The Bridge to Nowhere is located in Azusa, California nestled in the San Gabriel mountains. After hiking this trail, I felt compelled to learn more about how the bridge came to be. While hiking we would come across chunks of concrete road but I still couldn’t picture how a road would have gone through there. I needed to learn more about it’s history. So I took to the inter webs to do a little recon and found that the bridge was built in 1936. The East Fork road was actually under construction when the great Los Angeles flood of 1938 washed out most of the connecting roads. It is sad to learn that the bridge was still a baby when the flood stopped people from continuing to use it.
I really needed a hike to redeem myself after the the last anticlimactic hike where I didn’t make it to the end. Spoiler alert! I am glad to say that I did redeem myself on this hike! 🙂
This hike is rated moderate as it is pretty lengthy and there are a few scrambles and a bit of an incline here and there. According to my phone it took us roughly 6 hours, 23,446 steps, and 45 flights of stairs to complete this 10.1 mile out and back hike.
The parking lot was pretty easy to find if you pay attention to the signs. 😉 There are several restrooms along the way, including one in the parking lot. There is a free permit box in the parking lot which was actually completely empty by the time we got there at 7:30 am.
Today I brought a couple of new faces for this hike! Kirsten, Ashley, and I started out walking down a dirt road for a bit before we reached a campground with the trail map and the trail head. We took the East Fork Trail to the Bridge to Nowhere which follows the San Gabriel river through the mountain.
I struggle to find the best words to describe this hike because amazing doesn’t quite cover it. While my photos can give you an idea of how gorgeous this place is, they don’t truly do it justice. The in the moment being there awe of it all was a very humbling.
The water was so clear, blue even at times, and the air was crisp and cool among the trees. We had a wonderful time walking slowly so that we could stop to take pictures and take in the brilliance of all that was around us.
Parts of the river had little fish swimming around. Above is Fynn catching some sun.
This hike was rather interesting as we found ourselves in what felt like a forest and then we would come out of the trees to a desert like open area. These scenery changes gave us a good mixture of shade and sun.
The picture above with the log is a daddy-longlegs spider that had just crawled across the log and then flattened out to show us just how long his legs truly were. After spotting the spider we discussed how they are poisonous. I just looked this up and found it to be a complete myth. Oops!
Spiders are the stuff of my nightmares but I took the pictures anyway! Bully for me!
The picture of a small portion of the trail above is the section of trail I like to call pokes a lot way. It’s the way to go but chances are you will be poked a lot! Those plants are very strong and very pokey! Someone has actually trimmed some of them so that they don’t overtake path, but I can’t walk straight to save my life so I found myself running into them quite a bit.
I found a cute rock shaped like a heart and a pre-made rock tower. They were too perfect not to take photograph.
There were camp sites quite a ways back into the mountains away from all of the regular campgrounds. It was actually really cool to see people camping my the river out in the middle of the beautiful wooded area. Our hike started before any of the campers were awake, so we tried to be as quiet as possible when we encountered tents close to the trail.
There were so many neat looking rocks on this hike; rocks of different shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. I even picked up a couple of the smaller ones from the river and stuck them in my backpack.
There is about a mile of the trail that was crawling with Alligator lizards in the morning! I have never seen so many in one day. At one point two of the lizards were wrestling with one another. While we watched them tumble out onto the trail they tumbled directly for Ashley’s feet! After her rather impressive tap dance they were back off the trail and we were on our way again. Nothing like a lizard brawl to get your heart pumping and wake you up. Take that coffee!
You need to cross the river several times during this hike. Sometimes there is a log to use as a bridge other times there are rocks. Pictured above is one of the river crossings. I have waterproof hiking shoes that are ankle high. Water into my shoe was unavoidable at certain crossings, so I went with it and had soggy shoes for a bit. Honestly though, the cool water on my feet felt really good.
Above is one of the scrambles that we went up. Nothing compared to Black Star Canyon! 😉
Part of the greatness that this hike offered was the ability to see critters of all kinds along the way. Above you will see some of the critters we experienced on this hike including a very friendly two year old German Shepard named Brutus who’s owner was nice enough to let me take his picture.
This is about where I started to get very excited! There was a building in site and the rising anticipation of finally reaching the bridge had been building up in me for the last mile. The last mile had a pretty decent incline and I found myself pretending to not be afraid of heights as there were several narrow trails to walk overlooking very intense drops to the river bed. It was in that last mile that I had to keep pushing myself and telling myself that I could make it. Kirsten and Ashley’s pace and trudge on attitude really helped me get out of my own head and just flat out get there. Thank you ladies!
It took us 3 1/2 hours and 4.2 miles to get to the bridge. Once there we walked to the opposite side of the bridge and followed a rather sketchy path down the mountain side to the swimming holes at the bottom. Several people were there already enjoying the beautiful blue water, including my friend Brutus and his family.
We found a great spot away from everyone in the shade of a very comfy rock formation. We stopped here for quite a while enjoying the view of the water and bridge in front of us while we happily ate our lunch.
Above is the view from my lunch spot. Below is me in one of the swimming holes. The water was pretty deep in the middle. If I had taken another step or two forward the water would have been above my chest.
I use the AllTrails app to find my hikes and to learn about them before I go. One of the things I enjoy doing is reading the comments from fellow hikers so that I know what I am getting myself into. I had read several comments saying to make sure you look up when hiking this trail so that you can see the bighorn sheep that like to play along the mountain side. If I had a dollar for every time I looked up to try to see these darn bighorns and didn’t I would be able to pay off my car! If you watched my video earlier, you know that I did in fact see them! I had actually given up all hope of seeing them because we were already a mile or so into the trek back. A nice man stopped us to make sure we looked up and there they were! A cute little family of bighorn sheep! It was so cool! One of them even looked at us while we took pictures. All of the stops we took led up to this wonderful moment of being able to see these sheep! Our timing was absolutely perfect.
I highly recommend this hike to everyone of all skill levels. Get there as early as possible so that you can find a spot in the parking lot. If you are going during the hot season, the earlier you get there the more hours of cool weather you will experience for your hike. Bring a lot of water. I drank all four of the bottles I brought. The fourth one I finished pretty close to the end of it so it worked out great. It was a very good thing that I had a cooler in the my car with three more cold bottles of water.
I will for sure be back to this one! I think the next time I go will be in the Spring. I am interested to see how the trails look in the spring and can’t wait to see how much the water levels change.