Hiking to a Nazi Hideout in Los Angeles

Hiking to a Nazi Hideout in Los Angeles

Jason Daniel Shaw


Murphy’s Ranch is an abandoned ranch in Rustic Canyon, part of the Santa Monica mountains. Built in the 1930s and designed to be a camp for Nazi sympathizers in the US, it was raided and seized the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It is now owned by the City of Los Angeles, sits abandoned and is covered in graffiti. One of the great things about living in Los Angeles is the many hiking options that you have during any time of the year. Murphy’s Ranch has been on my list for quite some time and I finally got around to visiting it. Sadly, in 2016, most of the buildings were demolished due to being deemed unsafe. However, there are still some remnants – here is what we found.

Abandoned Murphy's Ranch


The trailhead for the Murphy’s Ranch hike is in the Riviera neighborhood of Pacific Palisades. Being a residential neighborhood, there is not dedicated parking so you need to find street parking near the intersection of Capri Drive and Casale Road. There are plenty of online guides out there that give you directions to the site so I won’t rehash that here but I will give you some photos to update you on what it looks like today. The stairs are incredibly overgrown and as you will see, the graffiti has really taken over the entire hike. The walls of the garden are still there as is the power house. It used to be accessible but it is now completely sealed up. The machine shed is long gone and all that is left is a slab of concrete. The giant water tank is still there, although pretty beat up. As you explore the area, you find some sets of concrete stairs here and there but not much else. It is incredible to imagine what would have happened had the war gone differently and if this camp would have been activated.

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