Obscura Society LA: Murphy Ranch Hike - Atlas Obscura

Los Angeles, California

Obscura Society LA: Murphy Ranch Hike

Join Obscura Society LA as we step back in time to explore the ruins of an attempted Nazi utopia - right here in the Santa Monica Mountains

If Hitler had ever made his way stateside, he would have been welcomed by a group of his supporters living in deep seclusion in a compound mere miles from Brentwood. 

Join Obscura Society field agent Sandi Hemmerlein as we explore Murphy Ranch – a famed, creepy hiking destination, with a sordid history of Nazi sympathizers and art colonists, hidden deep on the canyon floor of the Santa Monica Mountains. 

Now entirely tagged with graffiti, the various structures of the compound (cisterns, water tanks, a burned-out machine shed, and the main power house) were all meant to sustain as a Nazi holdout for years in isolation.

We'll start our journey at the wrought iron gated entrance of this would-be "Hitler Bunker," designed by famous African-American architect Paul Revere Williams, and work our way through the 50 acre property, where a four-story mansion was also planned. On the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States federal government raided the compound, shutting down their command center and the Nazi utopia that never was.

Now city-owned, this secluded parcel of land has been home to wealthy ranchers, immigrant bohemians, local artists, and even the famous novelist Henry Miller. Wildfires have ravaged the Rustic Canyon area on several occasions, but many of these ruins remain ripe for exploring.

Notes for this adventure:

- Murphy Ranch is located in a remote canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains with no services and no cell phone service.

- We will email out exact meeting location to all attendees closer to the event date. 

- Street parking is available, but limited and in a residential area. Please be respectful of the neighbors, and carpool if possible.

- We will be hiking about 3.5 miles round trip at a moderate pace. Please plan accordingly with water, snacks, and proper shoes.

- This is a reverse hike, meaning we will descend into the canyon first and then climb out of it when we exit. Please reserve your energy for the uphill climb at the end!

- There are a couple of different route options, but this hike will require a significant amount of stair-climbing, as well as paved and dirt trails.

- Be prepared for heat! Please bring water  and sun protection (sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, etc.). 

- Dog-friendly! Just be sure your pup can climb up and down stairs, as well as bring proper clean-up equipment.