Home Hiking Bridge to Nowhere Hike (Up To Date Directions)

Bridge to Nowhere Hike (Up To Date Directions)

39 min read

Bridge To Nowhere

In This Guide
  • Turn by Turn Hike Directions
  • Maps For the Hike
  • What Shoes to Wear
  • Parking Info
  • What To Look For on the Hike
  • Info on Bungee Jumping
Distance 10.5 miles (16.9 km)
Hike Time 6+ Hours (Total)
Difficulty Moderate
Total Ascent (?) 1,870 toes (570m)
Highest Elevation 2,755 toes (840m)
Fees & Permits Parking Fee
Dog Friendly Leashed
Park Website San Gabriel River Ranger District
Park Phone 626-335-1251

The 6 hour, 10.5 mile Bridge to Nowhere hike within the San Gabriel Mountains is one these hikes that you’ve got to do a minimum of as soon as in your life. As the identify suggests, you hike alongside the San Gabriel River within the lovely Sheep Mountain Wilderness for about 5 miles, after which, out of nowhere, there’s an enormous, 120-foot excessive bridge! The hike is enjoyable, particularly on a scorching summer season day, as a result of there are many stream crossings and water holes to cool off in. It’s a traditional Southern California hike that each native is aware of about, so give it a strive.

What is the Bridge to Nowhere?

To start, this Bridge to Nowhere shouldn’t be a type of tax boondoggles that you simply examine within the information. The Bridge to Nowhere was supposed to go someplace. In 1929 work started on the East Fork Road, which was going to join San Gabriel Valley with Wrightwood to the north.  The bridge was an important link on that street and was in-built 1936. But solely two years later, in 1938, catastrophic flooding in the San Gabriel River washed the street away, leaving solely, effectively, you guessed it, a Bridge to Nowhere.

Old Road On Bridge To Nowhere Trail
Keep your eyes open for stays of the outdated street that bought washed away within the Great Flood of 1938. This was the street that led to the Bridge to Nowhere and you’ll see sections of pavement alongside the hike.

Then within the 1950s, when everybody was within the grips of Cold War nuclear holocaust paranoia, the federal government thought it could be a good suggestion to build a highway through the San Gabriel mountains to evacuate individuals from LA to the Mojave Desert. The deserted Bridge to Nowhere was to be used on this new evacuation route. Work started on the brand new route, Shoemaker Canyon Road, in 1956, performed primarily by jail inmates, therefore the native nickname of “Convict Road.” The progress was gradual, and solely 5 miles of the proposed 25 mile street was completed by the point work was deserted in 1969, leaving the appropriately named “Highway to Nowhere.” The freeway by no means made it to the bridge, however you can still check it out on the drive (to or back from) the bridge hike.

When Is The Best Time to Hike the Bridge to Nowhere?

You can just about do that hike any time of the yr, however there are some things to be careful for.

If there have been heavy rains in Southern California and/or it’s winter, the San Gabriel River may be flooded. You have to cross the river a number of occasions, and the water may be up to your waist and parts of the path lined. This shouldn’t be a really enjoyable expertise, I’d do the hike one other day.

If there’s any probability of thunderstorms or heavy rain in your hike day, there may be flash floods, and also you’ll need to postpone. People have died in flash meals right here, and also you want to take it significantly.

There’s additionally no shade on the hike, so should you go on a scorching day, it will possibly get fairly brutal. Luckily you possibly can dip into the water and funky off, however it will possibly nonetheless be fairly scorching. Leaving at dawn is an efficient wager to keep away from the warmth, crowds, and overflowing car parking zone. And you probably have canines, ensure that they’re good in warmth as effectively.

Gear for the Hike

Feet In San Gabriel River
You will get moist on this hike. You can attempt to leap throughout rocks to keep dry, however why? Embrace the water on this hike.

I’ve seen individuals do that hike with flip flops, a 12ozwater bottle, and a bluetooth speaker. Don’t do that.

As you possibly can see from the image, you are able to do this in hiking boots should you’re okay with them getting moist. Some of us carry hiking sandals or take their footwear off after they cross. Trekking poles enable you to preserve your steadiness while you cross streams.

It’s an extended hike with not a lot shade, so carry loads of water (3L) and snacks.

And if you would like to swim within the swimming pools beneath the bridge, put on a washing go well with as underwear and convey a quick-dry towel.

How to Get to the Bridge to Nowhere

You can use this trailhead tackle: Bridge to Nowhere Trailhead, Camp Bonita Rd, La Verne, CA 91750.

