Murphy Ranch Trail: Hike to An Abandoned Nazi Utopia

Share With Your Friends!

Distance

2.6 Miles

Bathrooms

No

Difficulty

Moderate

Time

≈ 2 Hrs

Season

All Year

Elevation Gain

633 ft

Who would’ve thought that Rustic Canyon, in LA County, has so much eerie and shocking history related to Nazis and WW2? Yeah, you read that right. Crazy!

Murphy Ranch is a 2.6-mile hike in Rustic Canyon, near Pacific Palisades. It’s rated as moderately difficult due to lengthy, steep steps. There is no designated parking lot for this trail. This is a dog-friendly hike but is not recommended for small children.

 

Map of Murphy Ranch Trail

 

Directions & Parking

You can click the links for directions to parking and trailhead.

There’s no parking lot or specific parking area for this trail. So, I ended up parking on Amalfi Dr.

From here, I walked and made a left on Capri Dr. Then, I made a left onto Casale Rd where the trailhead began shortly after.

Trail Begins

The trailhead begins on a dirt road near some beautiful and quite expensive homes.

The neighborhoods there seem to be full of cameras and watchers. Honestly, I wouldn’t have expected there to be a trail right by these homes.

To the left, I could see the beautiful Santa Monica mountains.

There’s a hidden waterfall down by Rustic Creek. Guess I’ll have to come back and check that out!

Most of the trail is on a rundown road that’s definitely in need of a good repair. It definitely feels abandoned already.

There’s also tons of graffiti on the road.

Right behind this gate is where the lengthy stairs begin. Be prepared with some water and a hat if you’re doing this on a sunny day.

It’s definitely a workout. On the bright side, the views are amazing!

After this heart-pumping cardio workout, I reached the canyon floor.

I continued on the left.

Luckily, there was hardly anyone here.

The powerhouse looks crazy with tons of graffiti. Sadly, it’s been boarded up.

Here’s how the backside looks.

There’s a tiny door that’s probably under 5ft tall.

This is the water tower in the back of the building.

Next to the powerhouse, there are some steps that lead to the old”garden” area.

No flowers here, just short cement walls remain.

There’s plenty more to explore at Murphy Ranch such as the old machine shed.

But, I think the most interesting part of the hike is definitely the powerhouse. It’s an interesting photo spot for sure.

You can choose to do this as a loop or as a there-and-back trail. No matter what way you go, you’ll get interesting sights!

 

History of Murphy Ranch

Going to Murphy Ranch with some background knowledge makes this place way more interesting. Let’s get into the weird stuff!

It’s been said that there was a man and wife by the name of Winona and Norman Stephens who claimed to be very wealthy. Mrs. Stephens was into the “supernatural” and came across someone she believed to foresee the future.

This man, Mr. Shmidt, convinced the couple that the Nazis would invade and defeat the U.S. Soon after, they bought a huge piece of land in Pacific Palisades under the pseudonym “Murphy”. Their plans began in 1933.

The ranch was supposed to be self-sufficient, which is why they had the powerhouse and water tank built.

They had a blueprint of a giant mansion that was going to be built, with a “watchtower” and a giant library.

But, their plans of a doomsday utopia never fully went through and the enormous mansion was never built. Their ideas of a German invasion never came true either, thankfully.

More to Explore!

7 Must-Do Waterfalls in Southern California: 2022 Update

7 Must-Do Waterfalls in Southern California: 2022 Update

Looking for breathtaking waterfalls in Southern California? After 12 years of exploring our local mountains, I'd be more than happy to share with you what I think are the 7 most awe inspiring cascades, many of which are also the largest in Socal. Here are a few things...

Bonita Falls: 2nd Largest Waterfall in Socal + Bonus Tiers

Bonita Falls: 2nd Largest Waterfall in Socal + Bonus Tiers

Distance 1.4 MilesTime1.5 HrsDifficulty EasySeasonAll YearElevation Gain334 FtMost people have hiked to Bonita Falls, but what they don't know is that two secret tiers lay directly above, and when added together, measure a total of 495ft! Bonita is a beautiful...

San Gabriel Peak Hiking Trail Via Eaton Saddle

San Gabriel Peak Hiking Trail Via Eaton Saddle

Distance 2.8 MilesTime~1-1.5 HrsDifficulty ModerateSeasonAll YearElevation Gain971+ FtExperience breathtaking birds-eye views of various local sites of interest, such as Mount Wilson and Mount Lowe Peak, atop San Gabriel Peak. San Gabriel Peak is a moderate-level,...

Top of The World Hike At Laguna Beach: 2022 Guide

Top of The World Hike At Laguna Beach: 2022 Guide

Distance  2.2 MilesTime~1.5 HrsDifficulty EasySeasonAll YearElevation Gain862 FtOne of the most popular hikes in the beautiful and breezy city of Laguna Beach is definitely the Top of the World hike. It's a nice and easy trail to the top with amazing views of the...

Hello, There!

I’m Phillip, and just like you, I feel very passionate about California and the outdoors. After many years of exploring amazing and hidden places, I thought I’d share them with you. Life goes by fast so get out there and enjoy it.  

Sign Up For Bonuses

Want to save all your favorite hikes? Sign up to be able to heart all the trails you plan on visitng, plus more awesome bonus features!

Legal Info

We only recommend what we use. This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. However, no company pays us to share these products with you. If you decide to purchase a product via one of our links, we will recieve a small compensation, which in turn, helps us to keep making videos and posts to share with all of you.