The Jim Morrison Cave: Break on Through (to the Westside)

All photos by Brandon Rae

All photos by Brandon Rae

This post first appeared in California Curiosities.

Some say that a cave in the Santa Monica Mountains is the actual place where Jim used to drive up during his time in film school and write poetry on the walls, while other locals of the area claim that graffiti started showing up in the 80s (way past Morrison’s death). Although there are sources that dispute any real connection to the enigmatic Doors frontman, the Jim Morrison cave still intrigues and enthuses weary hikers looking for a colorful experience in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Located deep— and very high— in Agoura Hills, the journey to Morrison’s alleged lair of poetry and prose is just as trippy as the caves themselves. Though only a short distance (about 3/4 mile) from the road, you come across a plethora of the naturesque elements that make Los Angeles so incredible.

As legend has it, this is the area where ol’ Jim would drive up at night— mind flying on whatever substance he could get ahold of— and scrawl his thoughts on the walls. If that is in fact true, those words are long gone, covered in a thick coat of pink paint that is reminiscent of Salvation Mountain. Ultimately, the cave is small, but that’s all part of the charm. You can have a picnic, meditate, stare at the sky or add your own art to the walls and ceiling. Morrison or not, this cave delivers a unique and trippy experience to hikers looking for something with a payoff.

DIRECTIONS: There are lots of conflicting reports about how you get up to the Morrison cave, but it actually isn’t that difficult at all.

From the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, find the 76 Gas Station (26101 Pacific Coast Hwy) at the intersection of PCH and Corral Canyon Rd. Drive up Corral Canyon for approximately 5 miles (it’s a steep drive) until you hit a dirt path. Keep going until you reach the small parking lot, which is the entrance to all of the hikes of the area.

There are multiple paths to choose from, but pick the Corral Canyon Backbone trail. Hike for about .75 mile, there are arrows that help guide you, and you’ll see the cave on the left, just before the rock spirals.

Either way, it’s pretty gnarly and worth a trip.

morrisoneight (Custom)

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