Cedar Creek and the Fishbowls
Chumash Wliderness Area in Los Padres National Forest
Highlights: The hike up Cedar Creek is an easy backpack of 2½ miles (one-way) on level trail that leads to a beautiful boulder-strewn campsite nestled beneath giant incense cedars and ponderosa pines. From the campsite, 3½ miles of strenuous switchbacks and steep downhill lead to the Fishbowls, sandstone-rimmed pools carved by the headwaters of Piru Creek. An alternate 13½ mile loop visits both the Fishbowls and Cedar Creek.
Directions: The drive takes about 1½ hours from Bakersfield.
A NATIONAL FOREST ADVENTURE PASS ($5.00) IS REQUIRED and can be purchased at Big 5 Sports in Bakersfield, or at the Ranger Station on Lockwood Valley Road.
Trailhead: The Cedar Creek trail is fairly level with easy creek crossings. From the Cedar Creek campsite at 2½ miles, switchbacks lead steeply, with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet, to the ridgetop. On the way up, ignore a trail that heads left to Pine Mountain Lodge. Further on, the trail levels out, then drops 1½ miles, with a loss of 800 feet, to the idyllic Fishbowls Camp. The Fishbowls themselves are 1/8 mile upstream. Thus, a strenuous roundtrip day hike of 7 miles and 1800 feet elevation gain is required to visit Fishbowls from Cedar Creek. Alternatively, start from the old corral on Road 7N03 at the Piru Creek crossing, and pack 6 miles up Piru Creek to the Fishbowls. Camp here. Next day, climb the ridge and drop down to Cedar Creek Camp at 9½ miles. The Cedar Creek trailhead is at 12 miles, and another 1½ miles east then north along the road loops back to the parking area at the corral.
Maps: Lockwood Valley and San Guillermo Mountain 7½-minute topographic quadrangles
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