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    Grotto Trail

    Ventura County, California
    Distance1.1mi
    Elevation Gain1,163ft
    Trailhead Elevation1,595ft
    Top1,595ft
    Elevation Min/Max1220/1595ft
    Elevation Start/End1595/1595ft

    Grotto Trail

    Grotto Trail is a hiking trail in Ventura County, California. It is within Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. It is 1.1 miles long and begins at 1,595 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 2.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,163 feet. The trail ends near the Group Campground camp site and the Grotto cave entrance.

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    Pathfinder | 73 pts
    4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
    1/15/2018
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    Los Angeles, CA
    Adventurer | 332 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    4/18/2009
    What a great trip! Perhaps one of the best day hikes in LA.

    We went in mid-April and there was still a good amount of water - glad we wore our chacos, but totally doable in boots too if that's what suits you. The bushwhacking and scrambling up the creek was SO MUCH FUN. There were a few nice places to stop and wade around in the water, but nothing deep enough to fully swim in.

    Be careful to stay on the creek the whole time - there are quite a few alternate dry drainages that we started up but that took us quickly away from the water.

    It actually did take us exactly 6 hours, but we took probably a total of 40 minutes to wade and chill with the amazing scenery.

    Oh, and be careful, esp if you're bringing kids - we saw a couple tiny snakes in the water.

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    Woodland Hills, CA
    Pathfinder | 60 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    7/25/2005
    Our first visit. Great info on hike and map. Thanks,
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    Grotto Trail Professional Guides

    Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

    Laura Randall
    "Located on the grounds of a former Boy Scout camp about 5 miles north of the Pacific Coast Highway, this trail offers a nice sampling of the scenery that characterizes Santa Monica Mountains hiking: open fields, shady streambed, live oak forest, and volcanic-rock walls. It ends at a cool and somewhat gloomy grotto where you can splash around before making the arduous uphill trek back to the car. A difficult scramble over boulders for the last 200 yards puts this hike in the strenuous category." Read more
    Allen Riedel and Monique Riedel
    "Amble along shady trails, across creeks, and through meadows while enjoying scenic vistas of sandstone formations in a seemingly uninhabited portion of Southern California. This trail offers something for everyone: Verdant foliage, waterfalls, abundant wildlife, and boulder-hopping are a few of the perks associated with this trail. The most coveted aspect of this hike is The Grotto, a subterranean cave only attainable by scrambling down capacious boulders. Personal skill is not going to be the only deciding factor in this endeavor, because water levels and seasonal changes in the creek will likely be the preeminent element in your venture." Read more
    Jerry Schad and David Money Harris
    "The 1,655-acre Circle X Ranch, formerly run by the Boy Scouts of America but now administered by the National Park Service, is positively riddled with Tom Sawyer–esque hiking paths. Chief among those is the Grotto Trail, perfect for young or young-in-thought adventurers. This hike is almost entirely downhill on the way in and uphill on the way back. Plan accordingly and bring enough drinking water." Read more
    Day Hiking Los Angeles (The Mountaineers Books)
    Casey Schreiner
    "This out-and-back on the Circle X Ranch, a former Boy Scout property, remains a popular and classic Southern California hike for Santa Monica Mountains explorers of all ages and abilities. A lovely trail takes you into a canyon with exquisite coastal sage scrub, beautiful views of the highest peak in the mountain range, and a fun boulder-scrambling area." Read more
    Jerry Schad
    "The 1655-acre Circle X Ranch, formerly run by the Boy Scouts of America but now administered by the National Park Service, is positively riddled with Tom Sawyeresque hiking paths. The Grotto and Mishe Mokwa (see Trip 7) trails are among the most interesting in the whole Santa Monica Mountain range." Read more
    Allen Riedel
    "Descend into a lush and lovely canyon replete with flowing stream, wildflowers, and peaceful scenery. The Grotto is a lovely slice of idyllic splendor sandwiched between ever narrowing canyon walls. The hike begins by leaving the parking area and meandering along the west fork of Arroyo Sequit. For a good portion of the route there is shade, though there are some exposed sections. If timed right, the canyon provides a majestic backdrop for winter rains. Multiple waterfalls can be seen along the route, as long as there is a lot of water. Of course, the drier it is, the more likely the falls are to dry up and simply be a trickle—if even that." Read more

    Trail Information

    Ventura County
    Nearby City
    Trail Guides

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    Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
    Accessibility
    Moderate
    Skill Level
    Waterfalls
    Features
    Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
    Local Contacts
    USGS Trifuno Pass, Arroyo Sequit
    Local Maps

    Trail Log