This evening I was cranky with a capital C-R-A-N-K-Y. So I put some wine, crackers, and brie in a backpack and ran away from home. I did take some water, but the water bottle I filled with wine was bigger than the bottle of water I took. (Water almost never makes me less cranky than wine.) I put on my hiking shoes, not bothering to change out of the shiny club-style city-chick shirt I was wearing (because screw it!) I just threw a fleece right over it, and set out to find the Jim Morrison Cave in Malibu.


I showed up at the trailhead with a pretty good idea of where I was supposed to be looking for this famous cave where Jim Morrison carved a skull into the rock. Actually, I did have a pretty good idea of the general area, but I didn’t know exactly where the cave entrance was.  Three other people and two dogs were looking for the cave as well.  We all scouted around looking for the cave.  To tell the truth, mostly just me and one other girl climbed the rocks and did all the hard work.  The other two just hung around in the other cool caves posing the dogs in funny places and taking pictures with their iPhones.

We looked high and low in the rock structure we thought was obviously the place, then I noticed that on the back of a different rock structure there was some graffiti that looked mighty fishy.  I headed over there and lo and behold, I found it.  I’m very glad that I am the one who found it and not the other chick because that would have made me more cranky.  I’m also mighty glad that I found it at all because I would have been murderously depressed to have driven all the way up there just before sunset not to have found it at all! I would have gone home crankier than I left it and my husband would have started singing “This is the end…”.


I did find it so I was able to relax in the cave and watch the sunset while I drank wine and ate my dinner of crackers, brie and a pear.  It was a glorious dinner indeed.  I left just as it was starting to get dark.


Walking back along the trail to the car I had the option of taking the wide fire road then road walking back to my car, but I chose to follow the trail back instead.  Naturally, I got lost in the dark and found myself on a rocky hillside, boxed in by stubborn chaparral with a vast view of Malibu Creek State Park and the city beyond. The option to panic did cross my mind, but I decided that getting lost was better than being bored, plus I wasn’t really lost, I was just more like kind of stuck on the wrong side of a big rock and needed to figure out how to climb over it, which I ultimately did.


I found the trail and made it back to the car in the dark.  A good fast canyon drive to loud club music kind of topped off the adventure and here I am safe and sound in front of my computer with my 8-yr-old whining at me that life is unfair and he doesn’t want to go to bed. And you ask why I am an escapist

I searched everywhere on the internet for good, specific directions to the Jim Morrison Cave, but have concluded that either most people have been going to the wrong place thinking it is the cave or they are keeping it to themselves.  I am reasonably certain, at this point, that what you are about to read below are the only good directions to this cave that exist on earth.
Directions to the actual Jim Morrison Cave:
From PCH drive to the very tippy top of Corral Canyon Drive until it turns into a dirt road and ends in a large parking lot.
Walk over the very cool sandstone rocks until you come to a zen spiral (made by hikers) in front of a rock structure with a super cool cave entrance on the left. This is NOT the Jim Morrison Cave like you think it is.
Backtrack to the pointy little rock sticking up on the valley (not the ocean) side of the trail that you just walked right past a few seconds ago because you were dazzled by the spiral. This rock:
morrisonrock morrisonrock2

Follow a faint trail to the western side of that little pointy rock. You will see a long crack in the rock and there will probably be an arrow spray painted on the rock showing you the opening to the cave. Climb up into this narrow opening and you will be in the cave with a picture perfect view out toward San Fernando Valley.

4 thoughts

    1. For those of us who live in Corral Canyon we’d appreciate it if you didn’t make a good fast canyon drive to loud club music after chugging wine from a jug larger than a water bottle.

      1. Dorothy, you are marvelous! I will assume that your comment was meant to be hilarious because it was. Please let me know when you would like me to give you an amazing tour of the backcountry you are so fortunate to live near. Most people wouldn’t believe the beauty and history to be found on the trails once they leave their fun-hating, music-free, prohibitionist neighborhoods. I’d love to help you expand your horizons. I hope the people of Corral Canyon don’t own horses because horses on trails destroy the backcountry by accelerating erosion by more than 30%. I also hope that the people of Corral Canyon don’t walk dogs, because most people don’t leash them on the trails (even though there are leash laws) causing tremendous disruption to wildlife and hikers. Those of us who hike would appreciate it if such things weren’t forced upon nature by people with such poor wilderness ethics. Here’s to the good people of Corral Canyon! May they live long and prosper with exemplary wilderness ethics!

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