Murphy Ranch Rustic Canyon Sullivan Ridge Hike

In the 1930s, Nazi sympathizers built a refuge in the Pacific Palisades. Herr Schmidt, Winona and Norman Stephens, and their followers occupied a self-contained stronghold in what is now Rustic Canyon between Sullivan Ridge and Will Rodgers State Park. Murphy Ranch was designed to serve as a hold out for fans of the Third Reich waiting for America to fall to the Nazis. Instead, the ranch was raided by U.S. authorities and closed in 1941.

The abandoned buildings were transformed into an artists’ colony in the 60s and 70s, but were abandoned after the Mandeville Canyon Fire in 1978. Today the grounds of Murphy Ranch are uninhabited, dilapidated, and covered in graffiti. While much of the history is lost, structures remain, along with long cement staircases that still link Murphy Ranch to Sullivan Ridge Fire Road, providing a 3.85-mile hike with 325 feet of elevation change.

Murphy Ranch Rustic Canyon
Looking up Rustic Canyon

This hike begins at the residential end of Sullivan Ridge Fire Road, but the ruins may also be reached by hiking up Rustic Canyon from Will Rogers State Historic Park.

From the street parking at the intersection of Capri Drive and Casale Road, begin walking up Sullivan Ridge Fire Road toward a gate 0.4 miles from the start at the entrance of Topanga State Park. To the west there is a partial ocean view over the Pacific palisades. The view to the north up Rustic Canyon continues to improve as you hike another 2/3 of a mile up the wide paved fire road.

Murphy Ranch Rustic Canyon
Looking down the stairs into Rustic Canyon

A gap in the chain link fence on the left side of the road leads to the top of an endless-looking staircase heading down the steep wall of the canyon. Turn left here and begin the dizzying descent to Murphy Ranch. (If you miss this set of stairs, there will be another staircase 0.15 miles up the road alongside an abandoned water tower.)

Murphy Ranch Rustic Canyon
Looking up the stairs

The narrow concrete steps drop 200 feet over 0.1 miles down a lush slope that was once terraced and irrigated to harvest nut, fruit, and olive trees for the reclusive Nazis. When the string of 500+ steps finally comes to an end, turn left and follow the wide road down to the bottom of Rustic Canyon. The road turns up the canyon, passing through coast live oaks and sycamores that hide the crumbling ruins of Murphy Ranch.

A third of a mile from the bottom of the stairs, you will reach a large concrete building covered in spray paint. Step inside this haunting hollow structure that once housed a robust diesel generator and fuel tank.

Murphy Ranch Rustic Canyon
The graffiti-covered power building

Around the power building are raised gardens and more concrete steps, all remnants of the $4 million invested in Murphy Ranch by Winona and Norman Stephens. The owners were convinced by their Nazi pal Herr Schmidt that when Europe inevitably fell to Germany, America would be reduced to anarchy, and the National Socialist Party would need a self-sustaining stronghold in the mountains outside Los Angeles to survive the fall and plot the American takeover. History proved to be a bit different. Authorities monitoring the ranch raided the facility shortly after the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor, arresting Schmidt and others for espionage. A radio capable of communicating with Germany may have been confiscated as well. Many of the specifics of this blight on Los Angeles history have been lost to time, but the ruins remain for hikers to explore.

Continue north up the road to a collapsed steel structure that served as a machine shed and garage. This is the last major building from the ranch. The Stephens had commissioned famed African-American architect Paul Williams (who designed the homestead now in ruins in Solstice Canyon) to build a four-story mansion within the canyon, but those plans were never executed. Elements of the bizarre retreat that were built have been left to decay by the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation.

Beyond the machine shed, a single track continues up the canyon toward Camp Josepho. A third of a mile up, there is a connection trail heading west for 3/4 of a mile up to the Backbone Trail in Will Rogers State Park. This trail is useful for those hiking into Rustic Canyon from Will Rogers State Park, and wanting to form a look through the canyon. Beyond this junction, there is a meeting with a paved road heading up to Sullivan Ridge Fire Road. This is an alternative return route to the one described below.