The Bridge to Nowhere hike trailhead is about 30 minutes north of downtown Azuza, CA. The drive is spectacular and winds its method on the aspect of San Gabriel Canyon, with the river and reservoirs beneath. The overlooks are value stopping at to soak within the views.

San Gabriel Resevoir
The drive to the trailhead is an journey in itself. Photo Boris Hansen.

Can I drive to the Bridge to Nowhere?

Not with out hiking the final 5 miles.

Parking for the Bridge to Nowhere

Fee Area Parking At Bridge To Nowhere Trail
You want a allow to park for the Bridge to Nowhere path.

The car parking zone for the Bridge to Nowhere is a charge space, and also you want to purchase a cross earlier than you arrive on the trailhead. You can use a National Parks Pass (which I extremely suggest should you hike quite a bit) or an Adventure Pass, and show it in your window. People do get tickets right here for not having passes and for parking in “no parking” zones.

If there’s no parking left within the lot, you possibly can park down on the aspect of the street. Some areas of the street are marked with “no parking” indicators, so keep away from these, however in any other case it’s open sport. I’ve seen automobiles parked for miles alongside the street. Do your self a favor and get there by dawn on the newest, or go on a weekday.

Overflow Parking At Bridge To Nowhere
It’s about 11am, and persons are parked alongside the street, a few mile from the trailhead.

Bridge to Nowhere Trail Maps

Bridge to Nowhere Hike Map Downloads

Download the Hike GPX File

View a Printable PDF Hike Map

Here’s How I Navigate The Hike

People ask me on a regular basis, so right here you go. I’ve a number of backups that you may see on my gear page, however typically I take advantage of a mixture of those instruments.

Fenix 5x Hiking Nav

Garmin Fenix Map Watch

This factor does every part: maps, GPX tracks, compass, barometer, altitude, coronary heart charge, blood oxygen, fitness monitoring, sleep monitoring, and the listing goes on. I preserve a GPX route on the watch so I can rapidly look down and ensure I’m in the precise place.

Fenix Prices & Reviews

My In-Depth Review

Gaia Gps

Gaia GPS

I load a number of forms of offline maps onto my smartphone once I want to work together with the map intimately. I additionally use it earlier than my hikes as a planning instrument for all types of issues, together with discovering free authorities land to camp on. The advantages are many, I extremely suggest it.

Gaia GPS Benefits

HikingGuy Discount

Don’t simply depend on a cellphone, particularly if you’re hiking within the backcountry.

Many guides notice that there’s about 800 toes of elevation change, which is form of correct. There’s truly about 800 toes of elevation distinction between the start and end. But there’s extra like 1900 toes of complete climbing while you consider all of the ups and downs on the path. Overall it feels typically flat with a number of brief, steep uphill sections, however add in all of the undulations and it may be extra fatiguing than you’d suppose.

Bridge To Nowhere Elevation

3d Map Of Bridge To Nowhere Hike
This hike in the course of the mountains avoids any main climbs by making it’s method up the valley. It’s nonetheless a troublesome one although.

What to Expect on the Hike

  • I’ve stated this a number of occasions earlier than, however the hike is crowded, particularly on weekends. Do your self a favor and go on a weekday or at dawn for a extra satisfying expertise.
  • The hike instructions beneath will present you all of the ins and outs of the path, however on the whole, keep on the precise financial institution of the river.
  • There’s an honest quantity of yucca and prickly crops. Some individuals put on lengthy pants (however I don’t due to the stream crossings).
  • Because there are a variety of inexperienced hikers, there are lots of people in hassle. Almost each time that I’ve performed this hike, I’ve seen some form of challenge. I carry a satellite messenger with me in case I want to textual content emergency officers. In common there isn’t any cellphone service this far up the cany0n. Things to pay attention to:
    • There may be rattlesnakes. Watch your footing.
    • Slipping on moist rocks and falling. This occurs quite a bit when of us strive to leap throughout rocks to keep dry.
    • I as soon as noticed an inexperienced hiker get helicoptered out for warmth stroke.
    • If the path peters out, or you end up on a precarious ledge, you’ve gone the flawed method. Here’s an image of two hikers who have been stranded on a ledge as a result of they weren’t paying attention on the best way again.
Stranded Hikers On East Fork Trail
Two hikers stranded on a ledge. These have been “hiker” hikers, and never bungee jumpers. Be conscious of the path, some careless activates the best way again may lead to an evacuation.
  • There are primitive bogs within the car parking zone and some minutes down the path at Heaton Flats.
  • Don’t belief the cairns that you simply see on the path. Sometimes they’re method off.
  • If you see rubbish, please decide it up and pack it out.
  • If you carry children, ensure that they will simply do 11 miles and 2000 toes of climbing. I’ve seen children of 7+ years outdated having a ball, and I’ve seen youthful children who appeared like they have been on a loss of life march. This shouldn’t be a simple hike.
  • You would possibly see (or hear) miners illegally panning for gold. There are people who live and camp out here, looking for gold. They’re used to hikers however anticipate to be given their area. Be respectful.

