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Great Hikes: The Murphy Ranch Trail

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In the 1930s, members of the Silver Legion of America began construction on a Pacific Palisades compound that was to be a Nazi command center on the West Coast.

The blueprints, drawn by famed architect Paul R. Williams and examined thoroughly by Hadley Hall Meares for Curbed -- called for a self-sustaining farm utopia (and a giant mansion "fit for a world leader") based on concepts from the National Socialist party. The plans, however, never materialized past the infrastructure. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, police quickly occupied the ranch and kicked out the occupants.

Currently, the remnants of the complex are covered in graffiti and in a dilapidated condition. (In the 1960s and '70s, the area was briefly used as an artist's colony, but the area has been without caretakers since.) Fences have been installed, and rumors of rangers ticketing trespassers are all over the Internet.

To see the complex's remains, hikers need to walk a 3.85-mile roundtrip loop with a modest elevation gain. The path starts at the Sullivan Ridge Fire Road, and offers views of the nearby ocean before heading down a dizzying staircase. For complete details on how to find the Murphy Ranch, check out this wonderful trail explainer.

Related:
L.A.'s Historic Hiking Destinations

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