Friday, December 10, 2010

#144: The Grotto Hike in Malibu

Number 144 comes to us from the beautiful mountains of Malibu. Last weekend our hiking gang travelled north on PCH and then 5 miles east on the car-sickness-inducing maze known as Yerba Buena Road to get to Circle X Ranch's Grotto Hike. The Grotto hike is only 3.5 miles roundtrip, but it took us about two hours because of the rock scrambling and exploring we did.

The car-sick hiking gang at the trail head

The first part of the hike is straightforward. Just park for free in the Circle X Ranch parking lot and head to the left toward the trail head sign. Follow the dirt path through some gorgeous mountains until you reach a dead end at a stream.

When you reach the dead end, head to the right towards these rocks

Next, head toward the right where you see a bunch of rocks. From here, you must rock scramble downward to reach the grotto. Rock scrambling reminded me of being a kid again. It was really fun, but a little tricky to get down there, so wear good shoes. After a short distance, you will see a crevice in the rocks. Slide down the big rock and you will have reached your destination!

To reach the grotto, you must slide down this rock

Brad standing inside the Grotto. The ceiling is one BIG boulder balancing on smaller boulders!

The Grotto is stunning. It's amazing that these huge (I mean HUGE) boulders fell on each other "just right" so that it created this giant cave with water in it. The whole ceiling of the grotto is one gigantic boulder that is balancing on smaller rocks. When I was in there, I had a frightening vision of an earthquake shaking all of the rocks loose. We had also seen the amazing movie 127 Hours a couple of weeks ago, so I had scary boulder scenes running through my mind from that movie as well. Anyway... I'm not trying to scare you away! Go see the Grotto--it's breath taking.

Near the grotto

Kelly and me!

If you continue below the grotto, you will see this area.

Look at the size of them rocks! This is a pond below the grotto.

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