Hiking to the Batcave: Bronson Caves in Griffith Park
The hike is short but the journey deep when you explore Hollywood history through hidden holes in the western end of Griffith Park. Your destination is Bronson Caves, which are actually man-made quarry tunnels from the early 1900s. Their function went well beyond granite extraction. Hollywood used the area for more than 100 film and television projects, from The Lone Ranger to Star Trek.
Bronson’s most prominent starring role was as the entrance to the Batcave during the 1960s Batman series. No winged mammals cling to the walls today, but the corridors are still plenty spooky, and the entertainment industry continues to use them in suitable productions.
The trail to Bronson Caves gently ascends about 100 feet in about a third of a mile, passing by mustard yellow and witch’s hair orange among other chaparral familiars. When the path plateaus, a small rock labyrinth awaits on the right for those who need to clear their mind before venturing into the darkness.
After a good caving session, emerge through one of two southern openings to another rock labyrinth framed by a towering sage-covered hill. Courageous hikers often scale this peak for a view, but turn left to find a narrow use trail that offers a much quicker and safer vista. Gaze west to find the Hollywood sign and, if you’re up for it, continue up the steep path to the ridge for even more views—and to add just over a mile and 500 feet of climbing to your trip. Be cautious as you head down and back to your car. Holy hike, Batman!
To get to the Bronson Canyon trailhead and parking lot, take the I-5 to Los Feliz Blvd. and head west for 2.5 miles. After the road bends left, turn right onto Franklin Ave. for a half-mile, followed by a right onto Canyon Dr., which takes you 1.5 miles to a dead-end and trailhead parking. Alternatively, take the 101 to Franklin Ave. and exit east, turning left onto Canyon Dr. After you park, walk north along the paved sidewalk until you reach a junction with two signs, one indicating the trails and the other fire safety. Thanks, Smokey! To the north is the Brush Canyon Trail, which takes you deep into Griffith Park or to the Hollywood Sign, but you’ll want to turn right, leading you to the Bronson Canyon trailhead. Dog-friendly!
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