Murphy Ranch is the location of a former community of Nazi sympathizers. The sympathizers began constructing the ranch is 1933, and inhabited it up until the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Their intentions may have been as modest as having a safe haven for the chaos that would result if Germany won the war, or their intentions may have been more sinister. According to historian Randy Young (in a recent episode of the Travel Channels “Off Limits”), the Ranch owners may have aspired that the Ranch be the base where Hitler would one day rule over the United States.
Hikers are free to explore the ruins of the self-sustained community. You can enter the Ranch through one of two sets of stairs that lead from the edge of the Sullivan Ridge Fire Road down to the canyon creek. The 500+ concrete steps by themselves are quite eerie and impressive, and currently attract a local community of Los Angeles “stair walkers”. You can also enter the Ranch through the stone gate that was once the main entrance. The sets of stairs lead to a pair of buildings at the bottom of the canyon. The entrance through the main gate will also take you to the two buildings if you follow it on the left. You can follow the road from the main gate on the right to access an old white barn. You can apparently walk from the old white barn along a creek to the two main buildings, but the creek is densely populated with vegetation and large spiders. We approached the main buildings first, but were unable to walk through the creek to the white barn (see my previous reference to the large spiders). The two main buildings consist of an concrete power plant that once contained a diesel generator and 20,000 gallon fuel tank. It is now draped in graffiti. The second building was once a machine shed.
The terraced hillside along the canyon once contained fruit, nut and olive trees, which may have been irrigated by a 400,000 gallon water tank located next to the main gate. An additional water tank is located next to the set of stairs closest to the main gate, partially secluded by a ring of trees. The elaborate stair system may have allowed individuals to maintain the fruit and nut trees and patrol the area.
You can find a nice map indicating the location of the various landmarks here.
Parking: Part at the end of Capri Drive on Casale or Umeo Road. Walk up Capri Drive (which turns into Sullivan Ridge Fire Road) for about a mile until you see one of the two concrete stairs heading down the canyon or the main gate to Murphy Ranch.