Los Angeles Hikes

Murphy Ranch Demolition Date

Murphy Ranch, a popular urban LA location filled with history dating back to WW2 is now set to be demolished by the city. In the last decade this location surged with graffiti artists looking to tag the abandoned buildings and to make their own mark on the site. Since then, it has risen to become one of the most popular spots for photography and the curious. Murphy Ranch is filled with history from the bottom up and has made it’s mark on the local LA communities and travelers alike. Take the last chance to visit this hike, but with warning, trespassing signs have been posted. Take the trail at your own risk, the ranch is CLOSED. The demolition date is set to be Feb. 23rd.

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Update 2/25 (new visit): If you visit Murphy Ranch you will see tons of ongoing activity. Upon the newest visit, there was a patrolling camp counselor driving on Sullivan Fire Road, workers initializing for the next demolition, patrolmen in white trucks acting as guards against anyone entering the abandoned buildings and the many, many tourists and final photographers.

Take the Sullivan Fire road with some incline all the way about 1.7 miles until it runs into a dirt stretch. Hang a left here and you’re on your way to the barn.


Take a left here after walking on Sullivan Fire Road, use the graffiti wall as a reference.


Abandoned Chimney on the trail.

BARN IS CLOSED OFF, GATED. Before you used to be able to enter the decaying barn, but now new gates have been put up and rangers have been watching the area closely.


Continue past the barn on the trail that follows along Rustic Creek. The once scrap garage has been reduced to nothing.



A large garage was here before before the demolition.

Continue past the long graffiti wall to get to the Powerhouse of Murphy Ranch. This is the main attraction, turn back and go back the way you came.


Inside the Powerhouse, taken on a different date.

Interesting History: In the 1930s Nazi sympathizers built a refuge in the Pacific Palisades. Herr Schmidt, Winona and Norman Stephens, and their followers occupied a self-contained stronghold in what is now Rustic Canyon between Sullivan Ridge and Will Rodgers State Park. Murphy Ranch was designed to serve as a hold out followers of the Third Reich waiting for America to fall to the Nazis. Instead, the ranch was raided by U.S. authorities and closed in 1941. In the 60’s and 70’s the abandonded building served as refuge to an artists colony until the Mandeville Canyon fire in 1978. Since then the remaining buildings have  been a target for graffitti artists alike.
The Famous 500 Stairs, will they survive?


The famous 500 steps leading to the Ranch have been blocked from the top (Sullivan Fire Road), but can be still accessed from the bottom. They may be untouched through the demolition process, because of difficulty removing them.

This was confirmed while talking to the Camo Josepho counselor, “Will they be removing all the structures here such as the stairs and the rusted water tanks?” I said. He replied, “I don’t believe they will be removing the stairs, no they might be too difficult. Only the main attractions of the site.” 


Talking to the Ranger: 

Why is it being demolished?: “this location has finally became such a annoyance for the city that they have finally decided to tear it down. And looks like they are finally going through with it, despite many past threats to demolish.”

When are they demolishing it?: “The date set for the complete demolition is Febuary 23rd. They have already started demolishing some other graffitti structures such as the water tank and scrap garage”.

Do you think they will follow through with this demolition, despite numerous warnings?: “I believe so, they have already begun destroying some structures.”

Talking to 4 teenagers who got citations:

Why did you guys get citations? “We entered the barn of the site while the ranger was not looking, he caught us.”

How did you get inside the barn? “We found an opening in the gate and went inside. He found us on the second floor.”


By reading this article we are not responsible for any hiking accidents or citations for going on this hike. Please use caution and logic, thank you.

    • PSHEUGHX on 02/21/2016 at 08:45


    Looks like they’re finally going to tear down Murphy Ranch. But when I was there last, there wasn’t a spot of graffiti on the iron gate. Like in the video below… I hope they keep that gate. It’s such a cool piece of architecture and would be a shame for LA to lose it.

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