La Jolla California – just north of San Diego.
Sunny Jim Cave, awesome tunnel going down to the seashore.
There are 145 steps leading to the cave.
$4 per adult. $3 for 16 years and younger. Please check for current rates.
You will be going right next to the ocean. Bring a bottle of water if needed.
Open year round. Typically open from 10am to 5:30pm
Concrete stairs. The stairs are lighted so you don't need to bring a flashlight.
Yes, at top in the Cave Store.
Not needed. Very short trek
The Sunny Jim cave features a 145 step tunnel which leads you down to sea level where you will meet up with the cave itself.
Sunny Jim Cave: 32° 50.950’N, 117° 16.214’W
Parking is hard to come by so you may have to park down the street and just walk back.
You can only access the Sunny Jim Cave by going through the tunnel or by kayak.
The entrance to the tunnel is setup as a store with jewelry and other interesting things to buy, called “The Cave Store”. My family and I weren’t interested in the store but the man who owns it has lots of information about the cave and La Jolla in general and he was really friendly too.
The tunnel was carved by a few “laborers” that were put to work by Gustav Shultz. I asked the shop owner what kind of “laborers” were hired by Gustav Shultz and he said with a smile”they were ‘hired’ Asian workers…” I think he was implying that they didn’t receive any wages for their two years of digging the tunnel.
The Tunnel was dug back in 1902 and a few years after that wooden steps were added. It also has lights and a hand railing to aid visitors down to the cave. The entrance to the tunnel is just right in the store – you can’t miss it.
There is a small fee for visiting the tunnel and cave below. When we were there it was $4 per adult.
Here we are going down the advertised 145 stairs. My brother and I both counted 144 stairs…
The tunnel is quite amazing and you can see the different layers of dirt, clay and rock as you go down to the cave.
At the bottom of the tunnel there is a nice boardwalk that you can walk towards the opening of the cave and look out towards the ocean. We could hear sea lions the entire time while we were down there. It is a very impressive sight.
Frank Baum, who is the author of The Wizard of Oz, named the cave Sunny Jim Cave because apparently the opening to the cave looks somewhat similar to a cartoon character mascot for the British Wheat cereal products during the 1920’s.
Head back up the 145, or is it 144 stairs??
The Sunny Jim Cave is impressive but I think the tunnel down to the cave is even more impressive. From the cavestore.com which is run by the same people who own the tunnel and cave, they claim that the Encyclopedia Americana called this cave one of the “must” see sights in Southern California. Now, I don’t necessarily agree with that statement but I still do think it is pretty cool.
Walking Down the Sunny Jim Cave tunnel