Murphy Ranch Rustic Canyon
The collapsed machine shed and garage

To leave Rustic Canyon, return to the power building and begin hiking up the steps to the right. After a short climb, the stairs reach the road coming down from Sullivan Ridge Fire Road. Turn left and ascend 180 feet over 0.4 miles. The road crosses a grove of sycamores and passes an immense water tank before reaching a stone gate that was once the grand entrance to Murphy Ranch. Step through the crumbling stone wall alongside the gate to return to Sullivan Ridge Fire Road.

Not far below the tank, there is a split in the road with another old paved track coming up from Rustic Canyon north of the ruins. To hike up this trail instead, continue up the canyon past the machine shed for 0.41 miles on Rustic Canyon Trail, a little-used single track that follows the creek past a few more old foundations through a dense woods. The trail passes a large white barn and a junction with a trail heading up to the Backbone Trail, before coming to the bottom of the old paved road. To the left, a single track continues up the canyon for 0.37 miles over a few creek crossings before coming to an end at Camp Josepho. The wide paved road turns to the right and climbs out of the canyon, meeting the other road coming up from Murphy Ranch before reaching Sullivan Ridge Fire Road.

Sullivan Ridge Trail
The gate to Murphy Ranch

Turn right on Sullivan Ridge Fire Road and hike 1.6 miles back down Sullivan Ridge Fire Road to return to the start for a 3.85-mile lollipop loop with 325 feet of elevation between the low and high points of the trek. Alternatively, you can stretch the hike to 4.25 by hiking north a bit farther up the fire road to a junction with a single-track that travels along the top of Sullivan Ridge. Turn right and take the ridge-top trail back to the start. Sullivan Ridge continues north for several miles, eventually connecting with Mulholland Drive to allow extended hikes in the Big Wild of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Before its demise, Murphy Ranch was said to attract dozens of local sympathizers who performed military drills during weekend gatherings. Today you can walk the grounds with less devious intentions, exploring this beautiful canyon with an ugly past. No fee or permit is required to visit Murphy Ranch from Sullivan Ridge Fire Road.

Update: Early in 2016, hikers discovered fences installed around the Murphy Ranch ruins. It has been reported that, because of safety concerns, LA’s Department of Recreation and Parks demolished some of the ruins at Murphy Ranch in the spring of 2016.

To get to the trailhead: From Sunset Boulevard, 3 miles west of the 405, turn north at the light onto Capri Drive. After 1/3 mile continue through the traffic circle, remaining on Capri Drive for another 1/3 mile until it comes to and end at Casale Road. Sullivan Ridge Fire road begins to the left. Find street parking to the right or on an adjacent road.

Trailhead address: Capri Drive & Casale Road, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Trailhead coordinates: 34.061, -118.5037 (34° 03′ 39.59″N 118° 30′ 13.31″W)

Elevation Profile
Click or hover over any spot on this elevation profile to see the distance from the start and elevation above sea level at that location, which will be highlighted on the map.
Trail Map

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These photos were taken in August of 2010. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Rustic Canyon hike Will Rogers Rustic Canyon's Murphy Ranch from Will Rogers State Historic Park
This 4 to 5-mile adventure visits the ruins of a commune built by Nazi sympathizers in a canyon east of the park.
Inspiration Point hike Will Rogers Inspiration Point
This easy 2.25-mile loop in Will Rogers State Historic Park leads to an overlook with views from Santa Monica Bay to downtown LA.
Sullivan ridge hike Sullivan Ridge
A prominent lone-standing Live Oak along Sullivan Ridge makes a natural turnaround point and a 7.5 to 8.3 mile round trip hike.
Sullivan Canyon Trail Sullivan Canyon
This 8.5-mile round trip hike follows a wide trail up the center of a sycamore-filled canyon.
Westridge Trail Westridge Trail to San Vicente Mountain
This 7.4-mile hike travels a scenic ridge between a Brentwood neighborhood and a summit that was once used as a Nike Missile site.
Santa Monica Mountains hikes More trails in the Santa Monica Mountains
Explore other destinations in the range.

