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Bridge to Nowhere via East Fork Trail

MODERATE 1136 reviews
#1 of 18 trails in

Bridge to Nowhere via East Fork Trail is a 8.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Azusa, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
8.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,158 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

bird watching

forest

rails trails

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bridge out

over grown

rocky

scramble

washed out

historic site

This trip takes you along the banks of the east fork of the San Gabriel River. While the river banks are wooded and quite lovely, most of the trail traverses the rim above the high water line and most of your travel is through scrub brush. The highlight of the hike is a mysterious bridge built over the east fork in 1936, which has no road leading to it. Actually, in the 1930's a road did lead to it, but was swept away by floods in 1938. There are some small trails that lead down to the stream just after you cross the bridge. This is a stunning setting with shear pink tinted granite walls, roaring cascades, and the lovely bridge in the background. Route can be a bit challenging with many day use trails mixed in with the main trail, washed out sections of trail, and over a half dozen stream crossings (bring waterproof boots even when the water is low). There are many swimming holes. The trail along the East Fork of the San Gabriel River to the Bridge to Nowhere is not only one of the best trails in the San Gabriel Mountains, but it's also one of the most unique hiking experiences you'll ever have. After you leave the crowded (and overused) trailhead area, you will increasingly find yourself awed by the rugged canyons deep in the Sheep Mountain Wilderness. Multiple river crossings and shaded glens await you on this trek, with the final destination a 130-foot concrete span bridge leftover from an attempt to build a road north through the canyon. Most of the road is gone now, but the bridge still stands - and is full of bungee jumpers on the weekends. A short trail down from the bridge leads to some top-notch swimming holes, making this a perfect hike on a hot, summer day. Plan on getting your feet wet and bring bug repellent.

25 days ago

25 days ago

We did this trail yesterday and I will never forget the unique experience. After doing many mountain lake trails I never had done one like this where you had to fight your way through multiple river crossings in powerful, waist-deep, cold, relentless water. Forget water-proof boots every one doing this trail has to go with the mind-set that you will get soaked many times in order to complete the trail.
The trail is long and follows the San Gabriel River crossing it at least six times each way. The trail is not defined well so it's hard to make out in some areas and you might find yourself doing unnecessary crossings. Be careful even where it doesn't look that strong it can surprise you and knock you over. Overall it was a great experience I would just be more prepared wear shorts, pack lightly, and take extra socks for afterwards.

hiking
29 days ago

Did the hike on a rainy day, it was phenomenal, stress-relieving and one of my best experience in terms of hiking. Yes you need waterproof boots and be safe out there crossing over water streams

hiking
washed out
30 days ago

Went up to the east fork yesterday. Was a little disappointed when my wife and I could not cross the river due to raging river waters. Got about half a mile in from the parking lot and got stopped at the end of the trail where we met a nice couple, panning for gold.
Not sure why there is no type of bridge or cable to cross here but we decided to turn around and hike back instead of testing our luck. The river is high, brown and moving very fast today.
Just a heads up it looked like there are a couple rough sleepers camping in semi permanent structures at the first campground. On the way back we had a hiker mention he was investigating a possible alternative route and had a pistol pulled on him because he had got too close to a mans shelter. BUMMER!
We will be back in a few weeks to try again. Gotta see this bridge!

hiking
1 month ago

I hiked this trail back in late August of 2018 and it was my motivation for running my first half marathon. I enjoyed this hike considering I hadn’t hiked for anything longer than 6/7 miles. Take it easy and take breaks if you need to. There is an option for bungee jumping at the bridge, but plan in advance for that. Other than that, very enjoyable.

