|Empire Cave, also known as Porter Caves, is a series of three underground caverns located in a section of woods near UCSC. |
In order to enter, you must climb down a ladder through a hole in a slab of concrete. The concrete platform has a secure ladder leading down into the cave below.
These caves are home to the Dollof cave spider and the Empire Cave pseudoscorpion, species thought to be endemic to the surrounding caves.
This area is low in elevation compared to campus, so I would not recommend visiting during the rainy season. The river nearby sometimes floods over, water collects in the cave, or even causes cave-ins. I actually noticed that the third cavern is larger because of a recent collapse.
Across the river is “Hell Hole,” a tighter, more technical cave that is rumored to continue all the way down to the Santa Cruz shoreline. This cave received its nickname because of how small the entrance is. "And they shall be made to crawl on their bellies to enter the kingdom of darkness", and that is exactly how it feels to enter the first canal.
1. The entrance of Empire Cave.
2. Ladder leading into the caverns.
3.Some graffiti inside the second chamber.
4. The view of the ladder before exiting.
5. The storm drain between Empire Cave and Hell Hole.
6. My favorite graffiti of the day.( "Be Gay Do Crimes")
7. More storm drain.
8. Exploring is always better with a friend!(If you live by Santa Cruz send me a message.)
9. A lucky slugo we found.
10. After about a 25 minute hike along the river, we finally found the entrance to Hell Hole.
Overall, the Empire Cave is a fun little spot to explore. Very easy to get into. Hell Hole is a little intense. We tried to climb down into the first cavern, but it got a little tight to continue on. If you find either location, please be sure to clean up any trash you may use while inside. There seems to be a problem with littering sadly.
Per audacia ad ignotum
|i have done Empire Cave but hell hole was a bit to small for me |
|Posted by clubjacob1|
i have done Empire Cave but hell hole was a bit to small for me
I was barely skinny enough to fit in the entrance. According to my friend, some parts of the cave get even narrower. I think I’m just going to stick to drains...
Per audacia ad ignotum
|There is a very in-depth photo journal published the the internet about the Hell Hole with hand drawn map and advice if you choose to attempt it. I'm about 60min from Santa Cruz and worked in Felton two summers ago. Let me know if you want to swap info on other stuff, I might be able to help you out. |
|Posted by RescueMe1060|
There is a very in-depth photo journal published the the internet about the Hell Hole with hand drawn map and advice if you choose to attempt it.
That would be awesome to read! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction
Per audacia ad ignotum
|Is there a thread on the Hell Hole on these forums? As a skinny guy and a wannabe rock climber, I would love to try. That said, the ropes installed in there with the hundred foot drops do NOT look safe at all from pictures I've found elsewhere.|
On a side note, your quote "And they shall be made to crawl on their bellies to enter the kingdom of darkness" seemed vaguely Dante-esque and familiar, but I couldn't quite place it. "As above, so below" is now on my movie list for its exploration vibe.
[last edit 6/23/2019 6:05 AM by Xiketic - edited 1 times]
|I don't think there is a thread specifically for it. I really haven't seen it mentioned it for a few years now, at least not with pictures and an actual attempt like this thread has. The photo journal is definitely out on the web let me work on finding it again. A lot of people (rightfully so) are angry with the author for publishing it to the web. Its a local spot that people protect. Its also obviously dangerous as you really can't be rescued if you break a leg or have a panic attack. Good luck to anyone who tries it, I've read that in some places you squeeze thru areas on your back where there is nothing above you but a rock pressing down on your chest.|
I'd say don't watch that movie until afterwards. Might lead to a psychotic breakdown inside the Hell Hole. hahaha.
I got your PM btw, working on a response.
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