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89 Comments on Rustic Canyon’s Murphy Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains

  1. Is this trail actually inside either of the state parks? Or is it just near to them, and accessible from them? The reason I ask is that we want to do this hike with our dog, but state parks don’t allow dogs on their trails. Thank you.

    • Steven Vieira wrote:

      I did the hike a year ago with my dog. Tons of fun. Took him off leash after we were inside the gates bc the fire road was heavily trafficed with bike riders going pretty fast. Lots to explore and its definitely creepy at certain points. The stair cases turn into a massive butt workout. Fun place. Bring lots of water.

    • Cynthia wrote:

      I’ve taken dogs a few times, and once you get past the fire road nobody will know they are there. Watch out for the wildlife and other off-leash dogs though. Also, on the fire roads tons of people have dogs, so while I don’t know if they are allowed nobody seems to mind.

      • annoying wrote:

        you should never take your dog off leash in national/state parks! this is not only inconsiderate but unlawful and too bad you weren’t cited for it ($500 per incident). People like you who also don’t clean after their pets is what makes hiking on those trails so disgusting. shame on you!

        • Kush wrote:

          Some people are messier than animals. Whether you bring along Fido or not you should always leave a place in better condition than when you found it. Pack it in, pack it out! Dogs should only be allowed off lead when they are obedient and listen to their owners for the safety and enjoyment of other hikers, as well as the dog’s safety. There are a lot of rattlers in the area, as well as bobcat, coyotes and even puma.

        • annoyed wrote:

          I’d rather see a friendly off leash stranger dog than a cranky human self appointed leash police. Shame on you! Go where dogs are not.

        • indignant wrote:

          Who the hell said anything about not cleaning up after their pets? You can walk your pet off leash and still clean up after it. Get the stick out of your ass.

          • harry wrote:

            I hate off leash dogs. Some people with big dogs just let them run up to people, and you’re started, you’re nervous that it’s a coyote…and you never know if it’s friendly. Off leash dog owners are selfish idiots with their heads up their asses.

          • Mark wrote:

            Harry says, he hates big dogs, fine, but he doesn’t know the difference between a coyote and a dog, so much for his opinion, no wonder he is afraid.

        • Rick wrote:

          Take it easy. you should apply to be a park ranger scinse your so passionate about telling people what’s right and wrong. Maybe this guy picked up after his dog.

      • Joker wrote:

        The thing about dogs off leash is that they run up to my dog, who is on leash, who is NOT friendly. That’s great your dog is friendly, mine is not and you are asking for trouble. Not to mention all the animals including hawks that will turn your smaller off leash dog into dinner. It’s just a bad idea.

    • Jerry wrote:

      Murphy’s Ranch is owned and managed by the City of Los Angeles. The property and surrounding trails are managed by the State of California. Make sure you have a leash on the dog.

    • Jule wrote:

      Parking tickets for cars left on Casale in red zone or for more than 2 hours. Enter through Rustic Canyon or Will Rogers instead.

  2. hikespeak wrote:

    That’s a good question. The long answer is that the ruins are owned by the City of Los Angeles. The city would like to donate the land to the state to be incorporated into Topanga State Park, but the state won’t accept the land until the old buildings are demolished. So… Dogs are permitted on Sullivan Ridge Fire Road, and on the city property dogs might be OK, but dogs and bikes are not allowed on the trails between the road and the ruins in Topanga State Park, and they are not allowed on the Will Rogers trails either.


    • Bummer. Thanks for clarifying that, though. The dog restriction is our only pet peeve (no pun intended) with our state parks, national parks, and my own county’s wilderness parks.

      • md wrote:

        I’ve never had trouble with my dogs in Will Rogers, and I see TONS of people with other dogs. Just avoid the side trail that tips over into the Topanga area and you’re fine–there are even signs that say “dogs allowed on leash” all over the main park.

