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D is for Devil's Punchbowl: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post


The stark mountainous rocks at Devil's Punchbowl jut up from the earth

I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the fourth post in the series.

Devil's Punchbowl near Pearblossom, California, teaches visitors about the relationship between geology and earthquakes and (since the 2020 Bobcat Fire) also shows how nature recovers after a wildfire. Although the nature center building was destroyed in the fire, the nature center itself has relocated into a different building. Outside that building you will find a couple of ravens on display, and inside you will find various snakes, spiders, and beetles. A Mojave green rattlesnake (whose name I was told but have forgotten) is an old, one-eyed female who would not survive in the wild. Her lack of an eye is apparently genetic, as one of her offspring also was born with only one eye. Mojave greens are venomous, with their venom containing both hemotoxins and neurotoxins. Although I have seen them in the wild, I prefer to view them from a distance, or with a wall of glass between us. 

The one-eyed Mojave green rattlesnake that lives in the nature center

After a stop at the nature center, I decided to take a hike on the one mile loop trail. It starts near the nature center and is well marked.

A brown metal sign reads "TRAIL" and points the way to go

If you go in spring, you might be rewarded with wildflowers in bloom. 

California poppies bloom 

While the trail is relatively short, if you are of the mind that hiking poles are functional and not a fashion accessory, you'll probably want to bring some. Although I didn't slide or lose my footing at any time, I was glad to have hiking poles to give me confidence that I would remain upright. The trail descends about 300 feet (and then rises the same). 

This is an example of the rougher spots of the trail

The nature center is at the top of the ridge in the middle, to give a perspective of the trail's descent

As you descend, you will be rewarded (at least in the spring) with the sound of running water. A cool stream flows through the rocks. The video below shows the creek and surrounding rock formations.

The contrasting landscape views, with burnt trees, green new vegetation, stark bare rock formations, bubbling streams, and snow-capped mountain peaks in the background, make the Devil's Punchbowl an interesting place to visit. Parking and admission are free. 

Snow capped mountains in the background, stark bare rock formations, and burnt trees in the foreground


  1. Absolutely lovely pictures! I've heard of the Devil's Punchbowl, but knew essentially nothing about it. Bits of that hike seem very challenging!

    1. It wasn't too bad, but I am a big believer in hiking poles!

  2. It's a fascinating landscape, the total opposite, almost, of our swamps. I'd love to visit in person.

    1. I don't know of any swamps nearby here. If you're ever in the area, let me know!

  3. Given that it's called Devil's Punchbowl, it makes sense that you hike DOWN into it, but the climb back OUT must have been exhausting! Beautiful views, though. I can just hear Jed Clampett saying, "Well, I'll be a one-eyed, green mojave rattlesnake!"


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