Shoemaker Canyon Road, East Fork San Gabriel River

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Angeles National Forest

Shoemaker Canyon Road, East Fork San Gabriel River is a 5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Azusa, California that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, horses, and mountain biking and is best used from September until May. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 5.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1,404 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

views

no shade

Interesting Road to Nowhere, two abandoned tunnels, chaparral, nice canyon views In the early days of the Cold War in the late 1950's, our government decided that L.A. needed an escape route in case of a nuclear attack. Building Shoemaker Canyon Road was the supposed solution. But they soon abandoned this ill-conceived project, leaving a "road to nowhere" and nasty scares in some of the most rugged and beautiful terrain in the San Gabriels. Today, this well-graded dirt road penetrates several miles up the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, on the east-facing slope hundreds of feet above the water. And then it ends. No glamorous destination. The road just stops abruptly in the thick brush on a steep mountainside. The hike begins at the locked gate and proceeds up the road about 2.5 miles, passing through two long road tunnels in route. At the end of the second tunnel is where the maintained road ends. Unless you're wearing long pants and prepared for bushwhacking for another half mile, this is where you'll want to turn around and head home.

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
7 days ago

Great trail and nice shady tunnels to take breaks in. However, rocks were too rocky and snakes too snakey.

7 days ago

Really good hike. No shade though. Lots of lizards. Saw a snake. The tunnels are cool! Flashlights aren't all that necessary for the tunnels. They aren't that long and the light from the other end illuminates the inside enough to see where you are going. Love the history of this trail.

No shade at all. Way too many lizards. Even saw a snake. Watch out & be safe.

hiking
bugs
no shade
16 days ago

Hiked next to 2 bee farms which was scary... saw about 10 people on the trail. Got to the first tunnel and were warned not to go to the second tunnel because it was swarmed by bees! The first tunnel was very long though and had cool graffiti art all over it! I think the hike is about 5 miles long out and back and it has an elevation gain was 1400. Beautiful views and plants everywhere :) but too many bugs and snaked out there! Here is a youtube video of the hike: https://youtu.be/kPnyP_LFLEk

bugs
2 months ago

Great trail. Interesting and great for the dogs.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is mostly fun because of the spooky tunnels! The views are ok, but the tunnels are a strange and unique thing to encounter. Bring a headlamp, although the tunnels are short enough that daylight reaches to the middle. The trail ends after the second tunnel. It’s all uphill, but the grade is very gentle.

It was a nice easy hike. Hike in/out was a bit boring because of the fire road, but worth the fun exploring the cool old tunnels. Worth a visit!

hiking
bugs
no shade
2 months ago

3 months ago

loved it like always! wind can be strong otherwise beautiful hike. the tunnels are intresting. Be courteous, respectful, cautious.

3 months ago

Such a beautiful and easy hike. I'm amazed how few people were there. A hidden gem for sure

Great Hike but no signal to record anything accurately. Took our time on this trail and finished with some tacos and margaritas! Ended up being about 5 miles I believe total.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful trail.. plenty of parking when we went.. only a 3 sets of hikers seen on the entire trail... some muddy areas due to snow melting.

hiking
8 months ago

The Road to Nowhere... Cold War era leaders determined Los Angeles residents needed an escape route through the San Gabriel Mountains in case of a nuclear attack. So construction work began on Shoemaker Canyon Road above Azusa in 1956, but only four miles was finished and work officially stopped in 1969. Now we get to hike it!

Great trail for views, geology, and tunnels. Not hard, as the trail is a road all the way thru the 2nd tunnel. Afterwards went down to camp Williams for a cold drink.

hiking
no shade
10 months ago

Nice hike but beware, I had my truck broken into while out hiking this trail. Also be careful at the end of the second tunnel there were bees making a nest inside the tunnel on the left side.

hiking
Sat Jan 19 2019

I LOVE IT! Great trail!

hiking
Sat Nov 17 2018

Pretty hike! The directions take you all the way to parking and the entrance gate. You will pass two tunnels and shortly after reach a dead end. Kind of creepy! Easy hike!

hiking
Mon Oct 15 2018

This place has marked my first trail I found and used using AllTrails. It has so much history around it and the memories I made hiking around this area will stick with me forever. Me and a friend came here at such a perfect moment where it was chilly but not too unbearable to climb around the beautiful scenery. If you plan on coming here when it's cold, would highly recommend what I did and bring a thermo of hot tea or coco. <3

hiking
Wed Oct 10 2018

Saw a creepy circle with a star in it looked like made with salt as you entered the first tunnel. Found a cool picnic spot with lots of shade on the left. There is what looks like a trail going somewhere off when u follow it there’s lots of trees and shade. See my recordings for exact trail for that. Basic fire road trail not much exploration or adventure in comparison to bridge to nowhere. *bridge to nowhere go-ers* kinda cool to look at the hike from so high. Wish there would have been a secret connecting trail but there wasn’t.

Mon Sep 10 2018

this hike was pretty much a Fire Road the whole way and not a lot of shade until you get into the tunnels but the up and back was almost 7 miles but very peaceful

Mon Sep 10 2018

this hike was pretty much a fire Road the whole way steady incline but not real steep not a lot of shade until you get into the tunnels and the views are pretty good but this hike was just under 7 miles round trip

Fri Sep 07 2018

this hike was a fire road all the way up to the second tunnel a gradual incline and not a lot of visual around and the trip was 7 Mi round trip not five like this app says but it was a fun hike none the less

hiking
Sun May 27 2018

I went here today 5/26/2018. This is the best day to go because it was cloudy, I won't recommend to go during summer time unless, to be there really early before the sun hits.There's no shade at all-not until you reach the first tunnel. We did about 3 hours. 2hrs going up and 1hr going down. Beautiful scenery,very interesting tunnels even more the history of it. It was mostly flat but some downhill and steep climbs. I would love to explore more of the San Gabriel Mountains I would like to go farther until I reach the bridge to nowhere. Until the next hiking. ☺

hiking
Sat May 12 2018

This was a great short hike. It was raining in Azusa today but fortunately when we got to the trailhead it stopped raining. It's uphill most of the time but still pretty easy. The tunnels are so interesting but extremely dark so make sure you have a headlight or flashlight. It was also very lonely so I would recommend going in a group just as a precaution. Don't forget a parking pass!

Sat Apr 21 2018

Hot bring lots of water leave early. Uphill most of the way to the tunnels great hike also sunscreen is a must

Fri Mar 30 2018

Beautiful views & one of the quieter places to hike in L.A. without hoardes of people, road noise, or litter. The people we did encounter were very friendly. We went early March after a dry winter so the grass & flowers are just getting their heads out.

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