Laguna Coast Wildreness Park – Caves Hike

IMG_4399Laguna Coast Wilderness Park has a lot of great hikes.  A few weeks ago I posted about the Nix Nature center but if you go a little further down 133 and park in the Willow Canyon parking area, you can find the caves!  There’s two caves within reach of the trail that the kids always love to climb into and play on.  The first, that Megatron is walking up to above, is near the main trial right by the ranger station.  If you just keep walking straight from the parking lot, you’ll walk right into it.IMG_4393Megatron was a little mad he wasn’t big enough to climb into this cave by himself, and I wasn’t inclined to give him much help for fear he’d climb out the other end and fall down!  This particular cave has two entrances and makes a little loop.  Here’s Little Miss above in the main cave entrance that can be seen in the first picture.  IMG_4408

And Green Bubbles hanging out at the back of the cave.  They like to slide down this side since the it’s steep and smooth on this side.  Most of this part of the cave is blocked from view by bushes and trees so you can’t see it from the main trail either!  The kids played here for a long time.

IMG_4385After awhile we packed up and headed towards the second cave.  We passed this cool rain gauge and gave me the opportunity to talk about how rain is measured and the drought we are in and what that means. IMG_4387   There were many insects, as well as a lot of wildflowers.  IMG_4402IMG_4423  I’ve become very fond of the sticky monkey flower just because of the silly name!  And they are pretty easy to spot most places we go hiking so it’s not hard discover.IMG_4413 There was one particularly calm lizard along our path as well.  He allowed the kids to get really close to him and at one point I thought Little Miss was actually going to be able to catch him!  Thankfully, he moved at that point.

To get to the other cave you have to head back to towards the parking lot.  There is a trail branching off to the left (or the right if your coming from the parking lot).  This is a fairly easy trail and if you continue past the cave we always stop at, you’ll make it to the ghost cave.  It’s across the highway so you won’t actually be able to climb to it, and I wouldn’t recommend it since there’s a bat’s roost that lives there!  But the cave is shaped very much like the face of a ghost and is really cool to see.  There are little marker posts along this trail that also have a cell phone tour where you call into the phone number and it gives you information about something you are seeing, including the ghost cave!IMG_4417There are a lot of boulders and rocks to climb on as well as the caves which adds to the excitement.  My kids always beg to go to the caves!  A word of advice for the parents though, there is very little shade at this park and with temperatures starting to rise in the area, I would recommend going early in the day, or avoiding it during the summer.

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