Public access to a popular hiking destination known as the Jim Morrison Cave has been closed after California State Parks officials said the graffiti is out of control.
The Corral Canyon Cave is deep in the mountains of Malibu Creek State Park. The cave was named after the Doors’ frontman who has never actually stepped foot in it.
Craig Sap, district superintendent for state parks, said the graffiti has become a growing problem.
“Typically, people will be arrested, cited and booked. The restitution is very substantial. It can be up to several to $10,000 per incident,” he said.
As the Eyewitness News crew ventured to the cave, a park ranger found a group from Texas packing three cans of spray paint. They said they wanted to honor a woman’s son who died last year. They received a citation.
Park rangers said social media posts are inspiring others to leave their mark on the cave. Now that it’s off-limits, the state will spend about $40,000 to scrub off all the graffiti. But vandals have aimed outside of the cave as well.
“Several hundred a week are heading up there. Most of them aren’t engaging in this activity – just a few. But those few have done substantial damage,” Sap said.
Parks reps aren’t sure when the cave will reopen to the public, but the graffiti problem doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Jim Morrison’s Mythical Cave Closed Over Doors-Inspired Graffiti
As the Doors song goes, this is the end.
Fans of the band who have marked up a scenic cave on the California coast with psychedelic graffiti will have to find another place to spray out their love for frontman Jim Morrison. It has closed indefinitely for cleanup.
The trend began with a social media myth that the singer wrote songs in Corral Canyon Cave in Malibu Creek State Park.
It was always a popular hiking spot for nature lovers seeking sweeping views of the surrounding scenery and always had some vandalism, but it has spiraled out of control in the past year.
The cave now looks almost tie-dyed with multicolored swirls inside and out. Doors lyrics such as “love me 2 times” and “try to set the night on fire” are scrawled on its walls. There also are declarations like “Use your third eye” and “Try LSD,” along with more crude tags.
The problem is the combination of tags and hashtags, with people putting pictures of the “Jim Morrison cave” on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, though he never wrote a known word there.
“It exploded over last summer, and graffiti has been increasing ever since,” California State Parks District Superintendent Craig Sap told the Los Angeles Times. “People are posting pictures of the cave 30 or 40 times a day.”
Approaching the cave, you can almost expect to catch someone ready to mark it, Supervising Ranger Lindsey Templeton said.
“We come in and we hear shaking cans,” Templeton said. “It’s like fish in a barrel.”
The now-closed cave will be blasted with walnut shells, which will clean off the graffiti without damaging the rock walls. The cleanup will cost $40,000, and there’s no word on when hikers can head back to it.
It’s a misdemeanor to go to the cave, with a fine of nearly $400, and a felony to spray-paint on it.