Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
2,013.00 ft (613.56 m)
Trail type
7.30 mi (11.75 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Devil’s Chair Trail offers a 7.3-mile journey through the striking landscapes of the San Gabriel Mountains, nestled within the Pleasant View Wilderness. This path meanders alongside the Punchbowl Fault, presenting an immersive experience into the geological marvels that define this region.

Reaching the culmination of the hike, the Devil’s Chair itself is an awe-inspiring sight. Enclosed by a protective fence, this unique formation is a peninsula jutting out over a dramatic 250-foot cliff, composed of white crushed rock. Standing at the edge provides a palpable sense of the earth's power; directly below, a distinct line snakes up a ridge to the left, marking the boundary where the vibrant Punchbowl sandstone meets its end. It’s a physical reminder of the dynamic forces at play, with the San Gabriel Mountains rising imposingly behind and the Punchbowl rocks ascending alongside.

Gazing across the canyon, the vista unfolds to reveal the Pinyon Fault, the undulating Pinyon Ridge, and the distant San Andreas Fault. The notable notch within Pinyon Ridge, sculpted by Big Rock Creek, adds to the picturesque landscape. The prominence of the Punchbowl Fault in geological studies stems from its extensive surface visibility, a rarity in a field where many faults lie hidden beneath layers of sediment.

The trek back is an exploration of ecological diversity, transitioning from the towering pines along steep mountainous terrain to the more compact, round shapes of Pinyon Pines. This shift highlights the changing climate zones from the moist, shaded mountains to the arid, sun-soaked ridges.

The trail’s name, Devil’s Chair, holds a narrative steeped in the lore of the Serrano people, the land’s original inhabitants. They viewed the mountain lion, a creature both elusive and mystical, as a symbol of evil, thus “Devil’s Chair. 
The “Punchbowl” descriptor pays homage to the canyon’s unique bowl-like shape, a testament to the landscape’s ongoing sculpting by geological forces.

This hike is not just a physical journey but a passage through time, offering insights into the natural and cultural history that shapes this part of the San Gabriel Mountains. It’s a reminder of the ever-present dialogue between the land and its people, past and present.

The Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area offers a rich tapestry of hiking trails, stunning vistas, and an enlightening Nature Center. Visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the area’s diverse ecology, wildlife, and distinctive geological formations.
An assortment of trails is available to accommodate hikers at every skill level. 

The park is equipped with a variety of amenities, these include engaging animal exhibits, trails for equestrian and mountain biking enthusiasts, and picnic spots ideal for relaxing in nature's embrace. The availability of restrooms, guided nature walks, and the Junior Ranger program adds layers of convenience and educational value for guests of all ages. Parking facilities are provided at the Nature Center.

 For those interested in delving deeper into the Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area or planning a hike to the Devil’s Chair, comprehensive information and updates can be found on the Los Angeles County parks website at and the trail’s dedicated page at

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Adventure Pass required

Open Year-round



Unique geology. Mountain Views.


Can be hot in the summer.

Trailhead Elevation

4,771.00 ft (1,454.20 m)

Highest point

5,352.00 ft (1,631.29 m)


Historically significant
Big vistas
Geologically significant
Family friendly

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping

Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel Mountains
Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel Mountains
San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, California


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