Murphy’s Ranch Trail is a 3.4 mile loop located in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles, CA. This hike is in a pretty central area, located just shortly off of where the 405 meets Sunset Blvd. Parking is simple, as the trail begins in a residential area. Currently, there is a lot of construction going on where the trail begins, so you won’t miss it if you look for the construction. Luckily, this trail features my favorite aspect of hiking- you go up on the way in and down on the way back! It’s great to start a hike going uphill, as you are more pumped and ready to get moving. The more you walk, the more tired you get, so I always find it ideal for the trail to be going downhill on the way back. This trail fits that mold perfectly.
Murphy’s Ranch Trail is ideal for those looking to see some beautiful natural sights while also getting a little urban-ruin exploration on. As you reach the highest part of your trail on the journey in, you can choose to keep going forward and down or down a large set of stairs that descend down the side of the mountain. I chose to go down the stairs and loop back around and gradually up on the path. You can choose to do it either way.
If you choose to go down the stairs, as you reach the bottom, you have entered the land of Herr Schmidt, Winona and Norman Stephens, and their followers. Those individuals listed were Nazi sympathizers who built this refuge as a place to wait for the Americans to fall and be overtaken by the Nazis during World War II. Instead, the ranch was raided and closed in 1941 by US officials.
When you make a left at the bottom of these stairs, the unpaved road will take you around to the old power building that has been well boarded up. It’s pretty fun to look around at the graffiti that has been placed all over the abandoned building, and you can also climb up the back side (where the hill makes it easy for you to climb on the ruin) to take a photo from up on top of the structure.