The hike to the Bridge to Nowhere is one of the more popular hikes in southern California. That’s for a good reason. This is a don’t miss hike if you live close to or in Base Camp L.A.
The bridge was constructed in 1936 as part of a road project intended to connect the San Gabriel Valley to Wrightwood. The road was washed out in a 1938 storm, as parts of the trail often are, and the project was terminated leaving a bridge in the middle of what is now the Sheep Mountain Wilderness. This has left us with an amazing place to go hiking.
The hike is a ten mile round trip with less than 1000’ of elevation gain. You will actually be hiking along the east fork of the San Gabriel River. There are about five river crossings each way depending on trail conditions. The river crossings make it a good hike for the warm months because it’s easy to cool down in the water and the water level is lower and moving slower which makes it safer. Know that your feet (shoes and socks) will get wet.
One of the reasons for it’s popularity is the great mix of vegetation and wildlife that is found there. It’s not uncommon to see mountain goats climbing the steep walls of the canyon or hawks soaring overhead. On the hike you will go through oak groves, chaparral and in the spring see the giant yucca bloom.
As you approach the bridge you might hear 3, 2, 1, bungeeeeeeeeeee! Bungee America has been running their bungee operation off the bridge for years. It’s a particularly good bridge for jumping because of it’s unique arch design. It’s fun to watch. If you want to jump you must make reservations with them ahead of time.
Just beyond the bridge is a fantastic waterhole to sit next to, share some food, jump in and cool off. It’s one of the best picnic spots in the south land. It is also a fantastic vantage point to watch people fling themselves off the bridge.
Directions: Take the 210 and exit on Azusa Ave (CA 39) and turn north. As the road raises into the San Gabriels the name will change to San Gabriel Canyon Road. Take a right at E Fork Road where you will cross a bridge. Eventual the road will change to Camp Bonita Road. You will eventually get to where the road is closed and there is a parking lot on the left which has a bathroom. The lot is often full so you may have to turn back down the road to find parking on the shoulder. Make sure you have an Adventure Pass to display in your car.
There are some potential hazards to be aware of. Watch out for rattlesnakes and take care if you reach under or around a log or rock. In the steep sections watch for potential falling rocks. There are some areas where the trail splits off to some less used tracks which often lead to steep sections with poor footing. Take plenty of water. Drinking the water from the river is not recommended. During the rainy season be very careful at the crossings. People have underestimated the speed of the river and have died trying to cross. Not to scare anyone off but it’s only fun when people have a good, safe, time.
We’ll see you on the trail!