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CrazyHermit

Cave of Munitz


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At the far west end of the San Fernando Valley lies the lesser known Cave of Munitz. To be more exact, it is located in West Hills,
inside El Scorpion Canyon Park, which is a part of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.


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This is not a deep cave yet, rather a huge cleft in limestone rock caused by water and wind gradually wearing away the interior.
If you look carefully at the right side of the opening you'll see a rock climber on the right wall, near the top.


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Here's an interior shot of the huge opening to the cave. There were two climbers practicing this
difficult climb the day I went.  They said that limestone is an ideal surface for grips that won't crumble.


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Another shot of the climbers at the entrance. These two guys were the only ones at the cave, other than myself.


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While this is not a deep cave yet, it has a spectacular vaulted ceiling, where rain and wind are gradually wearing away the interior.


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Here's a view from the inside. To give you a size perspective, the well lit area is about ten feet tall.


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Looking up... This cave (or cleft) is about three stories high in some places. Rain pours through the ceiling during the winter months.


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Another view of the high vaulted ceiling. The light from above illuminates the interior and a flashlight is not required.


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More holes in the ceiling. I use special lighting to take these photos, so you may not be able to see these details on your visit.


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There are a lot of pigeons who call this cave their home. An eerie cooing sound all around you adds to the experience.


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Here's a view from the top looking down.  Some of the rock up here is thin, and if you fall in this hole you'll be in a world of hurt.


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More holes up above.  There is some graffiti, but thankfully this cave hasn't been destroyed like the Vanalden Cave in Tarzana.


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Outside of the cave there are rolling grass hills and coastal live oaks.  In the springtime you'll probably see these Canterbury Bells.


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This is another common plant called Jimsomweed. These huge leathery flowers bloom for a short time in the day, then close up to
protect themselves from the sun. The seeds are hallucinogenic, but can kill you by stopping your breathing.


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Red lichen found above the cave.  This rock structure is similar to that of Stoney Point, a nearby rock climbing hot spot in Chatsworth.


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The hike to the cave is very easy and short.  Most of the people who enjoy this park seem completely oblivious
to its existence.  The cave is safe on the inside, although climbing above it is somewhat risky.


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No hike would be complete without an abandoned or stolen car.  This one looks like it might have been the General Lee.

For directions to reach this cave, do an internet search for Cave of Munitz.  It's less than one mile from the city and suitable for kids and dogs.


David R

Hiking above the cave and along the ridge is as much fun as the hike into the cave itself. You get to do some slight scrambling and a steep climb up to the ridge. The ridge itself is fun and then you get to climb Castle Peak. From there it is a steep direct climb back down to the trailhead. A nice little workout.
CrazyHermit

I did it the opposite way, from Castle Peak to the cave.  There are a lot of smaller caves along the way like this one.

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tekewin

That's a fun park. I climbed Castle Peak and the high point on my way back from Los Padres last month. I didn't have time to make it to the cave, which looks worthwhile. Your photos are awesome.


Castle Peak from the road


View from the park high point


Castle Peak


Looking down the north side of Castle Peak
CrazyHermit

Those are some beautiful shots of Castle Peak.  If you ever get the chance you should walk around nearby Stoney Point up near the 210.
tekewin

Will do! Stoney Point is definitely on the list.
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