Hiking Castle Peak Cave of Munits El Escorpion Park

Jan 14, 2013 by

Hiking Castle Peak Cave of Munits El Escorpion Park

Hiking Castle Peak Cave of Munits El Escorpion Park

Hiking Castle Peak Cave of Munits El Escorpion Park. The first time I had ever seen pictures of of the Cave of Munits was on Sandi Hemmerlein’s Facebook page from Avoiding Regret. This struck me as odd that, there was a cave that was so easy to access and near an area I traveled to from time to time. Just a few minutes from West Hills, in the El Escorpion Park, was the Cave of Munits.

According to history, the cave was the home of a very powerful shaman who eventually met his end at the talons of an eagle, after murdering the son of a politically important chief. The cave is supposedly haunted with his spirit.

From the point where Vanowen St. turns into Sunset Ridge Ct., just after Valley Circle Blvd, the trail-head starts at the gate on the south side of the street. It’s obvious and cannot be missed. If you go too far, the street will curve and dead end into a residential neighborhood. From the trail head, you can see Castle Peak if you look to the north-west. This trail is pretty straight forward and is shared with bikers. I went on the first day of the year and ran into a few locals. I wished them a Happy New Year and went on my way, as I was on on a time limit.

The trail follows Moore Canyon Rd through Bell Canyon Park and leads you to this sign, just past the fence. It’s the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Zone Parkland. From there look to the right (north) and that path will lead you straight to the Cave of Munits. I decided to take this route as I my time was limited, besides I prefer climbing and I came prepared. You can see the entrance to the cave from this point. The path here is straight-forward and it takes you to the mouth of the cave. If you look around you can see other paths that lead you to smaller caves in the immediate area. You have several options to get into the cave, and all are very obvious. I decided to take the left most route because I held a camera while I did it. The rock seems to be a a petrified coral of some sort and is easy to grip with even the crappiest shoes. On that note, it’s also easy to get cut if you aren’t careful.

Once inside, I explored the deep cave. Some places were dark, but since I always carry a headlamp it made things easier for me. In the south-east direction, I noticed a work path that lead you to an opening in the cave. I took that and it led me to an opening which I climbed and took to the top pf the cave. This is the view from that opening.

After carefully exploring the area above the cave, I proceed to make my way towards Castle Peak. The climb was steeper but the view were well worth it. I decided to take a different route, because I was hiking alone and here is a panoramic of that south facing view. This is the view of the canyon at it’s northernmost point, where the Cave of Munits is located. This is what it looked like on the other side of that ridge, facing south. I came from this path on the left. This is a wye on front of me, that leads you to the path to Castle Peak. This is the view looking north-east, from that same point. Castle Peak is on the right and the San Gabriel mountain range in visible in the background.

Walking ahead a bit more, you come to where the mountain ridge top to your right, meets the trail that you are on, and this is what it looks like. The trail to the top of Castle Peak is straight forward and the easier route, in my opinion, is to north side (left). I took three routes to the top and the north-east ascent was the most difficult because it involved climbing and long drops.

Once at the top I rested and took some videos and pictures, then opted on my making my way down the south face of Castle Peak. This is challenging but easily doable as long as you watch your step and take your time. Here is a view from midway down that trail. As you may have noticed, you can always skip hiking to the Cave of Munits and head to the top of Castle Peak from near the trail-head. Whichever route you decide to take, be careful and have fun! Cannot wait to take the rest of the group back to hike these two spots!

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  1. I am so grateful for your post.Thanks Again.

  2. This was one of the best things I’ve ever seen.

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