A descent into La Jolla’s Sunny Jim Cave!

For over a hundred years, curious visitors have descended into Sunny Jim Cave in La Jolla. I recently ventured down into the sea cave for my very first time! And I’m glad I did!

What was this small adventure like?

North of La Jolla Cove is a series of sea caves, with entrances that can be approached by water. One of the openings is to Sunny Jim Cave.

Visitors to The Cave Store can descend via tunnel into famous Sunny Jim Cave.

Historical Landmark No. 380. Tunnel & Cave Store – 1902. The City of San Diego.

Artwork in the Cave Store depicts someone sitting on a rock inside Sunny Jim Cave.

History of the Cave. In 1902, a German entrepreneur named Prof. Gustav Schultz commissioned two Chinese workers to dig a tunnel into the sea cave through the cliffs of La Jolla with the idea of charging visitors a few cents to enter…During Prohibition, alcohol was smuggled through the tunnel and into San Diego…Its nickname, Sunny Jim, comes from the resemblance of (its) silhouette to that of an old cereal mascot named Sunny Jim.

Starting down narrow stairs into the steeply sloping tunnel.

145 steps…All persons entering this cave do so at their own risk.

Here we go!

I’ve been inside mines, and this experience feels similar.

The stairs descend around several turns. In places the ceiling is rather low, and I had to stoop while carefully holding onto the railing.

When people pass in the narrow tunnel, it’s a tight squeeze! The wooden steps become more wet and slippery the farther down we go…

Almost there. The rock above and around is very damp now.

Walking out onto the wooden deck just inside Sunny Jim Cave.

The profile of Sunny Jim becomes apparent.

Several people were already on the deck, gazing out at ocean waves surging into the cave.

Sea lions sometimes hang out in the cave, but there were none when I visited.

The cave’s name Sunny Jim was suggested by Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum. Sunny Jim was the prominent-nosed mascot for Force, the first commercially successful wheat flake breakfast cereal!

(Public domain image, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.)

Venturing down into Sunny Jim Cave makes for a fun little adventure. If you can manage the steep stairs and narrow tunnel, you might enjoy it, too!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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