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Visited: March 22, 2014 & January 25, 2015
Description: Ruins of an old Nazi structure which is now covered in graffiti.
Length: 4 miles round trip
Elevation: 325 feet
Duration: 2+ hours
Difficulty: Moderate, the stairs can be a pain
Terrain: Lots of stairs for a sexy butt and flat cement/dirt trail
Pets: Dog-friendly. Watch out for ticks.
Best time to go: Anytime
Bring: Camera, water, sunscreen, snacks
UPDATE: Murphy Ranch was set to be partially demolished back in February 23, 2016. We are not sure what is left or if anything has happened but this article is our HikeSnobs tribute to the great times we had at Murphy Ranch. Regardless of what is left behind, we still hope future hikers can make great memories as well.
To give you some background, here is some history of Murphy Ranch:
Murphy Ranch was built by a wealthy couple, Norma and Winona Stephens, who were Nazi sympathizers in the early 1930’s. It was said that a German named Herr Schmidt convinced the couple that Nazi Germany would win the war. So the couple built a 4 million dollar self-sufficient farm that included its own water supply, generator power station and fuel tank. It would be where they could hide until the Germans won the war.
Here is what remains at the now abandoned Nazi compound…
Getting to this hike is fairly easy. The coordinates listed above will take you into a residential area. Don’t worry, you are in the right place. Once you find street parking, you’ll head towards the trailhead. Follow Sullivan Ridge road and make a right towards the dirt trail. You’ll be following this path for about a mile until you see a chain link fence on your left. Look for an opening that will lead you to some stairs.
We quickly walked down the cement stairs. The farther down we went, the more stairs there were. It was never-ending! We knew the trek back would be no joke. The last 1/4 of the stairs are a bit higher and steeper so be careful as you make your way down.
Once you reach the bottom, you’ll head left along the dirt path. This trail is very obvious… just follow the graffiti until you reach your destination.
A little farther down you’ll see the garden and the powerhouse.
We had an awesome time exploring every inch of the powerhouse.
There is ladder you can climb that brings you up to the roof.
Check out the artwork or add some yourself!
Right behind the house there is a water tower. Linda decided to climb up the water tower while Alice decided to climb inside.
If you continue to explore the area, you will see the remains of an old outdoor shed:
There is another trail that will bring you to more abandoned structures like this:
And a hidden tree house!
You can explore this area for hours, taking it trail by trail, there is always something new to uncover. After a long day, we were ready to head out, to our next hike of course 😉 Not before we head back up those dreaded stairs.
We’re sad to hear Murphy Ranch may be demolished but if you get the chance, definitely try to get out there as soon as possible and check it out for yourself!
- If stairs are not your friend, there is an alternative path to avoid walking down/up those steps. It’s a turn out about 3/4 of a mile into the hike before the chain-link fence. The trail is obvious and will be on the left side of the trail. Follow that trail and it take you down to the compound.
- If you have dogs, watch out for ticks!
Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Leave us a message below!