I obviously have a thing for graffiti. I mean, I just revisited the abandoned zoo (post here) and then today I went to another graffitied-up spot: an abandoned Nazi compound. Now I know what you are thinking: “really? Nazis in LA?” and well, no, not exactly. The building was build by a group of Nazi supporters during WWII as a base for Hitler and the Nazis to use as a point for an invasion of the USA after they had taken over Europe. After the war ended and the Allies won (whoo!), the camp was raided and became an artist’s colony. Now, however, all that now remains is the concrete exoskeleton which graffitiers have taken over.
As one can imagine, the compound isn’t just lying around the streets of LA, but is rather tucked deep inside the Santa Monica Mountains. We parked at the top of Capri Dr., which can be accessed off of Sunset Blvd., and walked down Casale Rd. until we reached the trail head (better directions here). Oddly enough, this trail also happens to be the way I went with my 2nd grade Girl Scout troop to reach Josepho Camp for our encampment night. Anyways, it is pretty obvious way to go and the asphalt part of the hike winds its way around the mountain and steady but slight incline. A nice easy way to know we were heading the right way was that the graffiti started right with the trail and continued all the way down until the compound. The views along this road were off the charts:
We had never done this trail before so we had no idea where we were going and more or less just followed the many others hikers who seemed to know what they were doing. The first sign of the compound we reached was a set of stairs which we started down. To our horror, however, we immediately began to seeing people coming back up in a state of misery and pain. We ended up taking these steps all the way to the bottom and let me just say that they put the Santa Monica steps to shame. Theses steps were graffitied on and cool, but they literally just seemed to keep coming; I can’t imagine trying to climb back up. Luckily, however, there is another way down and back. If you continue down the road past the stairs you will reach a trail marked by a giant iron gate (pictured below) which takes a windy route down to the compound. Then, to come back up this way, just take the concrete stairs next to the compound up to the asphalt road, take a left, then keep right all the way back up to the gate.
The compound is so cool to explore. It is a great photo place and there are also ladders and windows that can be accessed as well as climbable roof. Just seeing the place was worth the 3 or so mile hike. I felt like there was slightly more to do here compared to the Old LA Zoo, and that it was more accessible. Unlike the zoo you didn’t have to crouch down through gross cages to see the cool stuff, but rather the compound was open and easy enough to climb on that even my mom could jump onto the roof to take photo.
The hike in itself was pretty mild; the only challenging part would be trying to come back up all those flights of stairs (I’m getting tired just thinking about it). So, overall I would give this destination hike an A+ rating!