. At this point the sun was starting to set, so the way the light just hits them is breathtaking.

Not much of an elevation, in fact we descended a bit when we were hiking to the chair.

As always, bring water, sunblock (even though it was relatively shaded), hat, snacks and other essentials. No hiking sticks needed for this one!

Hiking vid: https://youtu.be/Bg94XfE49RA

WoodDude 7. (789)

Mighty wild and wonderful for a Los Angeles County Park, but Devil's Punchbowl is indeed a county park nestled into the northern fringes of Angeles National Forest. It's one of my favorite day-hiking destinations, a popular place for school outings, picnics, hiking, photography, birding. They even have night hikes scheduled regularly. The visitor's center has a small museum, trail maps, picnic tables, restrooms and drinking fountains. Marked trails include a 1/4 mile Pinyon Walk loop, a slightly more rugged 1 mile Punchbowl Loop, which descends into the punchbowl and winds along the creek, before climbing back out to return along the rim of the bowl.
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Then there's the Devil's Chair, a 7+ mile round trip that climbs to the 5,000 foot level along Burkhardt Trail, the contours east for two miles to the spur trail that reaches the Devil's Chair. The initial 1 mile climb may leave lowland dwellers winded, but the remaining portion of the trail is pretty level, and easy going as long as there's not too much snow on the ground.
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Hardcore hikers may wish to follow a long loop down into the punchbowl, continuing down the canyon to Big Rock Creek Road, up to South Fork Campground, then follow the trail to Devil's Chair and back to the punchbowl. The trip down Punchbowl Canyon to the road is essentially cross-country over somewhat rugged terrain. Some wading in the creek may be required, and a rope to help descend some of the slick falls can be useful if you don't want to detour around them. I hiked this route on a busy Memorial Day, and didn't meet a soul until I reached Big Rock Creek Road.

Warren Nelson (98)

2 Completed1 Reviews

Exhilarating views & tons of diverse flora and fauna. I will be returning here to explore alternative canyons. There was even running water in the stream and snow atop the highest peaks!

Arelys Salazar-Martinez (229)

4 Completed2 Reviews

One of the greatest trail I've done.. great views.. very moderate- you get a good butt workout on the steeply hills, not sure why people would take their 2-5 years old... this trail is not good for very small children....it's too hard for their little feet. Older children can do this fine, but not little ones.... the area to take a snack by the devils chair is very limited... two pieces of tree trunks, people take turn to sit down.. this is the only downsize for me.. the rest was good.

Jason St Clair (1810)

28 Completed11 Reviews

It was nice to get out of the desert for a bit. Lots of shady trees and lots of views.

Brandy Cooper (76)

1 Completed1 Reviews

I'm giving this hike 4 stars rather than 5 for one reason--dogs. Rather, not dogs, but their irresponsible owners. The rules for this trail include a "dogs on leash" directive. During my hike I met up with 7 persons/groups with dogs, for a total of 11 dogs. NONE of the dog owners had their dogs on the leash, and 7 of the 11 dogs ran at me and jumped up on me. Most were friendly, but a couple of them were aggressive and pretty scary. Not cool.

Marcos Gonzalez (251)

6 Completed6 Reviews

Great hike for everyone family friendly in the beginning the staff that works there is super coo. And answer any question for you. And also did the Rock climbing was a great.

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