1 review
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Grotto Trail
12896 Yerba Buena Rd, Circle X Ranch, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Malibu, CA 90265
P: 805-370-2301


  • Dogs must be on leash: Yes
  • Length of Hike: 3 Miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Type of Hike: Out and Back
  • Elevation Gain: 700 feet

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    • caymindiverActive 9 years, 10 months ago
      Said on Apr 8, 2014 by caymindiver Reply

      Now this is what I call a "Cool Hike", shaded, technical trail with a waterfall at the end! Bouldering in between and nice scenery. I've seen people bring in their dogs, but the only ones I've actually seen can make the whole trek are the larger (think golden retrievers, dobermans, german shepherds) types. The smaller breeds I don't think have the leg length to make the bouldering part. Shoot, sometimes I almost didn't have the leg reach to make it! lol!

      All kidding aside, this is a great hike. Be sure to bring snacks and plenty of water. Most of the hike is under canopy, however there is a portion or two that is in full sun so sunscreen is a must. The trail at some points became a little narrow and you have to watch your step. I did the return trip in a setting sun . . . not advisable. Bring a flashlight with you if you anticipate trying to return in darkness as the sides of the trail are steep enough you don't want to tumble down them. Especially in the dark, although I am sure the trees would eventually stop you . . .

      The waterfall . . . aaaahhhhhhhh! Water is nice and clear and cool. I would have liked to have waded out to the center and walked around the other side of the grotto. However, there are a ton of biodegrading leaves on the bottom and my past experiences leave me (pun intended) remembering how slimy they were. With that being said, next time I'll bring water shoes and venture out. Super great hike, not overly technical and worth the bouldering in to see the waterfall. Have fun!!

    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!