Cedar Creek and the Fishbowls

Chumash Wliderness Area in Los Padres National Forest


Highlights: The hike up Cedar Creek is an easy backpack of 2 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, 3 miles of strenuous switchbacks and steep downhill lead to the Fishbowls, sandstone-rimmed pools carved by the headwaters of Piru Creek. An alternate 13 mile loop visits both the Fishbowls and Cedar Creek.

Directions: The drive takes about 1 hours from Bakersfield.

  • Head south on I-5, and take the Frazier Park exit before reaching Tejon Pass.
  • Continue west (towards Mt. Pinos) for 7 miles on Frazier Mountain Road and turn left (south) on Lockwood Valley Road.
  • Drive past the Lockwood Valley Ranger Station and Boy Scout Road (entrance to Camp Three Falls) for 8 miles and turn left (south) on Road 7N03.
  • Road 7N03 starts out paved and deteriorates into dirt. There are rough spots, but most cars should have no problem. Stay on the main road, ignoring side roads, for 7 miles and two creek crossings until a Y junction is reached. Take the right-hand road towards Thorn Meadows.
  • The trailhead is on the right another mile and another creek crossing after the Y junction. There is room to turn the car around just past the trailhead.

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 2 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 1 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 9 miles. The Cedar Creek trailhead is at 12 miles, and another 1 miles east then north along the road loops back to the parking area at the corral.

Maps: Lockwood Valley and San Guillermo Mountain 7-minute topographic quadrangles


  • U.S. Forest Service Adventure Pass ($5.00) and fire permit (free) are required and can be obtained at the Ranger Station (661-245-3731) on Lockwood Valley Road.

  • Giardia is a concern and a water purifier is needed at camp.


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