**Intermediate, 4.5 miles, 1100′ gain.**
Intermediate hikers will love this hike. It is not well suited for beginners. It has some of the most variations of terrain of any hike in the area and is one of my personal favorites.
This is an interesting gem and one of the famous formations that every hiker in the Los Angeles area should see. It’s a hike to a true cave!
We’ll start out with a rather flat walk behind some houses and then under some trees for a park like setting. The trail then continues past a fence, where we’ll turn right and head for the cave. There will be an ascent to the cave entrance, but it’s only a couple hundred steps.
The cave can be entered easily by some, while others take a bit longer. We’ll wait until everybody gets through. If you are carrying hiking poles or water, you’ll need to be able to attach them to your body so that both hands are free. Some prefer gloves because there will be places where it is necessary to put your hands on the rocks. Some prefer long pants because there may be spots where you’ll be putting your knees on the rocks.
After coming out the exit, there will be a short period of rock scrambling that is best done in the daylight, followed by a very steep incline to the top for about 500 steps. This is the hardest part of the hike, and even seasoned hikers will stop several times to take a breather while making their way up.
From here we’ll make our way along the top ridge to an area where we’ll stop and have a [social event](https://www.meetup.com/Hiking-Plus/messages/boards/thread/50879772) that will last 30-60 minutes. Please bring [snacks and/or drinks](https://www.meetup.com/Hiking-Plus/messages/boards/thread/50879772) to share.
We’ll head back around the back side of the mountain, connecting back up with the original route to the cave for the return.
**[Route ](https://secure.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/c/4/5/2/highres_481790258.jpeg)**This route shows an extension to Castle Peak. Most of the group will not do this extension. It cannot support more than a dozen people.
Distance: 4.5 miles
Distribution: Most of the incline is concentrated in the second quarter.
Shape: Counterclockwise lollipop.
Pace: approx. 2.0 mph., significantly slower through cave and on steep ascents.
Trail Type: Fire road, double track, single track, cave, rock scrambling.
There is a steep ascent for about 500 steps.
There will be some rock scrambling after exiting the cave.
Entering and exiting the cave can require some stemming.
Please have two hands free.
Duration: 3.5 hours
Drinking Fountains: No.
Parking: Free along street.
What to bring:
1 liter of water for every 3 miles.
Flashlight or headlamp.
Sunscreen and/or hat as needed.
[Snacks and/or beverages to share](https://www.meetup.com/Hiking-Plus/messages/boards/thread/50879772)
It is best that you have two hands free for traversing into and out of the cave, and for the rock scrambling required after the cave. This means that any water or poles should be able to be carried by attaching to your pack or body.
*Navigation:* Host memory, enhanced by GPS navigation as needed.
*Hike type:* Social.
We won’t be hiking at a fast pace because this is a social hike, not a conditioning hike. There is nothing wrong with stopping, even if it means every 50 steps. See “How hard is this hike” in the discussion section [LINK](https://www.meetup.com/Hiking-Plus/messages/boards/thread/50879781).
The host may designate stopping points to let others catch up. This hike will include an extended stop for a [snack and beverage share](https://www.meetup.com/Hiking-Plus/messages/boards/thread/50879772) at the half way point. We will stop at junctions to make sure everybody makes any turns or chooses the correct direction at splits, else something will be used to mark the direction, usually a large arrow made of baking soda or sticks. There may not always be a sweeper designated to be the last hiker.
Each hiker is responsible for knowing their capability, only attending events where they are able to sustain the described pace, for keeping up with the group sufficiently enough to make the turns and not get left behind, and for making sure the host is notified if they are going to split from the group.
Sometimes hikers wish to move significantly ahead and not wait at designated stopping points. Please let the host know. They are on their own regarding route and navigation.
Here are a couple plants you are sure to see on this hike:
The plant got its name from Jamestown, because in 1676, Jamestown, VA soldiers ate this plant in their salad and became psychotic for 11 days.
The leaves and seeds are used to make medicine. Despite serious safety concerns, jimson weed is used to treat asthma, cough, flu (influenza), swine flu, and nerve diseases. Some people use it as a recreational drug to cause hallucinations and a heightened sense of well-being (euphoria).
All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of the tropane alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine, which are classified as deliriants, or anticholinergics. The risk of fatal overdose is high among uninformed users, and many hospitalizations occur amongst recreational users who ingest the plant for its psychoactive effects. As much as a 5:1 variation can be found between plants. It contains chemicals such as atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine.
These chemicals interfere with one of the chemical messengers (acetylcholine) in the brain and nerves. Ingesting only a few small seeds can result in serious poisoning and may be life-threatening. Ingesting even small amounts of the plant or seeds can result in confusion, frightening hallucinations, the inability to urinate or sweat, overheating, and a rapid heart rate.
Depending on the amount ingested, these troubling symptoms can last hours to many days, and in some cases can lead to death. Touching he plant can cause dermatitis.
If the leaves of poison oak are broken or the plant is damaged in some way, it releases an oil – urushiol – that is poisonous to humans. The oil triggers the body’s immune system and produces a rash. Even dead leaves, stems, or roots contain the oil; it can also be inhaled if the plants are burned. Urushiol is the same oil that is produced by poison ivy and sumac.
Indirect contact can occur if the oil gets onto clothes or is carried on a pet’s coat. Although cats and dogs are not generally affected by urushiol, they can carry it. Most people, but not all, show an allergy to the oil, referred to as allergic contact dermatitis. It usually appears between half a day and 3 days after contact with the plant oil.
People who are allergic to the oil do not have a reaction until they have a second contact with the oil. The immune system learns to recognize the oil from the first occasion and then reacts to it aggressively on future contact.
Cave of Munitz
24501 Woodglade Ln.
West Hills, CA 91307
Note: We’ll be parking here, and then walking to the trailhead.
Trailhead coordinates: 34.195358, -118.658544
I-101, exit Valley Circle Blvd.
Valley Circle Blvd. north for 3.2 miles.
Left (west) on Highlander Rd. for 300′.
Park on the street at near Elmsbury Ln.
I-118, exit CA-27 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
South CA-27 Topanga Canyon Blvd. for 2.4 miles.
Right (west) on Plummer St. for 0.9 miles.
Slight left (west, then south) onto Valley Circle Blvd. for 3.0 miles.
Right (west) on Highlandr Rd. for 300′.
Park on the street at near Elmsbury Ln.
**[Frequently Asked Questions](https://www.meetup.com/Hiking-Plus/pages/23772638/Frequently_Asked_Questions)**
**[Disclaimer / Release of Liability](https://www.meetup.com/Hiking-Plus/pages/29622459/Is_Hiking_Dangerous/)**