January 19, 2012

Photo Essay: The Lost Ruins of Rustic Canyon

Update 9/11/21 1:46 PM PT—I'm not 100% sure of the status of these structures, as I haven't been able to get down there and see it myself. But I have heard from reliable sources that some of the ruins at Murphy Ranch have been removed. I'll update this post when I have a definite confirmation.

I first tried to visit Rustic Canyon by hiking through Will Rogers and then Topanga State Park.

But, as usual, I got lost.

I visited a second time more directly, by approaching it from the Sullivan Fire Road in Pacific Palisades, and reaching what I thought was my ultimate destination: Murphy Ranch.

But it turns out there are plenty of other ruins to be seen in Rustic Canyon. And during my last visit, I only found a few more of them.

Like some rusted-out canisters, sinking into the ground...

 ...a graffitied reservoir...

 ...and an old fuel tank...

...which would have allowed anyone in the main Murphy Ranch power house to survive for quite some time.

There are also other roads, once paved in asphalt, now only somewhat disrupted by the grass and weeds erupting forth...

...lined with stone shoulders, along what looks like the banks of a creek...

...lined by more graffitied walls...

...leading to the juncture of the Rustic Canyon trail, one way leading back to the Backbone Trail in Topanga, the other leading back to Will Rogers State Park. This is the juncture I was looking for upon my first visit, when I could not find the trailhead of the Rustic Canyon trail along the Backbone Trail.

And at this juncture lies an old farmhouse barn, also graffitied, rumored to have been a part of the Josepho Boy Scout Camp, now located just north of Murphy's Ranch off the paved end of Sullivan Fire Road.

Although it lies behind a chain-link fence, there is more than one way through it and over it, leading directly to the delicious abandonment.

Among the perils surrounding the ranch house include tall, overgrown grass (I was worried about ticks), instability (including a caved-in roof), and, surprisingly, bees.

Supposedly, there are many more ruins within Rustic Canyon, including an old stable, a disembodied chimney, and an old rusted machine shed, but I didn't find any of those things on my last visit, with the dipping temperatures and disappearing sunlight.

Which means there's plenty to go back and explore...

1 comment:

  1. Randy Young of Latimer Road is conducting a walking tour of upper Rustic Canyon sometime in March with an oral history that includes the Nazi lore and other rare facts he's collected from being THE local historian for the last 50 years.