|Looking out toward the western portal. This tunnel forks three ways and creates three portals to the east.|
County: Los Angeles
Primary Mineral: Rock, Gravel
Years of Operation: 1903 to the late 1920's
Nearest City or Landmark: Hollywood, Griffith Park
Depth: Approx. 150 feet, two side forks add an additional 100 feet
|The quarry looks like a huge scoop carved out of a mountain. The mine is below this knife edged ridge.|
Did you know that there’s a mine right in the middle of Hollywood? To be more specific, it’s an old gravel quarry, located on an unmarked dirt road in a southwestern section of Griffith Park. It’s called the Bronson Quarry, or Bronson Caves, but you might know it better as the hidden entry point to “The Bat Cave”, located deep below Wayne Manor, from the 1960’s Batman TV show. Dozens of 1950's science fiction movies and westerns were also filmed here, including the classic mine scene from The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
|Mine scenes from the 1956 sci-fi classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Three remakes were later made.|
History of Bronson Quarry
Bronson Quarry was founded in 1903 by the Union Rock Company. The original name was Brush Canyon Quarry. This quarry extracted rock to be crushed for the construction of city streets. In the late 1920’s the quarry closed, leaving the man-made caves behind. These tunnels later became known as the Bronson Caves, taking their name from the same nearby street that late actor Charles Bronson used as his stage name. Mr. Bronson’s real name was Charles Buchinsky. Many low budget B-movies as well as huge feature films and TV shows were filmed here, due to this quarry's close proximity to nearby movie studios and the rustic, remote look of the location. Most filming of the western portal was shot at an angle, to give the illusion of a deep tunnel, but in reality it's actually quite short.
|Looking east; the three eastern portals have all been used in numerous sci-fi movies and westerns.|
Motion Pictures With Scenes Filmed At This Location
Lightning Bryce (1919), Riders of the Purple Sage (1925), The Lightning Warrior (1931), Hurricane Express (1932), I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932), White Zombie (1932), Sagebrush Trail (1933), The Three Musketeers (1933), The Vampire Bat (1933), Mystery Mountain (1934), The Phantom Empire (1935), Robinson Crusoe of Clipper Island (1936), Zorro Rides Again (1937), Dick Tracy Returns (1938), Hawk of the Wilderness (1938), The Lone Ranger Rides Again (1939), The Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941), Call of the Canyon (1942), Leather Burners (1943), Pirates of Monterey (1947), Silver River (1948), Atom Man vs. Superman (1949), Jungle Jim: Mark of the Gorilla (1950), Flame of Araby (1951), Unknown World (1951), Carson City (1952), Robot Monster (1953), Captain John Smith and Pocahontas (1953), Killers from Space (1954), The Day the World Ended (1955), Crashout (1955), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Lone Ranger (1956), It Conquered the World (1956), The Searchers (1956), Men in War (1957), Night of the Blood Beast (1957), The Brain from Planet Arous (1957), The Cyclops (1957), Earth vs. the Spider (1958), Monster from Green Hell (1958), The Return of Dracula (1958), Teenage Caveman (1958), The Jayhawkers! (1959), Invisible Invaders (1959), Teenagers from Outer Space (1959), The Cape Canaveral Monsters (1960), Eegah (1962), Invasion of the Star Creatures (1962), The Magic Sword (1962), Ride the High Country (1962), The Gun Hawk (1963), They Saved Hitler's Brain (Madmen of Mandoras) (1963), The Human Duplicators (1965), Batman: The Movie (1966, Mondo Bizarro (1966), Flaming Frontier (1968), Head (1968), The Mighty Gorga (1969), Equinox (1970), Octaman (1971), Lost Horizon (1973), Mrs. Sundance (1974), Flesh Gordon (1974), The Human Tornado (1976), The Choirboys (1977), Last Ride of the Dalton Gang (1979), The Return (1980), The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981), The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982), The Evil That Men Do (1984), Thrashin' (1986), The Wizard of Speed and Time (1989), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), The Roller Blade Seven (1991), Army of Darkness (1992), Guns of El Chupacabra (1997), The End of Violence (1997), The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001), Cabin Fever (2002), Fangs (2002), The Scorpion King (2002), Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt (2003), Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (2004), Vampire Blvd. (2004), Diabolical Tales (2007), D-War (2007), Princess of Mars (2009), Mega Python vs. Gatoroid (2010)