        I haven’t tried this hike yet, but look forward to bringing my dogs, and just being smart about on vs. off leash.

    • Craig raines wrote:

      On the city property dogs are allowed though they must be on a leash.

  3. Karen wrote:

    I did this walk before and loved it. I never knew this existed. Very interesting history. I love doing stairwalks so much that I blog about the walks. You can check out this site on Go to Giant Steps walk #42 to read about this stairwalk.

  4. […] The place smelled of paint fumes when we walked inside.  A short distance up from the shell is a mass of steel that was the machine shed and garage.  You can read more about the history in the Charles Flemings’ book Secret stairs and at […]

  5. […] Gagne How about a hike to the ruins of a compound built by Nazi sympathizers?… pretty untraditionalThis answer .Please specify the necessary improvements. Edit Link Text […]

  6. […] You can find a nice map indicating the location of the various landmarks here. […]

  7. […] where the heck they built this. It is awesome. Disclaimer: taking out the Nazi angle of course. Murphy Ranch Trail | Los Angeles | […]

  8. alan wrote:

    found it

  9. […] first heard about this hike in January 2011, from, while looking for dog-friendly hikes up in the Santa Monica area.  Jeff and I were immediately […]

  10. […] Murphy Ranch – Hikespeak, photos, directions, history […]

  11. […] you’d like to do the hike yourself, grab some water and follow these directions. Otherwise, check out some more photos after the […]

  12. Arman T wrote:

    What are the chances of running in to snakes or any other wild life?

    • Nikki wrote:

      Went today, was a great hike… the stairs up are a killer though!
      Dogs there, lots of them, on and off leash. No other animals just the usual birds, lizards, insects, etc.
      I highly recommend it… bring a snack or picnic and LOTS of water.

  13. scott wrote:

    The southern Pacific rattlesnake is found throughout the Santa Monica Mountains, including this area. Dogs should be strictly monitored as a bite can be fatal to your pet, dependent on the venom load received as well as how fast you are successful in seeking medical attention.

    Pay close attention to your surroundings, look where you hike, rest and picnic. Rattlesnakes mean no harm but will defend themselves if threatened. Meanwhile, enjoy this beautiful area but know you are in a wild area and home to countless other fascinating critters, too.

  14. We shot an awesome Freerunning and Parkour video here, Hiking to it with all of the cinema gear was hell though!

  15. […] the ruins can be accessed on a hike through Rustic Canyon.  My second hike to Murphy Ranch could not have been more different than the first.  In Los […]

  16. […] couple of months ago, I went hiking with a girlfriend up at Murphy Ranch Trail in the Santa Monica mountains. Hiking was on my summer bucket list and I’d heard stories […]

  17. […] locate the Ranch, exploring the eery buildings and admiring the artwork that now fills the walls.  Click here to learn more about Rustic Canyon and take a field trip to check it […]

  18. CAROL HUMPHREY wrote:

    I visit Pacific Palisades all the time and has never seen this place, can some please provide me directions from long beach to Los Angeles Rustic Canyon’s Nazi Ruins “Murphy Ranch” in the Santa Monica Mountains

  19. pac pal hiker wrote:

    Please respect the area around the Murphy Ranch and report anyone who is tagging or vandalizing the area to LAPD or local security patrol officers immediately. This a great jewel in the Santa Monica Mountains that is starting to be over-run by vandalism.

  20. Stephen Delgado wrote:

    I went today (April 8, 2014) and everything from the stairs was blocked off with NEW barbed wire. But the steps I was traveling down were wooden, not concrete. I realize now that I might have taken a wrong path.

  21. […] taken on the way to Murphy Ranch in Los Angeles, […]

  22. Rachel wrote:

    Looking to do a night hike here. Is this possible? Does it close? Is the hike accessible after 8pm?

  23. […] are being all used up in other places. For now, enjoy some photographs. A hike down to an abandoned nazi ranch. A bright spring day. A collection of graffiti. A world within a […]

  24. kaydkafka wrote:

    This is a very cool and unusual hike. We have done it twice in the past few months. The bizarre nature of the hike makes it fun and a little bit eerie.

