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Fishbowls Swimming Holes - Log in to edit.

Category: Backpacking



Trail: 1 1 miles, 1000 ft. vertical Time: 2 days round-trip. Driving: 2.5 hours depending on traffic Difficulty: Easy, one steep section, lots of swimming holes. Season: April-October You must check for road closures (Mount Pinos Ranger District (661) 245-373 1) The hotter the better for this trip.

Relevant Guidebooks & Maps

USGS 7.5' Maps: Lockwood Valley, McDonald Peak, Cuddy Valley, and Frazier Mtn. are available in the OTL Gear room. Even better is a National Park laminated trails map 1:50,000 scale available at REI. Ranger Station is Mount Pinos Ranger District (661) 245-3731.


From Claremont take 1-2 1 0 West for 3 8 milesand then go north on 1-5. Take 1-5 northbound for 6 milesuntil you reach Frazier Mountain Road (there will be aNational Forest Sign). Frazier Mountain Road is just afterthe town of Gorman. If you reach the town of Lebec on I-5 you have gone too far. Follow Frazier Mountain Roadfor 7 miles to where it goes into the town of Lake of theWoods and then forks north-South. Go South on 9N03 orLockwood Valley Road as you leave Lake of the Woods.Follow Lockwood Valley Road for 10 miles until youreach the turnoff for Thorn Meadows and Pine SpringsCampgrounds (Road 7N03). For a shorter first day, continuepast Pine Springs Campground 3.2 miles after theturnoff and go another 3.7 miles to Fishbowls trailheadabout 5 miles fiom your turnoff. For a longer first day, buteasier second day, continue along 7N03 past the turnofffor Fishbowls for another 1.5 miles and turn right 7N03Ctoward Thorn Meadows campground. Park at the trailheadfor the Fishbowls at the Cedar Creek Trail.


This hike has awesome swimming holes and a nice backcountry campground that might be have other campers but offers a great camping opportunity for easy backpacking. The hike is quite scenic and follows the river almost the entire time. For a more remote experience, camp to the north of Fishbowls campground along Piru Creek. One half mile north of Fishbowls campground a spring feeds into the river and will offer a deeper swimming area, camp downstream (to the north) of where this spring feeds in. There are many flat areas along the stream to camp. There are a series of 3 foot waterfalls just to the South of Fishbowls campground. The trail is a simple 11 mile loop and is easy to follow. Stream crossings will require you to get wet during the spring season. The timing of the hike varies by how you do the loop. For an easier first day, leave from the north entrance parking at the Fishbowls trailhead on 7N03, the trail is flat for 5 miles all the way to Fishbowls campground. The 1.5 miles of trail South of the Fishbowls climbs 700ft (which is what makes this area great for swimming). Then the following mile descends 700fl and there is an easy flat 2 miles to return to the road 7N03. To connect the trails you will have to hike for 1.3 miles on the road. You meet road 7N03C and hike for 0.75 miles. Turn Left on 7N03 and hike 0.5 miles to your car. For a harder first day, leave from the trailhead on 7N03C (the road that goes to Thorn Meadows Campground). Hike to Cedar Creek Campsite 3 miles in on the Cedar Creek Trial which goes to the Fishbowls. Once you reach Cedar Creek the trail gets steep and you climb over the 3 mile pass of switch backs. This ascent is very steep (1000ft in one mile) and there is no water between Cedar Creek and the Fishbowls campground 2.5 miles later. Once you reach the Fishbowls, the difficult part of your hike is done and you are ready to go swimming and camp in either fie campground or along the river one mile north of the campground. Variations: You can park your car at the northern Trailhead and hike 1.5 miles on the road and then do the long fvst day option for a total of 7 miles the first day, leaving an easy 4 miles of relatively flat downhill for the second day.

Safety Notes

Bring extra socks to change to prevent blisters. Ifyou are backpacking you can dry your socks on yourstomach while you sleep if the weather is cold, or hangthem to dry outside if the weather is warm. Peak hike elevationis 6,000A. The Fishbowls campground is often full on springand summer weekends. Call 1-2 weeks in advance to reservea campsite at the Fishbowls campground. Also, youcan still backpack even if Fishbowls is fill by requesting apermit that will allow you to camp alongside the trail tothe north of the campground instead of at the campground.The Ranger Station is the Mount Pinos Ranger District(661) 245-373 1. Otherwise, you can still backpack with apermit but must camp elsewhere (which is a good optionfor a more remote experience). Backpackers need both anovernight permit and a stove permit. You need a ForestAdventure Pass to park in the National Forest.

Edited by (in order): OTL Staff

Last updated: 05/25/2009


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