|A view from the top of the ridge. From here you can clearly see all three eastern facing portals.|
Television Shows Filmed At This Location
The A-Team, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, Alias Smith and Jones, Bat Masterson, Batman, Beauty and the Geek, Bonanza, Combat!, The Dukes of Hazzard, Falcon Crest, Gunsmoke, Have Gun, Will Travel, Little House on the Prairie, The Lone Ranger, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Mission: Impossible (1960s), The Monkees, The Outer Limits (1960s), Rawhide, Salute Your Shorts (The Cursed Skull), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: Voyager, Tombstone Territory, Twin Peaks, V, The Virginian, Wonder Woman
|Is it an alien landing pad or did someone just get artistic? This rock circle can be found on the eastern side.|
Bronson Quarry is located before the beginning of the fire road leading to the Hollywood sign. It is located in a hidden canyon off an unmarked dirt road near the end of the parking area at the northern end of Canyon Drive in Hollywood (inside Griffith Park). The road to the mine is on the right side. Parking is free, but is crowded on the weekends. The walk takes less than five minutes and is well worth seeing if you’re on your way to the Hollywood sign (a three mile walk). In fact, the quarry is visible from the sign and looks like a giant sinkhole in the middle of a mountain. There is a rough, steep trail that circles the rim of the mountain outside the mine, however there is one fairly dangerous drop on the southeastern side, so use extreme caution if you attempt this climb. Surprisingly you will find relatively few people in this area, even on weekends. Park rangers patrol the area regularly, so graffiti is "almost" non existent.
|The smallest of the eastern facing portals. Several sci-fi movies were filmed near this cave-like entrance.|
History of Griffith Park
When you think of Hollywood you usually don’t think of open spaces, but Griffith Park is actually one of the largest urban parks in North America, covering 4,310 acres. It’s four times the size of San Francisco’s Golden State Park. and nearly five times the size of New York’s Central Park. In fact, it’s so vast that mountain lions have been known to regularly roam the area. In 1882, Griffith J. Griffith, a Welch-born newspaper journalist and mining investor purchased the land that at that time was called Rancho Los Feliz or “Happy Ranch”. The Rancho was named after José Vicente Feliz, a Spanish soldier who was granted the land by the Spanish government around 1800, when California was still known as Alta California. At first, Griffith used the land to grow crops and raise sheep and cattle. Later, he started an ostrich farm in 1885 as a tourist attraction, selling feathers for three to five dollars each and had grand plans to expand the land into Los Angeles’ premier attraction. but just four years later, the ostrich park closed.
|A view to the east through two of the quarry's three east facing portals after an early morning downpour.|
Griffith’s original investment of between $8,000 and $50,000 realized a million dollar profit when he subdivided the land, and sold off part of the area now known as Silver Lake in Los Angeles’ first real estate boom. In 1896, Griffith (who grew up poor in Wales) donated 3,015 acres of Rancho Los Feliz to the City of Los Angeles, insisting that the land should become a place of recreation for the rank and file masses, and not be made into a resort for the rich. However, Griffith’s plans for the park, which included an outdoor amphitheater and astronomical observatory were put on hold when in 1903 he shot his wife while in an alcohol induced rage and spent two years in San Quentin prison for attempted murder. Griffith offered the city $700,000 to fund his proposed improvements to the park, but with his reputation tarnished they would not accept the money until after his death in 1919. The Greek Theater finally opened in 1929, and the Griffith Observatory in 1935. The Los Angeles Zoo moved to it’s current location in 1966. The original zoo which opened in 1912 and sat on the site of Griffith's ostrich farm was abandoned, and is now known as the Old Zoo. Traveltown was added in 1952, and the Autry Museum of the American West opened in 1989.
|A view of the nearby cliff hillside. Bronson Quarry supplied gravel for L.A.'s sidewalks in the early 1900's.|
Additional Photos - Bronson / Brush Canyon Quarry
All watermarked photos are copyrighted and cannot be used without my consent.