To the Batcave!
One nerd’s adventure finding bats and a little nostalgia in the iconic Bronson Caves
by Chris Gore
This cave will freak you out. And not just because this is the Batcave. As a lifelong Batman fan, I freaked out as I recognized the familiar cave seen in nearly every episode of the Batman TV series. I also freaked out because there were live bats in the cave itself. One of the caves at the Bronson caves site is the actual shooting location where Batman emerged from the Batcave driving the Batmobile. The Bronson Caves are nestled in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, California, and it’s just a short hike from the road leading into the park to the caves.
If you were one of the lucky many to grow up watching the ’66 to ’68 Batman TV series, there’s a lot of meaning in the phrase “To the Batcave!” Batman’s first foray into television starred the most colorful version of the Dark Knight with Adam West in the iconic role. After the show’s initial run during the 60s, a new generation of kids were POWing, SMASHing and KA-POWing as they viewed the reruns and became Batfans. Adults and children alike dreamed of traveling to Gotham City to meet the Caped Crusaders and, luckily, most of those locations are found in Los Angeles.
Bronson Canyon, the area surrounding the caves, is a place of beauty and strangely quiet. Although the canyon is in the city of Los Angeles, it is far from the noise of this West Coast Gotham. The cave location is quite serene and hikers visit it daily, yet it still seems untouched by humans. Bats comfortably line the interior of the top of the cave, which feels oddly cool even in the hot summer. There are two caves, but the one used as the Batcave is the larger of the two. After a visit to the Bronson Caves, it’s hard to look at the Batman TV series again without smiling. I would only warn that extended smiling while visiting the Batcave is the only danger you may encounter.
“To the Batcave!”
The Bronson Caves are located in the Bronson Canyon in Griffith Park but only accessible from the Canyon Drive entrance to Griffith Park.
3200 Canyon Drive, Los Angeles, CA
From Los Angeles:
Travel North on US-101 N
Take exit 8C for Gower St
Turn right onto N Beachwood Dr
Turn right onto Franklin Ave
Turn left onto Canyon Dr
Drive North on Canyon Drive for approximately 1.5 miles. There is a small parking lot on the left with shaded picnic tables. No fee or permit needed for parking.
The trailhead begins on the gravel fire road on the right, behind the metal vehicle barrier. The caves are a few minutes walk on the trail.* You can easily walk through the cave without need of flashlights or spelunking equipment. Although the hike is short, it is in full sun, so remember to bring water.
Note: Vehicles and bicycles are not allowed on the trail or in the caves. Be sure to bring your cape and cowl for great photo ops, or rent at one of the many rental shops nearby in Hollywood.
*Not accessible for most wheelchairs.
Chris Gore is a comedian, a writer and an occasional TV host. He is a trekkie. A film devotee. He is in constant search of the nerd universe and will report back with news of alien life. He is batman.