hiking
1 month ago

I am so bummed that we were unable to complete this hike. We barely did any of it. With all the rains the water crossings were impossible for me (a girl of about 135lbs, experienced hiker) to cross. The currents were just way to forceful and high with all the rain. Attempted twice. Was over knee level. We intend to go back and try it again in a few months. Looking forward to it as it was just beautiful. Reminder, you need an Adventure Pass or you will get a ticket. Parking is very limited.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice Friday hike, beyond the first mile we only saw one other hiker. A loping easy grade, though I DO feel the 10 miles, with the sound of crystal clear water the whole way, yucca gardens, everything from wide open gravel flats to narrow shaded slots, and the occasional view of snow up on high. We did see some of the semi-permanent looking tents along the way (4 or 5), not unfriendly, but also probably panning for gold and a little wary of strangers. They also seem to leave little cachès around, we saw fresh bear tracks around a ransacked little pile of tuna cans. Water crossings not bad, I have leaky boots, so just took a towel and barefooted across. There are some narrow spots where you scramble a little over bumps in the canyon wall. Check out Waypoint for mile 3.52...we were lured by the use-trails and leftover part of the road, but we were able to clamber down OK and it DID mean we skipped a couple of the water crossings (on our return we opted for the water).

1 month ago

Great hike, 11.2 out and back and back. Water crossings weren't bad. Very enjoyable experience.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was a lot of fun! We got to the trail a little late, around 10 am on a Sunday, and it was pretty packed. No homeless people were there like some other reviews mentioned so that was a plus. To me personally, the scenery was absolutely stunning! The canyon is a trip to be in, and the river is absolutely gorgeous. We probably crossed the river a dozen or so times, so getting wet is inevitable. If you stay on the right side of the trail when going in, you’ll avoid the water more than going on the left side. The bridge is cool, a little underwhelming in my opinion but the hike itself made up for it. This was probably more on the difficult side of moderate, as we recorded about 10 miles total there and back. The weather made it even more perfect as well!

Great trail, made for a wonderful day. We went after a rain so be prepared to get wet if you do (4 crossings to/fro; 8 total). Not as many bums/homeless as mentioned in other reviews, couple of tents hidden at the start of trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Easy hike, mostly flat with little climbing involved. My Fitbit measured it to be 11.3 miles in total. You’ll definitely get wet when crossing the River a few times, so bring water shoes or a change of shoes/socks. Water was up to my ankles in early Jan. Took us about 5 hours in total.

hiking
2 months ago

it was one heck of an adventure.
from beginning to end, crossing the stream and climbing over rocks. definitely not for beginners as I heard a lot of people complain lol and short of breath.

hiking
2 months ago

I am visiting from the east coast and decided to give this hike a try. Pretty solid overall and the many stream crossings kept it interesting. I completed it in just under 4 hours with a short break at the bridge for pics. It is difficult to follow the trail at times but rather easy to get back on point. The trail notes in AllTrails were very helpful.

My garmin had it at 10.24 miles.

One oddity is the number of homeless that seem to make the trail home. There appears to be a rather large camp close to the beginning and then I saw a couple more along the way, including upon my return own actually had a fire going. It just seems like there is lots that could go wrong and I am not sure why the rangers allow it.

4 stars for a great hike but the homeless and lack of trail markers keep it from a 5 for me.

Enjoy!

2 months ago

Beautiful trail with ever changing landscape. Only 4 stars because all the homeless people camped out is a little unnerving for people hiking alone. While we had no issue, it was the first time I’d experienced a trail with people living on it.

hiking
2 months ago

I absolutely loved this hike!
Beware of the advice and notes on this trail however, it is probably inaccurate. It rained a little bit a week or two ago (we aren't in the throws of our biggest rains yet), and the river and trail has moved by sheer force of nature. It is evident that this trail changes, constantly.
This is good and bad, it's a new adventure; but it also means to be prepared for something new.
The river was full and we had to cross the river in places where in now hugs the cliffs, and the water was so deep that I think in only one place were we able to stay dry.... prepare to have wet socks at least when the rainy season starts.
The grade is easy, so it's a moderate hike despite the distance. There are a lot of yucca around and on the trail, so also prepare to get poked, a mild ouch.

