Distance

2.6 Miles

Elevation Gain

500 Feet

Activities

Chillin, Photography, Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Year Round

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Derek Mathewson

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Scenic
Swimming Hole

A pretty secluded spot about 6.5 miles in from the coast that offers a subterraneous cave, a splash of water and exploring tunnels. Perfect for any rock or boulder hopping enthusiast.

Who doesn't enjoy a hike that offers water, scenic views, boulder hopping and a subterranean cave? I know I do! The Grotto Trail begins at Circle X Ranch, which looks a bit like a small cowboy western store, and is approximately 6 miles from the Highway 1 (PCH). The parking is a tad tight, fitting about 8-12 vehicles, so try to start your hike earlier than later to avoid the crowds. To get to the Grotto, take the wide dirt road to the left, which will bring you around the Circle X building to the start of the trail.

On your way you'll pass a campground that accommodates up to 40-50 people. I believe the fee is $2 per person per night to camp there...reservations are required. As you bypass the campground you'll see the sign that reads Grotto Trailhead: Canyon View Trail .4 miles and The Grotto 1.3 miles. Continue on the trail for a quarter mile, while passing through an open area with great canyon views of the Santa Monica mountains and where the Grotto awaits your visit. Keep going until you arrive at a creek. From here, this is where the fun begins!

You'll then boulder and rock hop your way to the upper part of the Grotto. When you see a fissure (a large boulder jammed between a canyon slot) and a giant slab of rock that serves as the rooftop to the cave, you'll know you're close to the entrance to the upper Grotto (the cave). Cross over the top of the slab and look for an entrance to your left and make your way between the boulders to get into the cave. Once down there, go crazy exploring, taking pictures and cool down with a snack and beverage. Please remember to keep these places pristine and clean and pick up after yourselves.

To get to the lower Grotto, come out of the cave the way you came in and make your way to the right against the canyon walls. You'll then hike down a pretty steep hill that offers a substantial amount of tree branches and roots to use as leverage. As you make it down the canyon floor, turn to your left and you'll see the Lower Grotto. Once you're done soaking in this natural wonder, you'll then head back the way you came.

The Grotto has been around close to nine thousand years, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon, so make the hike and enjoy it for yourselves!

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Have you done this adventure? Leave a review!

Distance

2.6 Miles

Elevation Gain

500 Feet

Activities

Chillin, Photography, Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Year Round

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

Derek Mathewson

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Hike to Balancing Rock

Adventure

Hike Sandstone Peak

Adventure

Hike the Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak

Adventure

Climb at Echo Cliffs

More Nearby Adventures

Related Stories

destinations

WATCH: A Way of Life Under Attack - 'Welcome to Gwichyaa Zhee'

All over this country, indigenous people are literally just fighting for their identity.

gear

Patagonia's First Ever Product Collaboration: Danner & Patagonia Wading Boots

Debuted at Summer Outdoor Retailer 2018, Patagonia's newest fly fishing products are now available.

activities

The World's Gnarliest Bike Race: 1000+ Miles on the Silk Road

"How tough it will be cannot be understated, but as Mike Hall once said, 'Nothing that’s worth an...

photography

How Landscape Photographers Can Improve at Leave No Trace

We often talk about “leaving no trace” in the outdoors. You don't take anything from the wilderne...

More Stories