The Secret Cave of Lincoln Heights

Flat Top Hills

Awhile ago a reader asked me if I’d ever found the hidden cave of Flat Top Hill. I first heard about the cave from long-time residents of the area. After begging people to take me there, I was told the cave had been covered up to discourage children from playing in it and the location of the opening was difficult to find. That didn’t stop me. For many years, I spent lots of time exploring the hill (I even camped up there one night, very uncomfortable) but never came across any cave or signs of cave opening.

Earlier in the year, I asked Don Quixote, my blog compadre here on LA Eastside if he could explain where the cave might be. Here it is for those of you still on the quest. Please let me know if you are able to locate it.

And as for the cave above Griffin Ave below “Flattop”, if you look for the house on Griffin Ave with the wide driveway and the u shaped buildings at the rear, (I think there are two large Jacaranda trees in front), what you are seeing is what used to be the old “Indian Head Water Co.”. Above this bldg you will notice a lot of thick vegetation, we used to call it “the Baby Jungle”. At the top of the Baby Jungle can see a rocky discolored area, bare rock and granite as opposed to the grass and weeds around it. I can see this scarred area from the Pasadena Fwy when I pass. This is the entrance to the old cave, but it was collapsed or filled in many years ago. Inside the cave, which goes back towards flat top quite a long ways, it was very damp, dripping water, and a kind of moss or roots hung down from the roof of the cave. Someone once told me that this cave was used during prohibition to stash liquor by organized crime people. I can’t verify if this is true.

Just yesterday I was out on a walk and noticed what looked like a dark spot on a rock in the hill. I’m curious if this was some kind of mini-cave that’s been uncovered. Anyone been up in the hills lately?

25 thoughts on “The Secret Cave of Lincoln Heights

  1. You noisy kids bedder stay away frum dat dare cave. Its cursed I tell ya. Yeah we use to stash our moonshine back en dem probation days until mah cuzin Fred disappeared one night when he went in dare to fetch a jug or 2. Saw a bright light flash from the opening & we neh’ber saw him again. BE FOREWARNED! STAY OUTTA DARE!

  2. Super interesting, lets go and climb in there I am down to go with you and see what we can find. We can just hike and see how to climb up serious I am so down! lets set it up!

  3. Hey Chimatli I just found an old LA times article from 1922 about the discovery of a cave in LH being used for moonshine, it don’t say too much but if you want me to email it to you let me know, but it pretty much clarifies that the cave was used to make moonshine =) I am sure the moonshine was good! way better then that pruno I bet lol

  4. Oooh man….Flat tops! Where Love birds and dirty birdies meet. Also some cholo/a moments up there. Lemme put on my nike cortez…Lez Go Team Moonshine!

  5. Don’t forget to take two St Francis candles with you to light after you find the cave entrance. Without these candles you will not be able to enter the cave. My Tio Lulo told me that if you go back far enough there is treasure (maybe Joaquin Murrieta’s, quien sabe). If you dig out the cave entrance and enter without lighting those candles of San Francisco something bad will occur and if you survive the ordeal your hair might turn completely white.

    PS Just look for the house on Griffin Ave that used to be Indian Head Water Co. It has a wide driveway and garages that used to be for the trucks. Up above there is the baby jungle but be careful of the poison oak that grows thick there, and the tarantula’s and coyotes and trap door spiders, right above the baby jungle is the scarred rocky entrance to the cave.

  6. my father is from Lincoln Heights and he has talked about a cave before. he has been in it and has said there are native american cave paintings inside the cave…. but the location he described was closer to the Elysian cliffs………. anyone know or heard of this. it’s supposed to have a metal gate on it dating from the 40s-50s that closed it to the curious.

  7. Okay, Team Moonshine! Let’s try and get Don Quixote to take us on a tour. We need at least one guy for show…eh, just kidding DQ! 😉 But I know you offered in the past and hopefully you’ll have sometime soon!
    And as for you crazy old geezer, your warning goes unheeded!

  8. yeah Don Quioxte why can’t you come with Chimatli and me?? lets I can buy the candles, but we can start early in the morning on a Sunday or something we can figure it out. I will buy you pan dulce and cafecito?? yes??

  9. @ Marshall lets do this! I told Chimatli like in a week or so because of mid-terms so I will keep you guys posted, but we def should start thinking of supplies we might need, like gloves,raid,protective clothing, a knife jk, or shears, etc lol

  10. LOL Chavo, if you make it Olde English I might drive down from Nor Cal jaja.
    Serio, I don’t wanna be a downer but watcha, some of those old caves have poisonous gases such as methane, and carbon dioxide and other toxic fumes.
    Miners used to send Canaries into the caves first, if the Canaries didn’t return the minres wouldn’t enter the mine or cave.
    I did a quick Google search and found a few stories here’s just one of them:

    Kinda ironic this happened on the Canary Islands the scientist should have grabbed a couple pajaritos before they entered.

  11. @Dona

    I’ve done some serious storm drain spelunking all over the Harbor, and I’ve got all kinds of gear. I’m good. I need to get a serious flashlight, though. All I have are bike lights and one of those headlamp thingies.

    I’m pretty much tied up until November 7, schedule-wise.

  12. eastside xpat, I heard the same story about a cave with a huge indian carving. My father says he went into the cave. However the location of the cave seemed to be in the hills where Wilson High School is now located.

  13. It seems there are more caves in Northeast LA than I knew about. It would be awesome to try and track down all their locations.

    As for the Flat Top Hills cave, as far as I know, it’s been sealed up but I would still be interested in an expedition to the location and maybe a post spelunking picnic.

    DQ, I’m still not sure where the Indian Headwaters Co. was on Griffin. What would be the closest cross street?

    My mom is in Mexico and called me last night to say she read the blog and got worried: “Mija, I read your gonna go look for a cave. Please be careful!” Haha!

  14. I heard there are lizard people living in and around the LA cave/tunnel system and that the cholos feed them with sacrifices of rival gang members, ratas and bad cops they capture and tie up at the door to the caves.
    Or was that a sci fi dream?

    either way include me in any spelunking adventures, I saw both “The Descent,” and “The Descent 2,”, “The Cave” and am ready to go.

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