Pacific Palisades-Giant Steps #42

This is Pacific Palisades-Giant Steps, #42,  from the book “Secret Stairs” by Charles Fleming.  This walk is located near Topanga State Park and is the most mountainous of the walks.

Bench imbedded with stones

All the walks I’ve taken so far were located in residential areas, this one is not.  The stairs on this walk were not originally intended for public use.

513 step stairs

Because there are no restaurants, gas stations, or restrooms in the area, make sure to use the restroom before driving to the starting point, which is on a residential street. Don’t let the park ranger catch you with your pants down, like what happened to my friend.  I looked up from the book “Secret Stairs” to see the ranger driving by and shaking his head as my friend was pulling up her pants.

513 step stairs

This area once had a self- sustaining compound, complete with its own water and power system, which was commissioned by a man named Schmidt.

Water tower

Schmidt, a Nazi, had this 50 acre compound built because he believed Hitler would take over America. The compound, which housed Schmidt and his followers, functioned until the onset of World War II.  Schmidt was identified as a Nazi spy and was sent to prison where he subsequently died.  The land was deeded to the state.  You can see the water tower and remains of the power station, which is covered with graffiti.  The Secret Stairs, by Charles Flemings, contains more information about the history of the compound and Schmidt.

Reamins of power plant

Inside the remains of the power plant

Just below the power station is a stream.

This beautiful area, Rustic Canyon, has hiking trails to which I will definitely return for some hiking.  A short distant up the trail are the remains of the guardhouse and fueling stations, which is now a mass of steel.

Remains of guard station and fueling station


This is definitely one of the most interesting of the walks. I had no idea that Pacific Palisades was once home to a compound occupied by a Nazi spy.

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