The Vanalden Caves: A Hike You’ll Never Forget

Share With Your Friends!

Distance 

2.7 Miles

Time

~1.5 Hrs

Difficulty

Easy

Season

All Year

Elevation Gain

515 Ft

Caves in Los Angeles? Yup, you read that correctly! These caves are called the Vanalden Caves, and they make for a very enjoyable hike.

The Vanalden Caves hike is an easy 2.7-mile trail located in Tarzana with only 585 feet of elevation gain. The trail features views of the San Gabriel Valley Mountains to the north and the Santa Monica Mountains to the southwest as it slowly descends into the canyon floor. Dogs are allowed but must be on a leash. 

 

Map of Vanalden Caves Trail

 

Directions & Parking

Click here to obtain directions to the parking lot.

Although you’ll probably run into a decent amount of people at the parking lot, the hike to the caves is relatively less visited than the nearby hiking destinations. If you arrive early, you’ll more than likely have the caves to yourself.

This hike is located within Topanga State Park.

QUICK TIP: There are restrooms near the parking lot. 

Hike to the Vanalden Caves

From the roundabout, begin your hike via the dirt road.

Shortly after, you’ll get to the Y split shown below. Make a right.

Don’t forget to pause and enjoy the view. After all, we venture into nature’s beautify to get away from the city.

The image below is the view of the Santa Monica mountains.

In order to get to the canyon floor, you’re going to have to keep an eye out for the single track that splits off the dirt road. It’ll be to your right and will stand out because of a wooden post stump.

The single track will quickly descend in the direction of the San Gabriel Valley and reach another Y split after roughly 5-10 minutes. Make another right at the split.

This section of the trail will lead you under the forest canopy and through a dry creek crossing where you will make a hard right and arrive at your destination shortly thereafter.

The mouth of the cave reaches a height of approximately 25 ft and has a depth of about 50 feet.

The cave is made of sandstone, a type of hardened sand, which is why you can see people carve into it.

vanalden caves

Even though the entrance is massive, you’ll quickly notice how much warmer it gets inside.

I couldn’t help but think of our ancestors and why caves were the perfect shelter. How they must have started fires inside to keep their families warm and avoid rainy days.

You can also explore the top of the caves by following the single track in the image above. Just one switchback and you’ll find yourself on top of the caves.

Unfortunately, it’s been super vandalized as word has spread on this awesome place. But, it’s still a super unique hike that you wouldn’t think to find near the busy Los Angeles county.

More to Explore!

Bonita Falls Hiking Trail + Secret Falls: Lytle Creek

Bonita Falls Hiking Trail + Secret Falls: Lytle Creek

Distance 1.4 MilesTime1.5 HrsDifficulty EasySeasonAll YearElevation Gain334 FtMost people have hiked to Bonita Falls, but did you know there's a secret 2 tier waterfall directly above Bonita? I'll show you how to get to Bonita Falls plus aerial drone shots of the...

San Gabriel Peak Hiking Trail Via Eaton Saddle

San Gabriel Peak Hiking Trail Via Eaton Saddle

Distance 2.8 MilesTime~1-1.5 HrsDifficulty ModerateSeasonAll YearElevation Gain971+ FtExperience breathtaking birds-eye views of various local sites of interest, such as Mount Wilson and Mount Lowe Peak, atop San Gabriel Peak. San Gabriel Peak is a moderate-level,...

Top of The World Hike At Laguna Beach: 2022 Guide

Top of The World Hike At Laguna Beach: 2022 Guide

Distance  2.2 MilesTime~1.5 HrsDifficulty EasySeasonAll YearElevation Gain862 FtOne of the most popular hikes in the beautiful and breezy city of Laguna Beach is definitely the Top of the World hike. It's a nice and easy trail to the top with amazing views of the...

Cedar Creek Falls: Most Beautiful Falls in SD

Cedar Creek Falls: Most Beautiful Falls in SD

Distance 5.6 MilesTime3 HrsDifficulty ModerateSeasonFall, Winter, SpringElevation Gain1,049 FtWant to visit a huge waterfall in San Diego County? Cedar Creek Falls is a super popular, yet surprisingly well-kept falls, with the largest swimming pool I've seen in SoCal....

Hello, There!

We’re Monica and Phillip. Just like you, we share a passion for the outdoors and our beautiful state of California. After many years of exploring amazing and hidden places, we thought we’d share them with you! We hope this blog shows you tons of new CA adventures!

Sign Up For Bonuses

Want to save all your favorite hikes? Sign up to be able to heart all the trails you plan on visitng, plus more awesome bonus features!

Legal Info

We only recommend what we use. This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. However, no company pays us to share these products with you. If you decide to purchase a product via one of our links, we will recieve a small compensation, which in turn, helps us to keep making videos and posts to share with all of you.