Abandoned Nazi Camp in LA’s Backyard

Murphy's Ranch Hike | LA, California

Most people think of movie stars, surfers, and fashionistas when they think of Los Angeles. We decided to dig a bit deeper and find some interesting spots that are a bit less known, off the beaten path, and might raise your hair. Murphy's Ranch was our favorite, a 55 acre stretch of canyon with an eerie twist of History that sits among the Pacific Palisades near Santa Monica. The Ranch was developed by Winona and Norman Stephens, and controlled by a man named Herr Schmidt during WWII. Schmidt was a Nazi sympathizer who foresaw that the Germans were going to win and eventually take over America (even though they didn't). The Stephens poured $4 million into the makings of this ranch in hopes of making it a place of power for when the time came. In it's peak the land had fruit and nut trees, a water system for irrigation, power house, machine room, and bomb shelter. At this time all of the buildings have been covered in graffiti, boarded up, and have fences around them blocking public access. You can still go and walk around the grounds you just wont be able to get inside. 


1) It's a bit confusing finding the trailhead since you'll have to walk through a very nice neighborhood of the Pacific Palisades. It begins at Sullivan Ridge Fire Road which you will find near Capri Drive and Casale Road

2) There's plenty of free street parking, just check all the signs in case there's street cleanings or permits required. 

3) From the fire road you'll hit a road block that says Camp Josepho, you're in the right place. There are several ways to get there from here: you can take a steep set of stairs down, another trail near an abandoned water tank, or a dirt road to the main entrance.  Either way you'll get there and you'll know when you do. Best bet is to just follow the graffiti. 

4) Try to go early morning or afternoon. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to get stuck or lost there at night.