Cave of Munits
- Location: West Hills, on the corner of Vanowen and Sunset Ridge Court. From highway 101, take the Mulholland/Valley Circle exit and head north for 3 miles. Turn left onto Vanowen and park on the curb, and begin hiking across the street.
- Agency: Los Angeles City Department of Parks and Recreation/Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
- Distance: 1.6 miles
- Elevation gain: 250 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 1 hour
- Best season: Year round (Hot during summer)
- USGS topo map: Calabasas
- More information: Yelp page here; Map My Hike report here; video tour of the cave here
- Rating: 5
Like any unusual natural site near civilization, the Cave of Munits is a double-edged sword. The good news is that, with a short walk and scramble up some rocks, one can explore an intriguing cave without having to travel to Mitchell Caverns or Carlsbad, NM. The bad news is that people who can’t have nice things have left graffiti, trash and broken glass; since one has to use their hands as well as their feet to climb into the cave, this proves to be not only an aesthetic problem but also one of safety. Nevertheless, any hiker who finds themselves in the area should pay a visit to this place, which may be seen as a big brother of nearby Vanalden Cave. It can be reached by a short hike as described here or as a longer trip from the Victory trail head, combining it with other sites in the Upper Las Virgenes Open Space. If you are confident with your rock scrambling skills, you can climb out of the cave and follow the ridge over to Castle Peak and descend that way for a short but very adventurous loop.
Begin by following the dirt road in El Escorpion Canyon Park, listed as Moore Motorway on Google Maps. Continue past the turnoffs for Castle Peak, which dominates the landscape to the northwest. After a brief climb one third of a mile from the start, you may notice the cave in the distant wall of rock on the north (right) side of the road. At 0.6 miles, you enter the northeastern corner of the Upper Las Virgenes Open Space, marked by a Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy sign. Bear right on any of several use trails leading toward the cave, which is right in front of you at this point. A short uphill scramble up a steep and loose trail brings you to its entrance.
Climbing into the cave is not too difficult, although if you’re inexperienced with this sort of thing you may want to have someone spot you (if you have come alone, odds are there will be someone else who might be willing to help; the cave is fairly popular.) Follow a diagonal slash in the rock that heads from your lower left to upper right, ducking under an overhanging outcrop of stone and making your way up a chute. Several small holes in the rock and protruding knobs make good handholds, although as mentioned before, be wary of broken glass.
Text and photography copyright 2015 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.