Murphy Ranch Trail is a 3.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Pacific Palisades, California that offers scenic views. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking and walking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
A moderate hike out to the remains of a Nazi camp. 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, covered in graffiti, and open to hikers. While much of the history is lost, several 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 gain.
I have done this Trail before but found other alternatives to the come in and out of it, hence a secondary review.
A group of TrailDolls went on a journey to explore the remnants of the Murphy Ranch Trail.
Something I didn't read in any of the reviews was how long you were going to be there. So give yourself a few hours to truly explore the compound.
Google maps takes you right to the corner of Capri Drive and Casale Road.
Parking is limited as this is a residential area. Park at the intersection on the right side.
At Capri Drive and Casale Road, walk left (on Casale Rd) through the residential area until you get to a yellow gate. That's the trail head begins.
By the Gate there is a wooden super step stair case, that takes you down to the stream where the water runs from Will Rogers State Park. I don't recommend this as it is dangerous, but it's an alternate adventure.
Keeping hiking past the Yellow gate about a 1/4 mile and you'll see 2 white Graffiti'd post. If you down this hillside trail you can avoid the stairs altogether. This leads you up and down to the compound. Also for those that asked about the Yellow car wreck on the Hillside. It's over the cliff before you get to the Stairwell. So just keep walking on the side and look over the edge every now and then.
Now once you get to the gate you'll see the entrance on the left this is where the 500+ stairwell. These Stairs are no joke. They are different sizes, some narrow, some normal, some slanted. So watch your footing. The view down these stairs is also spectacular and good for pics. This hike is also okay for regular sneakers. Not to many places here require traction.
Now to get the the 3rd Stairwell. Walk past the gate about 5 minutes and you'll see a water tank. Those Stairs are about 300+ and they have a rail. So if you want less stairs up and down this is your alternative. Our like in our case, we did all Three routes, lol.
It's Definitely a must see before they completely demolish the structures. Bring plenty of water. And on a side note. The trail itself is easy. But I felt like dying when coming Back up those stairs.
I heard that this trail had been closed in 2016 by local government an you can no longer access the bunkers or anything, is this true?? I hope not as I;m intending to do this in March! x
It was a fairly easy hike.
Parking: You'll have to park in the residential area off Capri (can't remember the cross street). I had no trouble looking for a spot and I was there on a Saturday. I walked to the start of the hiking trail and it was about a less than 10 minute hike.
The trail: I personally am a sucker for scenic views. While this hike didn't have any extraordinary ocean views (although you could see the water in the far distance) there was some pretty cool graffiti art. I especially liked the WWII Bunker; I took a few pics.
The trail was not difficult at all. The killers are the stairs and walking those things up. Great workout nonetheless.
Interesting the see the abandoned buildings, but many have been boarded up. You can get into the first floor of the house by going around and entering where the fence has come down. Really wish I'd had this app when we went as the trails are not marked whatsoever. You can take multiple routes but at no point were we certain that specific paths would take us the right way. Alternatively, we ended up cutting straight through by using the insane number of stairs leading down to the site. If you want a good stair workout, it might be worth going for this alone, just not on a hot, sunny day. Be warned though, these stairs are extremely steep, uneven and once you start, there's really no turning back.
I thought this trail would be a little more strenuous. It was pretty easy but we found an off-road path that gave us more of a challenge. I enjoyed the history and colorful graffiti in contrast to the natural setting. I didn't see any stairs. =/
The river was flowing and it was a beautiful day. I went after 10am and I would say half the trail was shaded by the mountain. If you take any of the stairs there are trees and shade down below. The river flows down from the Will Rogers state park trail which and as cool! I didn't know that- although I wish I knew how to hike the entire riverbed. There is a trail but it seemed to be blocked when I tried to do it last year.
Really cool hike, lots of different areas to explore and there's even a fantastic set of stairs you can climb up and down for that good cardio. Look for the old VW Beetle in the bushes - something we just happened to spot while wandering through the brush. Note - some areas are pretty active with ticks so be aware.
I didnt go up or down any stairs. At the begining of the trail before you reach the first stairs there are two trail posts you can walk through and youll see a narrow path going down the mountain. I went this way to avoid people. it takes you past two additional buildings/sheds and also keeps you out of the sun. this path leads right to the bottom of the stairs and the primary building. then you can just keep on the trail and it will go past the last fenced off building before starting to wind back up the mountain.
Hey, I've been here a couple of times and I still haven't seen the car wreckage. Does anyone know where I can find it?
What I loved about this trail is the many, many, MANY off-road paths. There's super long stairs, a car wreckage U can climb down to, all kinds of graffiti sites, tiny steps down to a bridge of some kind... It seems endless. Every time we thought we were on our way home, we found another little trail that went off-road and made us feel like real adventurers. And I swear we heard water streaming down below at one point. I want to get to that water next time. If there is any.