How To Hike To the Bridge to Nowhere

There’s something simple you can do to support these free guides!

Video Directions

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Turn-By-Turn Directions

Again, only a reminder, strive to stick to the precise aspect of the San Gabriel River, your life shall be simpler. These hike instructions will present you the best way.

Bridge To Nowhere Trailhead Parking
Head to the top of the car parking zone. There are bogs right here too.
Bridge To Nowhere Trailhead
At the top of the trailhead car parking zone you’ll see this gate, that is the path, hike by means of it.
Heaton Flats Bathroom
After a couple of minutes of hiking downhill, you’ll arrive on the Heaton Flats Campground. This is your final probability for bogs.
Heaton Flats Campground
Head straight by means of on the principle (broad) path, avoiding any aspect trails.
Heaton Flats Trail Junction
On the precise you’ll see the Heaton Flats path junction that leads to the powerful summit of Iron Mountain at 8,007 toes. Keep going straight, avoiding this path.
Heaton Flats Trail Sign
Just cross the path junction you’ll see indicators for the Sheep Mountain Wilderness. Fill out a free allow within the metallic field in entrance.
Sheep Wilderness Permit Box
After you fill out the shape, put the highest copy within the slot on the aspect of the field, and preserve the decrease copy for your self.
East Fork Trail
At the top of Heaton Flats you’ll cross by means of this gate and onto a extra regular path. The path to the Bridge to Nowhere is know because the East Fork Trail, as a result of it follows the East Fork of the San Gabriel River.
San Gabriel River Crossing
The path is straightforward to comply with, and also you’ll finally attain the primary stream crossing. Go forward and cross right here.
East Fork Trail
After crossing the stream, hike up on the path on the left financial institution.
Hikers On East Fork Trail
The path climbs up on a ridge on the left financial institution of the river.
San Gabriel River Valley
You’ll start getting some nice views of the San Gabriel River Valley right here.
Remnants Of Washed Out Bridge
The path descends to some concrete remnants of a bridge. Pass all of the bridge pilings and cross again to the precise financial institution after the final piling.
San Gabriel River Crossing
Cross the river previous the final piling, heading up the path on the opposite aspect.
Bridge To Nowhere Trail
The path is straightforward to comply with as you make your method up the precise financial institution.
Marker On Bridge To Nowhere Trail
Hikers have left a stone arrow pointing the best way for the returning hikers. Be conscious as you hike to the Bridge, noting how you’ll flip while you return.
Bridge To Nowhere Trail
The path continues on and is straightforward to comply with. More nice views await.
Climb On Bridge To Nowhere Trail
Okay, that is difficult. Instead of crossing the river right here, head up the rocks on the precise.
East Fork Trail
Once you climb the rocks, the path continues straight. Avoid the aspect trails down to the river and proceed straight and upstream.
Bridge To Nowhere Trail
You’ll undergo this wash space. The path splits aside and comes again collectively fairly a bit, and this occurs in different places as effectively. Try to take the trail most worn, and once more, if the path peters out, flip round, retrace your steps to the final break up, and check out one other method.
East Fork Trail
Eventually the path turns into effectively outlined once more. This sample will repeat itself as you proceed.
Moon Over San Gabriel Valley
Hopefully the crowds aren’t so unhealthy and you’ll benefit from the magnificence round you. The hike alongside the valley affords some nice surroundings.
Trail Along River
Here’s one other difficult space. Instead of crossing the the river, undergo the boulders on the precise financial institution to proceed.
Bridge Into Sheep Wilderness
Cross Laurel Gulch on the John Seals Bridge, created by the volunteers of the San Gabriel Mountain Trailbuilders. The bridge was airlifted here with a helicopter.
Cris Hazzard With Sheep Mountain Wilderness Sign
Once you cross the bridge you’ll enter the Sheep Mountain Wilderness, which you wanted the allow for.
East Fork Trail
This part of the East Fork Trail has some rocky sections. Just take your time.
East Fork Trail
Continue on the East Fork Trail with some ups and downs.
San Gabriel River Crossing
Okay, right here’s your subsequent river crossing. The simplest way to do that is simply stroll up the stream to the bend, then head again on the precise aspect, in search of a single switchback that takes you up above the stream on the precise financial institution, roughly the place the upper arrow is right here. It’s straightforward to miss until you understand what you’re in search of.
East Fork Trail
The path will start to climb increased up on the precise financial institution.
East Fork Trail
Eventually the East Fork Trail heads down right into a wash. There are a variety of little splits right here.
San Gabriel River Crossing
Okay, right here’s the final set of river crossings. Cross while you arrive on the river and proceed on the path.
East Fork Trail
There’s a effectively established path on the left financial institution right here, however the crossings upstream generally is a ache. A minute or so after the final crossing, veer proper at this junction to cross again to the precise aspect of the river immediately.
San Gabriel River Crossing
The path winds it’s method down to the river financial institution.
San Gabriel River Crossing
Cross the river for the final time and proceed upstream on the path.
Trail To Bridge To Nowhere
The East Fork path makes its method up a wash space.
Trail To Bridge To Nowhere
Keep your eyes open for this path break up. you’ll see the path off and up to the precise climbing onto the ridge. That’s the place you’re going. There are a number of splits and methods to stand up, however you want to stand up there.
East Fork Trail
Once you’re up on the ridge, the path could be very straightforward to comply with. Keep hiking straight.
Private Property Sign At The Bridge To Nowhere
You’ll see an indication letting you understand that you simply’re coming into personal property (owned by the bungee leaping firm). Again, be respectful and grateful that they permit hikers right here.
Bridge To Nowhere
Here you might be! Arriving on the bridge shouldn’t be so spectacular. You’ll have to go throughout it for the views.
Bridge To Nowhere Bungee Jumping
I bought right here early after they have been organising the bungee leaping (on the precise). They’ve designated an space for hikers to safely cross on the left. Again, you won’t take pleasure in that that is right here, however please be respectful of the realm and enterprise. Also, discover that the bridge is decrease on the precise aspect. Why? I don’t know.
San Gabriel River Gorge
Check out the gorge from the highest of the bridge. The swimming holes are down there.
Trails Around Bridge To Nowhere
Continue over the bridge and down the path for views of the bridge and to climb down to the watering holes. The path may be free and steep right here, watch out. You can even proceed on the higher ridge to an deserted tunnel. Some of us camp tbere.
Cris Hazzard At Bridge To Nowhere
Grab your photos of the bridge, after which proceed again the best way you got here. should you get right here early, you would possibly even see some bighorn sheep on the hills above you.
San Gabriel River Valley
After you’re performed with the bridge, merely head again the best way you got here.  And once more, pay attention as you go, it’s straightforward to take a flawed flip should you’re motoring forward on autopilot.

