In the early 1930s, Los Angeles was home to a secret Nazi compound, Murphy Ranch, which plotted world domination from the peaceful brushlands of what is now Rustic Canyon. One story goes that a wealthy Pasadena thumbtack heiress and her equally gullible husband were manipulated into believing that the United States soon would fall into anarchy and destruction at the hands of the Germans. Rather than be a part of the losing team, the couple took the advice of a suspicious man known as Herr Schmidt and invested large amounts of money building a hidden enclave to assist the dastardly Nazis. The structure, now in ruins and covered in graffiti, hunkers deep down in the canyon — at the bottom of 512, leg-challenging steps. Get your cardio in while doing the 3.85-mile hike to this bizarre piece of history. And be thankful that the FBI raided this mysterious lair in 1941. Rustic Canyon, Sullivan Ridge Fire Road, Pacific Palisades. —Nikki Kreuzer

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