Circle X Ranch – Grotto Trail
Today we hiked the Grotto Trail which is located in the Circle X Ranch located next to the Point Magu State Park. Circle X Ranch is a former Boy Scout Camp sitting in the Santa Monica Mountains South of Thousand Oaks, CA near Malibu. This is a great hike for those looking for a non-fire road type of hike. The hike is considered a moderate hike and the elevation gain is around 650 feet.
One of the complaints I have of the local hiking spots is most are fire roads that allow for hiking. Grotto Trail is a true path winding through the hills and woods in this 1655 acre park. The hike is around 3.5 miles but if you park a bit further you can easily turn it into a four mile hike.
On your trip you will encounter a meadow, dash in the woods, fording a stream, and over some rather large rocks. Your trip starts by going down a nice shady path just past the camping area. After going downhill a bit you start to climb and come out looking over some impressive valley view’s where you can see some rather impressive boulder formations.
One of the most amazing features on this hike is the waterfalls along the stream. At times you can stand directly over them and other times you can only hear the falls. Near the Grotto, you come to a great outcropping of boulders where you can sit and relax before the climb back out of the Grotto.