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Devil's Punchbowl

A cache by Yosemite John and Debbie Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 6/27/2005
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size: not chosen (not chosen)

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Geocache Description:

Breathtaking scenery, spectacular geologic formations, evidence of faults, hiking trails, and a friendly staff of Rangers and volunteers await you at this earthcache.

To receive credit for this earthcache:

Email us with the name of the age during which the pink and tan colored Punchbowl rocks were deposited and the number of years ago when this occurred. This information can be found on the plaque at the waypoint. Submit your email through our profile on the geocaching website. Do NOT post the answers in your log.

Email must be sent at the time you log the find. If caching in a group all cachers must meet the email requirement individually.

In 2011 earthcache guidelines changed to make photos optional.

Now you can earn pins through the Earthcache Masters Pin Program. Enjoy!

Devil's Punchbowl is a County Park consisting of 1310 acres of unique natural geologic features. The Nature Center of Devil's Punchbowl is located at 4,740 feet above sea level. The Punchbowl Canyon is 300 feet deep at the vista point. The prominent uptilted rock features are composed of layers of sedimentary rock deposited long ago by large quantities of water from the higher San Gabriel Mountains (reaching to 8,000 feet in elevation). Over time, these layers of rock were squeezed into their present steeply tilted form by the uplift that occurs along the Punchbowl and Pinyon faults as well as by pressures along the San Andreas Fault.

The Visitor Center / Nature Center features dioramas of the flora and fauna of the area, including some live specimens of insects, reptiles and birds. The main area is easily accessible with ample parking. Parking and entry to the park is free. There are picnic tables, BBQs, restrooms, water fountains, and a drink vending machine. Trails, from easy to more strenuous, can be found in the nearby vicinity, with the Visitor Center / Nature Center serving as a good starting point. Park hours are sunrise to sunset. The Visitor Center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m and CLOSED on Mondays.

Click on images to enlarge.

Devil's Punchbowl County Park was opened to the public in December of 1963. The County of Los Angeles purchased 40 acres held in private ownership where the Nature Center is located in order to preserve the unique natural features of the area. The surrounding U.S. Forest Service lands were added to increase the total acreage to 1310 acres and to enhance the County Park. The area is managed by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, typically staffed by a Ranger and Volunteer Naturalist.

The Devil’s Punchbowl Visitor / Nature Center was designed as an educational facility to assist visitors in learning more about the geologic features of the park as well as the local flora and fauna. The center contains wildlife dioramas and other educational exhibits. There is a collection of live exhibits featuring insects, reptiles, and birds indigenous to the area. Live birds on display included American Kestral, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, and Red Tailed Hawk. Live snakes on display included a Glossy Snake, Gopher Snake, Sidewinder, Southern Pacific Rattlesnake, and a California Kingsnake.

EarthCache Masters Pin Program

The main feature of the park is the unique geology of the area. The park is riddled with folded, uptilted rock formations that are the result of two major forces – water and earth movement. In some cases, the wear of water has created natural arches. Twelve arches have been identified in the area and are featured in an information exhibit at the center. The uniquely uptilted rock formations are reminders of the continuing movement of the earth’s crust.

Historically, the geology of the area indicates that approximately 60 million years ago an ancient basin was formed underneath a shallow ocean in the Devil’s Punchbowl area. Sand and silt were deposited. Large boulders (up to ten feet in diameter) tumbled into the basin from a granite body of rock, which is now exposed on Pinyon Ridge. The ocean retreated and the exposed rocks began the process of eroding. Additionally, Earth movement occurred between 40 and 60 million years ago on several faults in the area and continues to this day. This fault action further eroded the area. The sandstone of the Punchbowl formation was deposited about 13 million years ago. Vertical movement on the Punchbowl Fault raised a block of the San Gabriel Mountains. It took over a million years to form the unique vertical relief viewable in the area today.

The continuous action of faulting and erosion shaped the Devil’s Punchbowl into the fascinating example of geological forces that is seen from this earthcache in the present time. It is not surprising that fossils have also been discovered in the area. A detailed explanation and illustration of the forces that created and shaped the Devil’s Punchbowl area is available in a handout at the Visitor / Nature Center or by visiting

Visitors can view the unique geologic formations as they approach the County Park, including an arch visible from the roadway. It is recommended that visitors stop at the Visitor / Nature Center as a good way to learn more about the local flora and fauna as well as the geology of the area. Informational hand-outs are available such as a map of area trails, an explanation of the geological development of the area, and a calendar of events. The Visitor / Nature Center holds live animal demonstrations, hikes (such as full moon hikes), features meteor shower viewing and star parties, as well as tours of the nearby San Andreas Fault. The San Andreas Fault Tour includes informal discussion of the history of the fault, earthquake prediction, and general geology.

For more information:

For advanced scientific information on geology, please visit the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) website at

For scientific information on California earthquake monitoring, please visit the California Integrated Seismic Network website at

For specific information on the faults and geology of the Devil’s Punchbowl area, please visit

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178 Logged Visits

Found it 166     Write note 11     Post Reviewer Note 1     

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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

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