Cave of the Four Horsemen

One of the Horsemen of the Cave of the Four Horsemen

From Baja California through the Los Angeles basin, there are many pieces of rock art that link today’s California to the California of the past. While many of these pieces are located in hard to reach places, and have suffered the ravages of time, or mankind, the Cave of the Four Horsemen in Malibu is a location that has been both well-preserved, and for the most part, is easily accessible. Officially known as the “Saddle Rock Pictograph Site”, the Cave of the Four Horseman is a pictograph site located in a rockshelter in Malibu, and is the best preserved rock art of the Chumash tribe. While the Chumash inhabited the Los Angeles basin from 5,000 B.C. onward, the Cave of the Four Horsemen is unique because it depicts the expedition of Gaspar de Portola, which passed through the region in 1769-1770. Although the rockshelter has a plethora of fine paintings that have survived, the signature pictographs depict four individual men on horseback, and is the inspiration for the cave’s name.

Horsemen, Cave of the Four Horsemen

Directions/Fees: One of the reasons the Cave of the Four Horsemen is, and has been well-preserved is that since 1978, it has been located on the Saddlerock Ranch and vineyard, which is also the home of Malibu Wines and is private property. The Cave can only be viewed as part of the private tours that Malibu Wines offers of the property as part of their “Wine Safari” programs. Prices vary for these tours, but such tours also potentially include the opportunity to see and visit with exotic (non-native) animals. Most of the cave tours are led by Kurt, who is both very knowledgeable about the site, and the area as a whole. Interested parties should check out the various rates here to visit the cave as part of one of the safaris. While walking distances vary to the pictographs depending on the tour, generally, visitors should be prepared for a two mile easy to moderate walk to and from the parking area at Malibu Wine Safaris. All tours depart from Malibu Wine Safaris, which is located at 33211 Mulholland Highway, Malibu, California, 92065.

Tips: While much of the wine safari terrain is paved, and easily accessible, visitors should be prepared with proper footwear to go on one of the tours, as there are sections of the ranch that involve minor uphill and downhill travel along well-maintained dirt trails. Individuals that are fans of rock art should most definitely visit this location, as these pictographs are some of the most well-preserved that I have seen in the Southern California region.