3 months ago

this hike kicked our butt we measured it with Strava at 11.2 miles round trip had to cross the river six to eight times each Direction there's five or six spots that are pretty treacherous if you don't pay attention and the cactuses or yuccas are sprouting and we got stabbed about six times so be careful and you're going to get wet there's just no way around it cuz the water is up so in my opinion you're better off walking across the river then trying to balance yourself on the rocks overall a very challenging hike it took us six hours and 45 minutes but we took our time I don't recommend it for beginners but if you're in shape give it a go

hiking
3 months ago

Creds. AllTrails Pro - amazed people hike with out Pro version. Pro version bulletproof for not getting lost. Extremely easy to get lost on this trail without Pro version. Only $30 annually and no internet required. There is no internet service when you enter the Angeles National Forest. Yes trying to make a point.

10.4 mi, 1,699’ El Gain, 4:45 minutes travel time.

Adventure Pass required. $5 one time or $29 annually (the one I have)

Parked 8:am Saturday 8 Dec 2018. Gorgeous day with significant flowing river %85 of trail from rain 2 days ago. Expect to cross river 3 to 4 times getting wet up to knees (I’m 5’8).

Definitely doing this hike again!

hiking
3 months ago

Really fun hike! Has lots of great scenery and it's definitely a place I am going to go back to since we never got to finish it. I recommend for anyone to keep on checking your app/map to make sure you are going on the right path, it can get very confusing at times since a lot of the recent rain has washed away quiet a bit of the trail and the main big trail is blocked off from rock slides.

hiking
3 months ago

It was a very fun hike with beautiful views of the river and surrounding mountains. You do have to cross the river a couple of time which might result in you getting wet. The bridge is really nice and you’re allowed to walk on it and underneath, they also offer bungee jumping for $120 if you’re feeling spontaneous

3 months ago

Beutiful hike, very fun. Most of it is shade, there is a lot of water so bring boots. You do need a day pass ($5).

hiking
3 months ago

Very crowded!! People let their dogs take a shit and they don’t pick up.

hiking
3 months ago

Great intermediate hike. Recent rains made the trail a little hard to follow sometimes because of wash out and falling rocks / debris in a couple places. Tip of staying on main trail going in, keep the cliff to your right and stay as close to it as you can. Bungee jumping at the end!

3 months ago

Beautiful hike with lots of water to cross depending on the time of the year. Recommend to bring lots of water and snacks to make the whole trip.

hiking
3 months ago

I loved this hike. A little crazy because we lost the trail for a while but a totally fun adventure.

3 months ago

Did this hike ten years ago when I was in terrible shape, and it kicked my butt. I'm in far better shape now, and it still kicked my butt. There's not a lot of elevation gain overall, but there is A LOT of climbing up and down steep slopes, balancing on logs, hoping across rocks and wading through water. Ten miles of that not only adds time to the hike, but wears down muscles that may only be used to hiking flatter surfaces.

On the plus side, it's one of the few hikes in the San Gabriels that still has ample running water in the river at this time of year. That, added to the fact that much of the hike is shaded (not all, wear a hat and sunscreen), made the hike fun and picturesque.

There are big horn sheep to be seen here, though I didn't see any this time around.

In addition to the sheep, you will see: a lot of gold prospectors...a lot, lots and lots and lots of people, which is surprising considering the length of the hike, and a bunch of happy, friendly faces because it's such a fun hike.

In relation to other All Trails and Yelp reviews, we made good time at four and a half hours. Point being, you'll need to bring plenty to eat and extra water, particularly on hot days.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike to enjoy with friends.

3 months ago

Easy and fun - 5 hour round trip

hiking
4 months ago

The trail isn’t clearly marked, parts of trail washed out or eroded and you need to cross over water a few times which make it more difficult at times. Walking stick recommended for steep areas and crossing the water. Keep a lookout for the bighorn sheep.

4 months ago

Really enjoyed this hike. Probably my favorite one I have done. But like others have said, it is at least 11 miles long. And since I am relatively clumsy, I decided to walk through the river instead of trying to cross on the rocks or downed branches/logs and walked in wet shoes and socks for most of those 11 miles. Still worth it and highly recommend it.

4 months ago

Love it. Plan for 7 hours to the Bridge and back to parking. >11 miles not 8.9 as stated on All Trails.

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