Grotto Trail Map

Circle X Ranch

12896 Yerba Buena Road

Hiking Distance: 3.5 Miles Round Trip Hiking Time: 2 Hours

Configuration: Out-And-Back With Small Loop Elevation Gain: 500 Feet Difficulty: Easy To Moderate

Exposure: Mostly Shaded Canyon With Some Exposed Hills Dogs: Allowed

Maps: U.S.G.S. Triunfo Pass N.P.S. Circle X Ranch Map Tom Harrison Maps: Zuma-Trancas Canyons Trail Map Tom Harrison Maps: Point Mugu State Park Trail Map

Grotto Trail Map Photo Gallery



The Grotto Trail Is Located In The 1,655-Acre Circle X Ranch, Adjacent To The Northeast End Of Point Mugu State Park. Once A Boy Scout Wilderness Retreat, The Circle X Ranch Is Now Part Of The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The Scenic Trail Leads To The Grotto, A Maze Of Large, Volcanic Boulders In A Sheer, Narrow Gorge Formed From Landslides. The Natural Rock Garden Contains Numerous Caves, Small Waterfalls, And Pools.

The West Fork Of The Arroyo Sequit Flows Through The Caves And Caverns Of The Grotto, Creating Cascades And Pools. En Route, The Path Descends Into A Stream-Cut Gorge And Passes Botsford Falls. The Trail Includes Close-Up Vistas Of The Chiseled Pinnacles Of Boney Mountain And Sandstone Peak, The Highest Point In The Santa Monica Mountains At 3,111 Feet.

To The Trailhead

From The Pacific Coast Highway/Highway 1 In Santa Monica, Drive 38 Miles Northbound To Yerba Buena Road And Turn Right. (Yerba Buena Road Is 10.1 Miles West Of Kanan Dume Road And 2 Miles West Of Leo Carrillo State Beach.) Continue 5.3 Miles Up The Winding Road To The Circle X Ranger Station On The Right. Park By The Ranger Station, Or Continue 0.2 Miles Downhill To The Day-Use Parking Area, Located Just Past The Posted Grotto Trailhead.

From The Pacific Coast Highway/Highway 1 And Las Posas Road In

Southeast Oxnard, Drive 9 Miles Southbound To Yerba Buena Road (3.3 Miles Past Big Sycamore Canyon) And Turn Left. Continue Up Yerba Buena Road, Following The Directions Above.

From The Ventura Freeway/Highway 101 In Thousand Oaks, Exit On Westlake Boulevard (Highway 23). Drive 6.9 Miles South On Westlake Boulevard, Winding Up The Mountain Road To Mulholland Highway At A Stop Sign. Turn Right And Go 0.4 Miles To Little Sycamore Canyon Road. Turn Right And Drive 5.7 Miles To The Circle X Ranger Station On The Left. (At The County Line, Little Sycamore Canyon Road Becomes Yerba Buena Road.)

The Hike

From The Ranger Station, Walk 0.2 Miles Down The Unpaved Road To The Posted Grotto Trailhead, Located Just Before Reaching The Lower Parking Area. Pass The Trail Gate And Follow The Dirt Road Past A Picnic Area To Another Trail Sign. Take The Footpath Downhill, Heading South Into The Canyon Among Oaks, Sycamores, And Willows. Cross The West Fork Arroyo Sequit, And Parallel The East Side Of The Creek To A Signed Junction With The Canyon View Trail (Hike 129) On The Left At 0.4 Miles. Continue Straight Ahead On The Left Fork And Recross The Creek At 30-Foot Botsford Falls.

After Crossing, Curve Left And Traverse The Grassy Meadow On A Ridge.

Great Views Extend Down The Gorge Of Volcanic And Sandstone Rock Formations And Up To Jagged Boney Mountain And Sandstone Peak. Descend To The Canyon Floor, Where The Trail Joins The Gated Happy Hollow Campground Road At 1.2 Miles. Follow The Road To The Left Into A Primitive Campground. Cross The Creek And Pick Up The Grotto Trail Again. Head Downstream To A Bridge That Crosses The Creek Into The Happy Hollow Campground. Instead Of Crossing The Bridge, Continue Straight Ahead, Crossing The West Fork Arroyo Sequit By A Pump House. Follow The East Bank Of The Creek Downstream In An Oak Woodland. After A Few Hundred Feet, The Path Enters The Sheer Volcanic-Rock Walls Of The Grotto, A Sycamore-Shaded Cavern Set Among A Jumble Of Massive Boulders, Small Caves, Cascades, Small Falls, Pools, And Ferns.

After Exploring The Grotto, Return To The Bridge That Accesses The Happy Hollow Campground. Cross The Bridge And Walk Through The Camp To The Vehicle-Restricted Road. Bear Right And Follow The Winding Road. Rejoin The Grotto Trail On The Left, Completing The Loop. Retrace Your Steps To The Parking Lot.

Circle X Ranch

12896 Yerba Buena Road

Hiking Distance: 3.2-Mile Loop Hiking Time: 1.5 Hours Configuration: Loop Elevation Gain: 500 Feet Difficulty: Easy To Moderate

Exposure: Mostly Exposed Mountain Slope With Some Shaded Areas Dogs: Allowed

Maps: U.S.G.S. Triunfo Pass N.P.S. Circle X Ranch Map Tom Harrison Maps: Zuma-Trancas Canyons Trail Map Tom Harrison Maps: Point Mugu State Park Trail Map

Circle X Ranch, A Former Boy Scout Camp, Sits Below Majestic Boney Moun Tain In The Upper Canyons Of Arroyo Sequit. The Canyon View Trail Traverses The Brushy Hillside Of The Deep, East-Facing Canyon. The Panoramic Views Extend Down The Canyon To The Pacific Ocean. The Northern Views Reach The Jagged Boney Mountain Ridge And The 3,111-Foot Sandstone Peak, The Highest Peak In The Santa Monica Mountains. The Trail Connects The Grotto Trail (Hike 128) With The Sandstone Peak Trail (Hike 130).

To The Trailhead

From The Pacific Coast Highway/Highway 1 In Santa Monica, Drive 38 Miles Northbound To Yerba Buena Road And Turn Right. (Yerba Buena Road Is 10.1 Miles West Of Kanan Dume Road And 2 Miles West Of Leo Carrillo State Beach.) Continue 5.3 Miles Up The Winding Road To The Circle X Ranger Station On The Right. Park By The Ranger Station, Or Continue 0.2 Miles Downhill To The Day-Use Parking Area, Located Just Past The Posted Grotto Trailhead.

From The Pacific Coast Highway/Highway 1 And Las Posas Road In Southeast Oxnard, Drive 9 Miles Southbound To Yerba Buena Road (3.3 Miles Past Big Sycamore Canyon) And Turn Left. Continue 5.3 Miles Up The Winding Road To The Circle X Ranger Station On The Right. Park By The Ranger Station, Or Continue 0.2 Miles Downhill To The Day-Use Parking Area, Located Just Past The Posted Grotto Trailhead.

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