    The first time we visited, we were able to explore the various areas and go inside the buildings. The graffiti, while loud and crazy, actually adds a neat dimension to the buildings.

    However, the second time we went (May 2014), there was a huge fence installed all around the main building with no trespassing signs. The graffiti had been painted over with tan paint. The fence restricted access to the coolest part of the hike, which was disappointing. Keep in mind this fence may still be there on your visit, and it can be a let-down.

    Still a cool hike regardless, but was a neater hike without the fence.

  25. […] Murphy Ranch was built in the Pacific Palisades in the 1930s by a group of Nazi-sympathizers, but the community of homes created as a refuge for individuals hoping for a German takeover of the U.S. during WWII was raided and shut down in 1941.[…]

  26. Kate wrote:

    Hikers BEWARE! Disclaimer… I am a very conscious hiker. I do not litter, go off trails etc… a real leave no trace kind of girl. I received THREE yes THREE trespassing tickets for OBSERVING the power building. I was not in it or on it and neither were the minors that were with me. We were taking photographs and enjoying the day. There are NO posted signs saying no trespassing that are visible from the entry side, but that didn’t stop the rangers from giving me a ticket for each person in my party. Once the rangers left I hiked around to the other side of the building and saw ONE no trespassing sign that was so heavily covered in graffiti all you could read was the word ASS. The frustrating thing is the ranger fully acknowledged that I was doing nothing wrong and that we weren’t the problem, but his supervisor expects 5 citations a day and we would fill his quota. He also told me that the wealthy home owners in the area have been pushing the city to take down the structures so that they don’t have the traffic in the STATE park. The homeowners do not want to pay for removal of the buildings and they have the city against the wall… so to obtain the revenue the city needs for tear down they are citing innocent hikers checking out a piece of obscure history. Very sad situation… and now who knows what these tickets will cost me but, even more is that people have the power to tear down a piece of history because they want PUBLIC land to be for their use only. Oh, and one last things the state parks department has no interest in the buildings, do not regulate etc… which I brought up to the ranger and his answer was “Yeah, but we are city and city doesn’t want you here”. Oops…. one last, last thing, you can not park anywhere along the dirt road, even though there are no signs (In most rural areas/parks with an adventure pass, which I have, you can park along the roads and hike in)…. I came back to a $40 parking ticket on the car… Which made FOUR TICKETS FOR ONE DAY!

  27. Jerry wrote:

    THE BUILDINGS ARE NOW FENCED OFF AND CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC. When I was there Rangers were citing for trespassing.

  28. bert s wrote:

    is there a place you can park your car? is it far from the trail please reply, thanks.

  29. Barry hill wrote:

    Just took a hike again. Now they have fencing all around the structures at the Nazi camp. Anybody know if they plan on shutting it down?

  30. Clicky wrote:

    Hey all,
    are their rangers stationed inside the park, or close to the powerhouse?
    Especially at night? Basically what I’m asking is…
    You guys think I could get away with throwing a rave here?
    Throw raves out in the middle of the desert all the time, but it would be incredible if I could get away with throwing a party here.
    Would it be that huge of a mess of the party did get rolled?

    • Epic Facepalms wrote:

      Really dude… You want to throw a rave at a place of historical importance? Don’t you know that’s why nobody takes ravers seriously? By the way that looks like a huge logistical nightmare to setup all those amps and speakers. If you got rolled you’d be so screwed.

    • AnonHiker wrote:

      You cannot throw a rave here. You cant drive anywhere near it so lots to move in by hand, also the main road you would hike to get in closes at 9:00 PM. The canyon will make the sound travel far and so the community will hear all the music right away, and the parking is in the neighborhood so you will be caught right away. Plus the site can be dangerous especially at night when its dark and hard to see.

