LET'S GET WET--EXPLORE THE FALLS BELOW THE GROTTO AT CIRCLE X RANCH-- OUR LOCAL WATERFALL PARADISE!
WHERE: Circle X ranch, in the western Santa Monica Mountains
NOTE: BECAUSE THIS HIKE GETS REALLY POPULAR IN WATERFALL SEASON, WE ARE LIMITED TO 50 HIKERS MAXIMUM, AND CAR-POOLING IS MANDATORY--THE RANGERS GET A BIT CRANKY IF WE PACK THEIR PARKING LOT. WE ARE LIMITED TO 12 CARS.
CARPOOLING IS MANDATORY--A GOOD SPOT TO MEET FOR CARPOOLING IS ON PCH ACROSS FROM NEPTUNE'S NET (AT YERBA BUEBA ROAD). THEN DRIVE UP THE HILL 5 MILES TO THE PARKING LOT. Park in the lot with the sign saying "Circle X Ranch". There is a ranger building on the roadside.
BRING: 3 QUARTS OF WATER, A HAT, SUNSCREEN, COMFORTABLE SHOES WHICH YOU DON'T MIND GETTING WET, AND FOOD
POISON OAK WARNING---Yes, there is some of it here. So if you are succeptable to it, where long pants and shirt.
DRIVING TIME: Typically it takes an hour from downtown or west L.A to get here.
(THE FALLS BELOW THE GROTTO)
ITINERARY: Saturday July 9th
3 pm: Meet at CIRCLE X RANCH, at the first parking lot below the ranger building
We will take the Grotto trail, and very soon cross a big waterfall. Next we pass the weeping hillside, then soon, to our left, (if we are lucky) we will see falls #2 and 3. Then when we hit the canyon bottom and an old campground, we are really close to the grotto.
The Grotto is really cool because this is a 20 foot underground waterfall, located in a room under a giant boulder in the canyon. On the way we will see loads of nice smelling wildflowers.
Then we will climb down the rocks as far as we can go to the end of the park property.
7:30 PM--watch the sunset and optional dinner at Neptune's Net (located at PCH and Yerba Buena Road)
HOW LONG IS THE HIKE: About 3 miles each way. This is an upside down hike, we go down past 4 waterfalls, then come back up. The lowest mile of the hike requires climbing over boulders to get to the grotto--which is the underground waterfall in the picture above--and the series of waterfalls below it. We're going to take our time exploring the area below the Grotto.
ELEVATION LOSS AND GAIN: We will descend 400 feet to the grotto in around 2 miles
WHERE TO PARK?: There are 4 dirt parking lots at Circle X ranch. Three of these lots have trails that lead to the Grotto. However, we will meet at the western-most lot which is on the dirt road just below the ranger building. There is a big "Circle X Ranch sign" there. (see map)
PLEASE PRINT OUT THIS PRINTABLE VERSION OF THE MAP SHOWING WHERE TO PARK:
ALSO, HERE'S A PRINTABLE GOOGLE MAP: click on link
PHOTOS OF THE HIKE:
HOW TO GET THERE:
FROM THE WESTSIDE, take the 10 freeway to Pacific Coast Highway, go west past Malibu to Yerba Buena Road. Turn right, go up the hill 5 miles to the Circle X ranch ranger station.
IF YOU CHOOSE TO TAKE THE 101 FREEWAY: take the 101 Freeway west to Kanan Dume Road in the city of Agoura Hills. Take it to the south, all the way towards the beach. Turn right at Pacific coast Highway, and take it for 15 minutes to the west to Yerba Buena Road. Turn right at Yerba Buena and go up hill for 5 miles. You will see the Circle X Ranch sign and ranger station--there are restrooms and drinking water here, and we will park at the lot on the dirt road below the ranger building.
FINALLY, (LEGAL DISCLAIMER)--YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR BEING CAREFUL ON THIS HIKE. BY COMING ON THIS HIKE, YOU AGREE TO NOT HOLD ANYONE AT MEETUP RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY INJURIES, INCLUDING THIS HIKE'S ORGANIZER.
And for more cool hikes this week, see my Calendar of Meetup hikes in L.A.: http://lameetuphikes.blogspot.com (http://lameetuphikes.blogspot.com/)