Friday, January 23, 2015

My Hike to the Jim Morrison Cave

We came, we saw, we conquered the elusive Jim Morrison Cave.
I think the first time I had ever heard about the cave, was through a youtube video. I watched a beauty guru talk about her favorite hikes in Los Angeles, and this Jim Morrison cave happened to be the one of them. The shots of the cave were stunning and as soon as I finished the video I knew this was something I had to check out myself. So, at the inception of 2015, my adventure partner and I decided to make this hike one of our resolutions of the year.
We conquered the hike on Saturday January 10th 2015. The weather was nice throughout the week, so we thought "why would Saturday be any different?" We were wrong. We chose the one day out of the week that it decided to POUR from sun up to sun down... But we were too set on going to turn back from a little rain. So we started the long drive to Malibu, and took the freeways instead of going along PCH which in retrospect, would've been a much better idea. If you go down the coast (we were coming from Redondo Beach so Northbound) keep going until you hit Corral Canyon Drive. There is a gas station and a traffic light so it's hard to miss. Take a right on Corral Canyon Drive and go to the VERY TIPPY TOP until the road turns into a dirt path leading to a fairly large lot. The drive up this hill is very windy and swirly, and it seems never ending so drive slowly and enjoy the view. Once you get into the lot, you'll see a few different trailheads connecting to the lot, one called "Castro Motorway Bulldog Motorway." This one does NOT lead to the Jim Morrison cave, nor do any of the trails attached to the lot. We learned this the hard way. We went up and down, over and under all of the trailheads that connected to the lot in the pouring rain and were SO ready to throw in the towel until we saw two guys walking in from the lot entrance. It was an extremely cold and rainy day so these were the first humans we had encountered that entire time. With their guidance, we found out that the entrance to the trail that lead to the cave was not connected to ANY of the trailheads in that lot. If you park in the lot, you need to walk out towards the entrance, and walk down the actual fire road, which is the road you drove UP to find the lot, and eventually you'll come to a trail entrance titled "Backbone Trail." This is the one. You walk up this trail for 15-20 minutes, and you'll come across the notorious circular rock formation that everyone posts pictures of. If you see this formation, it's a dead giveaway that you are in the right place. As much as my friend and I wanted to add a rock to the circle, we were so exhausted that we just headed straight for the cave. If you've walked all the way to the rock formation, you've gone too far. The cave is nestled inbetween some bushes and shrubbery BEFORE that distracting spiral of rocks. To the left, before the spiral, there will be a pointy rock structure, that really doesn't look like much, but that's it. That's the cave. There will be a vague small path that leads the way to this structure, and walk slowly because I got pretty scratched up from all the bushes. Once you get close enough to the rock structure, you'll see all the graffiti leading to the cave entrance, also known as the "birth canal" (gross). It's a tight squeeze, and it's dark in there so make sure to throw a stone into the entrance before you head in, in case there's anything creepy crawly nesting in there. Climb your way in and pat yourself on the back because you've found the infamous cave where Jim Morrison allegedly had his acid trips, wrote his music, and carved a skeleton into the base of the cave. Graffiti covers the walls of the cave so it's quite a sight to see. You apparently get an excellent view of the San Fernando Valley from the cave, but since we went on a rainy day all we got a view of was some thick, wet fog. But it was still worth it.
All in all, despite going on the wrong trails a couple of times, the overall hike was beautiful and definitely worth checking out. Learn from my mistake and CHECK THE WEATHER before you go. Pack some water and a light snack and have yourself a little picnic in the cave. I really don't know how my friend and I persevered and hiked our little butts off for like 6 hours. God was definitely with us on this trip. Good luck to any of you who decide to take on this hike. I hope this post is helpful. God speed!
The "Birth Canal"
Inside the cave
Jim's little skelly