  31. […] Rustic Canyon’s Nazi Ruins “Murphy Ranch” in the Santa Monica Mountains – Hikespeak […]

  32. Glenn wrote:

    I hiked there some 25 years ago before there was much graffiti and the bldgs were still identifiable, I went for the first time today in years, and was shocked by all of the trash and graffiti, also quite surprised by all of the water on the canyon trail, as well as the $12 parking fee

  33. […] this hike, there are plenty of places online where you can find explicit directions and tips, like here. Or, just click the image above to take a “virtual” tour of it by looking at my […]

  34. […] the weekend I hiked with friends down the Murphy Ranch Trail. Originally home to a Nazi refuge built in the 1930’s, the compound was raided and shutdown […]

  35. Sue wrote:

    I would like a phone number or email address of someone to see if I could get some information and maybe a tour guide or a group I can go along with. I am in my late sixties and wonderful how hard is the climbs. I do some hiking in Topanga where I live, but this seems a little harder.. Any thoughts you guys.. Sue Peace….

  36. Hiker4 wrote:

    We checked out the compound on Saturday, April 11th and were followed. The man appeared naked and with a large knife. He was white (but very tan), late40s-50s, and mustache. His knife was long, serrated, and curved. He asked if we were interested in him. Soon after hiking back toward the staircase, a cop car showed up.

  37. […] we hiked to a literal abandoned Nazi compound in the Santa Monica Mountains and it was amazing. Now, no Nazis have lived there for quite some time, but just in case, we […]

  38. […] Well folks, I’m still catching up with my hiking posts! Stuart & I hiked Murphy Ranch on April 5th, the day after Solstice Canyon. When Stuart said he had heard of a Nazi compound located in Los Angeles, at first I was skeptical. Yet, it totally existed! Want to learn more? I found this great video from Tom Explores Los Angeles on YouTube that gives some history! Also: here are directions to Murphy Ranch. […]

  39. […] a Nazi sympathizer camp hidden in the mountains of a Brentwood neighborhood. You can go to this awesome page that tells you every single step to get to the trail/compound, because it’s not […]

  40. ingvard wrote:

    Ranch is closed.

  41. Lahikes wrote:

    Murphy Ranch is set to be demolished, and is now closed. Gates have been put up and now they are moving forward with the demolition. Set date to be demolished is 2/23.

    • Ceecee wrote:

      So you can’t get in?

      • pam wrote:

        Just went today; it is not closed and there is no sign of demolition. Some signs saying the area is closed, but easy to navigate and tons of people hiking the trail down to the compound. Feb. 21, 2016

  42. e mc wrote:

    Hi All – Does anyone know if you can still go on this hike and see the ruins or do the gates prohibit that?

    • pj wrote:

      Just returned from doing this awesome hike; both of us are 62, and found it an easy trail to do. Going down the steep 526 steps requires you to be careful, but the walk out to the buildings you see in the photos was easy. We ended up missing the steps on the way back and ended up walking up a road that brought us right back to the trail head, thus avoiding the steps up.
      Lots of teenagers tagging, lots of dogs, but every one was respectful and in awe of the compound. The only concern we had is that the last building is literally falling down, and the kids were all over it…seems like a tragedy just waiting to happen. We did see lots of young kids going down after sunset, which we supposed was heading down to party….
      It’s sad that this compound is scheduled to be demolished, as it is such an interesting piece of history; however, in its current state, its just a matter of time til someone gets seriously injured or killed and the city gets sued.

  43. PSHEUGHX wrote:

    Found this great tribute to Murphy Ranch… LA is losing some awesome ruins from an interesting time in history.

  44. Steph wrote:

    are those buildings with the graffiti still there?

    • Ingelvard Sorenson wrote:

      No. Almost everything is gone. Lots of graffiti on the rocks. Rangers everywhere.

  45. Juan wrote:

    I recall mountain biking thru there thirty years ago and not knowing who lived there or why, shame about the graffiti,I saw it just plain and semi old

  46. […] request accepted. We went that Sunday. I wrote down directions from this article (yes, I still hand-write directions for things) and we still managed to get confused. We walked […]

  47. […] Ranch doesn’t have to be hard. There are a few trails you can take that lead there, but after researching it, Jeff and I decided on the hardest route: a 6.5 mile loop that started and stopped at Will Rogers […]

  48. Bas wrote:

    By now, Memorial day 2016, the gate and machine building are entirely gone. Too bad.