Bridge to Nowhere Bungee Jumping

The Bridge to Nowhere can also be residence to Southern California’s solely commercially licensed bungee leaping choice. The bungee leaping has been round since 1989 (the oldest within the USA), and the attraction has been featured in tons of movies, commercials, and even has some world records. For $99 you possibly can hurl your self off the Bridge to Nowhere into the abyss.

You is perhaps asking your self, “how is there a commercial bungee jumping operation in the middle of the Sheep Mountain Wilderness?” Well, the proprietor of the bungee leaping operation purchased the land from personal homeowners who owned the land as a gold mining declare. It seems that the bridge was constructed within the declare space. The bungee leaping operation has a bit of controversy around it, and folks have been making an attempt to shut it down for years.

Love it or hate it, it’s there. Here’s what you want to know as a hiker:

  • Parking will get full as a result of it’s not only for hikers, it’s for bungee jumpers too. There’s no method to drive to the Bridge to Nowhere.
  • You will see individuals on the path who’re inexperienced and generally ill-prepared. Do your finest to be form, empathetic, and useful. They have as a lot a proper to be right here as we do.
  • If the bungee leaping is working while you get there, they’ll be blaring music. This half is all the time the hardest for me to deal with, however simply shift your focus to the surrealism of it and it’ll be okay.
  • Be respectful of the bungee leaping enterprise and cross on the a part of the bridge marked for hikers. Remember, you might be on personal property that the homeowners permit hikers to take pleasure in.
    Private Property Sign At The Bridge To Nowhere
    Here’s the signal that permits you to know you’re coming into personal property.

If you’d like to bungee leap, you can make reservations and learn more at the Bungee America website. I’ve by no means performed it, however of us like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Carey have, so that you’ll be in good firm.

Did one thing change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I’ll replace the information.

If you see trash on the path, please decide it up and carry it out. Be an excellent egg and apply no trace principles.

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