Even though it was November the weather was brilliant and warm in SoCal so we set out for another hike in the San Gabriel Mountains. Devils Punchbowl Natural Area. It’s on the north side of the San Gabriel Mountains making it much less busy than a majority of hikes in the San Gabriels on the south side facing LA and San Bernadino Counties.
The punchbowl has been formed by the San Andreas and Punchbowl faults creating a unique set of canyons and uplifts right next the might San Gabriel peaks to the south. We arrived late in the afternoon due to traffic (LA what a surprise). Setting off from the visitor center we made our way quickly up the Burkhart Trail. Our destination was the Devil’s Chair a rocky outlook overlooking the majority of the Punchbowl rock formation.
After a mile of climbing the trail quickly levels out and we made a turn towards Devil’s Chair and South Fork Camp. From here the trail becomes single track hugging the mountainside. With the uphill section behind us we picked up the pace so we wouldn’t be hiking in the dark. Off to the north in huge and flat Antelope Valley.
Just over 3 miles into the hike there is a turn downhill to reach Devil’s Chair. The trail quickly descends via switchbacks to reach the “Chair”. The forest service has put in some cables and metal walkways to make reaching the viewpoint easy. It’s totally safe and the walkway leads you out to a magnificent view of the Devil’s Punchbowl. We admired the view for a few minutes but chose not to linger with the quickly fading sun.
On the way back as the temperature dropped rapidly we were treated to an amazing sunset over Antelope Valley. By the time we made it back to the car we both had headlamps on. If you’re looking from an escape from the hordes of LA hikers head to the Devil’s Chair out by Lancaster for a great hike.
Distance: 7.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 1800 feet