  49. […] built to be a base and refuge for Nazis during the world war (you can read a little about it here ), it was raided and shut down by U.S authorities in 1941 and remained abandoned until the […]

  50. […] built to be a base and refuge for Nazis during the world war (you can read a little about it here ), it was raided and shut down by U.S authorities in 1941 and remained abandoned until the […]

  51. C.Drew wrote:

    Here’s what it looked like before Feb 23rd of this year. Machine Shed and Gate are gone. Power House is boarded up.

  52. Marty Zigman wrote:

    I visited with two other friends. A great memorable hike. Key comments:
    1) We hiked in backwards mode. I agree with others, much better experience.
    2) The trail change outs are well marked; meaning, you won’t get lost; there are signs.
    3) I was able to avoid getting wet in the creek trail. But It was technical.
    4) Total hike time with 1/2 hour break at Murphy’s ranch was 4 hours
    5) I would not take my wife to this only because of the creek portion; unless you are willing to get wet, you risk falling.

  53. MYCD wrote:

    Do I need to buy adventure pass for parking there?

  54. Cyn wrote:

    I read the first words on Google from your website and have to correct you–it’s not “outside Los Angeles,” but inside both L.A. County and City. Pacific Palisades is unincorporated, so it’s part of L.A. If you live there, you vote in both L.A. elections. The cities that are incorporated, like Santa Monica, Malibu, Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, and Santa Clarita are not part of L.A. City (so they have their own city councils, police forces, etc) but are still part of L.A. County. The ranch, being inside the City of Los Angeles, therefore is subject to the LAPD, the L.A. Parks and Rec, and any laws established by the L.A. City Council.

  55. Tanya wrote:

    Does anyone know if it still exists?

    • Brian Douglas wrote:

      I just hiked today. Ignore graffiti that says “Easy path this way!” – they’re lies! Some of the structures still remain, it doesn’t seem like much has changed since 2016.

  56. […] The Murphy’s Ranch trail takes you to an abandoned Nazi refuge in the Pacific Palisades area. Evidently in the 30’s, a group of Nazi fans chose Murphy’s Ranch to set up shop in hopes of a German takeover. Clearly that didn’t happen, and their camp was shut down. Now the old building is covered head to toe with impressive graffiti. […]

  57. […] The remains of an old vacation home called the Murphy Ranch and a colony where people once lived lies at the bottom of the canyon. Vanderberg said local folklore claims that leading up to World War II, the abandoned ranch was once home to Nazi sympathizers who wanted to create their own colony in the canyon […]

  58. Ssemenza888 wrote:

    Was a ranger there in the 90s. My husband since 1979. So sad to see the human degradation of my favorite place in SoCal. It was still untouched beauty until the internet made things too public. My first date with my husband of 25 years was up Rustic Canyon, all alone. He will never forget the Sullivan fire that destroyed a few State Houses in the canyon. The staff at Camp Josepho had to jump in the swimming pool to survive. I hate to see the graffiti now. So sad. I am thankful that I got to explore this place at a simpler time, before computers.

  59. guideadda wrote:

    It’s sad that this compound is scheduled to be demolished, as it is such an interesting piece of history; however, in its current state, its just a matter of time til someone gets seriously injured or killed and the city gets sued.

  60. Josie wrote:

    the entire area including all along Sullivan Fire Road is getting trashed….there is litter everywhere….mountain bikers, hikers, grafitti artist, dog walkers – all are contributing to trash —water bottles, gloves, masks (Covid 19), empty spray paint cans, wrappers, tissue, dog poop (bagged & unbagged)

  61. Stanton wrote:

    The Nazi story is an urban legend, no evidence for it at all. Read “The True Story of Murphy Ranch”, released July 2023, if you want the real story.