Devils Punchbowl Waterfall

Devils Punchbowl Falls, Napa Valley

I had found a new to me Napa Hiking website last week and saw Devils Punchbowl Falls listed so of course that peaked my interest! It says it is only 1.2 miles round trip but when you don’t follow the correct path it can be more like 4 miles oh and the 500 ft elevation gain (and I think it might be off a bit) isn’t mentioned that it is straight up and all at one time. Hence the sore knees, quads and calves!

The drive up through Deer Park was gorgeous! We hadn’t explored this area before and were pleasantly surprised at the views overlooking the Napa Valley. There’s a few vineyards strewn through the neighborhoods and are at a pretty high elevation for this area.

As we were walking down the fire road I kept thinking to myself, “oh no, we are going to have to walk back up this craziness!” but kept going anyway. We followed the stream down into the shaded areas and stopped and enjoyed the small little natural waterfalls created by the small boulders. Once we got to the T in the path the instructions said to go straight….um, how do you go straight at a T. Well we didn’t see the bright orange painted rocks marking the spot where you slide down a ways on your booty, so we took a right and enjoyed a small 3 foot waterfall then kept going on the trail for a while until we were back in the open and halfway around the mountain where we finally decided we weren’t on the right path and turned around. On our way back we went down to the stream where the larger boulders were to enjoy the shade and take some pics. It was fun going over the boulders, under the fallen trees, and hopping from rock to rock to get over the stream! But we hadn’t found what we went there for yet. Then we heard people having way too much fun. So we followed their happiness and found the way down…on my butt. It does say it is tricky getting down to the waterfall, fair warning!

After sliding down a little ways on my booty in the mud (always take a spare change of clothes when hiking with me!) we came to the top of the waterfall where we needed to hop over the water flow onto the dry rocks. Then climbed a little path down to this wonderful little swimming hole and the 14 ft waterfall. We had finally made it to our destination! It would have been completely magical if it weren’t for the person(s) who thought they should put their purple and green artwork on nature. Can’t exactly paint over a rock to take the graffiti off. :/

We enjoyed the waterfall and were fascinated by this little hidden gem being tucked away in the side of a mountain.

Loved the high school kids we ran into that had hiked down there just to take selfies with the waterfall in the background! Oh to be young again and have the technology we have now.

After resting up a bit we got up the courage to climb out and head back up to the real world. We took several pit stops and chatted with people heading down that were so excited to hear the falls were flowing then back to the car with heated seats on and top down to enjoy the gorgeous drive through the valley.

Have I mentioned I love where I live? Seriously, so much beauty all around!

This post is also linked to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for Rule of Thirds for the cute pic of the purple flowers we found along the trail. Click on the link above to check out other fellow bloggers’ posts for this week!

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  1. This sounds like quite an adventure! Sometimes the rules truly are meant to be broken and from the photos this appears to be one of them! Absolutely gorgeous 🙂 Finding the off-the-beaten-path areas definitely adds to the fun.

    1. Thanks! Yes, we felt we were just bending the rules along with a handful of other people! The reward was very nice too!

  2. Great series of photos again, but the best part for me was your comment “when you don’t follow the correct path it can be more like 4 miles” as I am pretty well know for finding the ‘long-cut’ (versus a shortcut) to a destination… But the beauty of Mother Nature usually makes it all OK 🙂

    1. Thank you! And I totally agree that the beauty we get to experience when taking a ‘long-cut’ (I am going to have to use that expression next time!) is absolutely worth it 🙂

  3. The owner of the Devil’s Punchbowl property is working with the Napa County Sheriffs Office to stage raids to arrest and prosecute anyone found on the property. This land has NEVER been open to the public. The neighbors who live nearby complain to the land owner constantly about the traffic and the trash everyone leaves behind. The land owner has suffered theft of equipment from this property and many acts of vandalism. Tolerance for Punchbowl hikers has run out. Smiling in Sonoma, you would be doing your readers a favor by removing all references to this landmark and not encouraging them to bend the rules. I hope everyone recognizes that this is a friendly warning. No one wants to send folks to jail, but that is now happening.

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