Summary: This is a fun hike into a dark and spooky grotto, with house size boulders, caves, waterfalls, steep walls, and a real sense of mystery. The hike into the grotto is pleasant, but not spectacular. Once in the grotto you can have a blast scrambling around on the boulders of you have a good sense of balance and are careful. Lots of fun!
Trailhead: Circle X Ranch is 5 ½ miles from Pacific Coast Highway on Yerba Buena Road in Malibu. Alternately, from Westlake Village, exit on Westlake Blvd from the 101 Freeway, and follow it south for several miles as it merges with Mulholland highway. Turn right onto Little Sycamore Canyon and it will become Yerba Buena Road as you cross the county line. Proceed on Yerba Buena Road for about 5 miles to the Circle X Ranger Station on the left side of the road. (Lat:34.1103 Lon:-118.9365)
Trail Guides for Grotto Trail:
On The Trail - Malibu to Santa Barbara
by Cathy Philipp (Cathy Philipp Publishing)
by Tom Stienstra & Ann Marie Brown (Foghorn Press)
Afoot & Afield In Los Angeles
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs
Ranger Contact: Santa Monica Rec. Area - 805-370-2301
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted 104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 8 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Samantha on 5/1/2012
The Grotto - is a sweet small little place, more of an "Enchanted Forest" about 15mins. from PCH. Lush green Oak trees for shade, little streams, leading up to the Grotto falls. OVER, the boulders there, be prepared to traverse the boulders- Two sets - before the falls, it was great Fun :-) I felt like a kid again. This Hike going in is mainly all down hill, but going out its all UP hill, your muscles will be ready after the boulder hopping. The trail itself is very nice, but to reach the falls there is a small trail on the right, past the first set of boulders. Enjoy, it was a beautiful little spot, very tranquil. Please, leave it as you found it, what you take in, take out :-)
Reviewed by DangerDave on 4/16/2012
This hike greatly exceeded our expectations. We hiked it Sunday, 4/15 and it was a cool, dry day. The hike down to the grotto is in very good shape and well marked. The first waterfall had very little flow and we thought we may strike out, but the water at the grotto was flowing well. Once you get to the grotto, there is no trail, but this is where the fun begins. We continued downstream for another ½ mile, making our way over and around boulders. We saw some salamanders in various pools and there are other smaller falls along the way (though none as dramatic as the grotto). My GPS recorded 4.26 miles roundtrip. We are definitely hiking this one again! Parking is free and the trailhead is super easy to find.
Reviewed by Steven on 4/15/2012
Hiked this trail today, I have to say it is by far one of the best hikes I have found to date. I have been looking for a hike that is not a fire road that is used as a hike but rather a true through the woods type of hike. This one satisfied my needs nicely. You can check out my summary here.
Reviewed by courtney on 3/26/2012
Hiked the Grotto Trail today, after the heavy rains yesterday some of the trail was muddy but nothing too horrible, nice and cool. About an hour and a half out with stops for checking out the newts and frogs and water bugs then after a stop for snacks in the Grotto roughly an hour back (mostly uphill with about a five minute stop for breath). Easy, clear trail with a few lookouts along the way. Make sure you bring enough water, we didn't see any spigots or water fountains anywhere like on most trails.
Reviewed by Melinda on 2/1/2012
Just hiked and loved this hike. Lots of shade and beautiful oaks. Almost completely dry, can just imagine when all the waterfalls are flowing would be incredible. Long drive but well worth it!!!
Reviewed by Jo on 10/13/2011
Just did...loved it, but would highly recommend going after the Winter rains on a cool day. Mid-October was too hot (90 degrees, no breeze (so tiring on uphill return), and creek was dry. Can't wait to return in February! Nice uphill/downhill, scenery, fragrant, and not too long.
Reviewed by hatter on 8/2/2011
loved this trail, easy in harder out, but none the less there was alot to see. and fun area to boulder
Reviewed by GB on 1/16/2011
We liked the cave very much - beautiful rocks and very nice for kids!
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