Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hike 6 In The Grottttoooo!

Many miles up the PCH from Los Angeles and several miles into the Santa Monica mountains, lies the Circle X Ranch. X marks the spot for a very cool hike through wide and narrow trails, over streams and through meadows and ultimately a very tough rock scramble/climb for some hidden double rainbows, errr grottos.

First things first, the trailhead actually went DOWN for once at the start with a very nice decline through some great tree laden forests. I know you usually go down when hiking a canyon but considering the last few hikes, I was glad to rest the dogs for a bit.

The trail then runs across the top of a very cool waterfall and eventually runs up and down across a false ridge with amazing views of the surrounding canyons and other waterfalls and bat caves. No, not THAT bat cave,

THIS bat cave.

This hike rocks for one simple reason, the views. The rock formations, the vegetation, the canyons that seems to stretch forever, it really takes your breath away (even your double rainbow breaths) and really does not look like California at all. Of course, only being here for 3 months, I only have a small conception of what California looks like but still, c'mon, doesn't this look like Arizona or New Mexico???

In any event, the trail eventually goes down into the bottom of the canyon and then crosses a stream several times until coming to the walls of Jericho, I mean the "rock scramble".

Several websites describe this portion of the hike as "easy" but with a major climb-down a rock face and a some severe up and downs, this .1 of a mile to the grotto kicked my ass! I am not sure I even went to the "right" grotto. As you can see there was one underneath the rocks that looked cool.

And then there was this amazing waterfall grotto which made the climb down really worth it.

So, double grotto!

One bad thing about canyon hiking is the fact that you have to hike UP the canyon to get out which always make my dogs bark.

Overall, I was really impressed by this hike. The views were amazing, the hiking was both challenging and laid back. Also, my hiking partner was impressively gutting out the hike through some injuries and the slower pace really makes you enjoy the scenery more. Something I recommend to every hiker is a slower pace. And an amazing hiking partner.

Some links to learn about the grotto walk:

Modern Hiker with an impressive roundup:

Topo from


  1. Wow. looks like the water was really flowing!

  2. That water was coming down hot and heavy. The water was also deeper than expected so no wading for me. Thanks for the comment!


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