Shoemaker Canyon Road, East Fork San Gabriel River

MODERATE 44 reviews
#41 of 200 trails in

Shoemaker Canyon Road, East Fork San Gabriel River is a 5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Azusa, California 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.

5.0 miles
1,404 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly


horseback riding

mountain biking

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.

2 months ago

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. ☺

3 months ago

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!

3 months ago

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

4 months ago

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.

5 months ago

Great hike. Very few people use this trail during the week, so it's very peaceful. The tunnels are cool and make this hike different than other Southern California hikes. Trail is good condition. Lots of beautiful scenery. I would definitely recommend this hike.

6 months ago

I followed a trail that continued way past the tunnels. I turned back at 3.2 miles from the gate, but interested in where it leads. Would also like to hike Rattlesnake Peak.

It was 80 degrees and beautiful. It must be miserable in the summer.

7 months ago

Hiked this trail on a partly cloudy weekend afternoon. Nice views. Not a lot of people. Bring some water as it is an incline at times. Really rocky bring sturdy comfortable shoes. Bring a flashlight as the inside of the tunnels are really dark and u need a good flashlight to check out the art and for a sense of comfort as I kept clutching my flashlight hoping the boogeyman wouldn’t jump out to get me haha. I somehow thought this trail would lead to the bridge to nowhere but it only lead to the tunnels to nowhere. Super cool experience though.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Note: The elevation gain listed on this page appears to be way off. I extended this hike by 1.1 miles and only recorded 1,762 feet gain with the AllTrails app.

Despite its uneventful destination, this hike offers great views of Mt. Baldy, Iron Mountain, and other nearby peaks. There's no shade other than the two tunnels, so bring a hat and at least 1 litter of water if you come on a hot day.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Been hiking for years. I always come to this trail whenever I make the trip back home.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

This trail got me back on hiking its a good somewhat easy one. I did it in 90 degree weather finished 3 bottles of water by the time I hit tunnel 2.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Beautiful hike the yellow foliage aroma is wonderful added to the beauty of the canyon

mountain biking
Thursday, October 06, 2016

Fun trail to go up on with my bike and lots of Beautiful views. found this spot where someone made a heart shaped fire pit to the left of the trail when you go pass first marker. 2 tunnels with no light but you can see out the other side, when you out of 2nd one raid turns to trail on side of mountain over looking bridge to nowhere at the end. it's all up hill so be ready for legs to burn If on a bike lol

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Is a fire road,really nice to get to the tunnels. After the tunnel is a little trail really hard trail. You can this trail for 2 miles until and really enjoy it this day. I need a lot of water it's not shade so bring hat.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

All up hill and very sunny don't forget to take a hat. Also lots of bees.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Overlooking the bridge to no where trail this "road" is pretty basic. Im just not a fan of hiking on dirt roads. However, when we went the road was loaded with yellow desert flowers that smelled amazing.

Monday, March 28, 2016

went there today for a quick hike. it was a nice stroll through the LA forest. lots of mosquitoes towards the end and once the sun goes down. graffiti in the tunnel is always a sad thing to see, but none the less a great hike.. A hiker said they looped around to rattle snake canyon and back through shoemaker trail. I found the trail at the end and followed it for a bit but it was late and had to turn back.. I will return! ps. take lots of water.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Nice little hike. To some pretty cool old nuclear shelter tunnels. Only takes a hour or less to get there have fun be safe

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Easy hike, great views and the tunnels are cool.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Two of my girlfriends cancelled going to the East Fork Trail (Bridge to Nowhere) and my girlfriend needed me to watch her daughter so I changed my plans. Me and Marlene (6 years old) hiked the six (6) miles up to Shoemaker Trail. It was an easy walk and a great way to get your exercise. All together, we had a very nice day.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Was a hot hike. I took it to the very end. It was sorta spooky because its not a very high traffic area. The high walls really make you feel isolated. There are no huge water sources on this trail. Bring lots of water. The end was neat. I found it interesting the history behind the tunnels and how the last tunnel goes to nowhere. The tunnel is long and dark. But the words "LOVE" are found in mosaic tile along the wall. Which was nice to see. It was an interesting hike but not one that I would do over and over.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hiking guide indicated this trail was 2 miles, one way, from the trail head to the end of the 2nd tunnel. Took just over an hour to cover the distance. The trail is a dirt road, similar to a fire road. Very easy and obvious trail. The tunnels were awesome. I really enjoyed the hike in the cool of January. Temp was 49 when I started and 56 when I got back to my car. Not sure I'd attempt this in the heat of summer, though.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

When you first turn on to Shoemaker, about a 1/4 or a mile down the road there is a turnout to your left. Pull over here and hike down the hill for a cool little cave through the mountain if you have time. There is graffiti and trash sometimes but the cave itself is cool. Make sure to bring a headlamp.

Monday, August 01, 2011

We did this hike in the late afternoon in the dead of summer, so it was pretty hot going up the trail with a slow steady incline. Bring lots of water. The hike goes by two sections of maintained bee hives, so be careful. We did not get stung. We really enjoyed exploring the two tunnels that were built in the 60s but later abandoned. We had a headlamp which was helpful to look at the graffiti on the walls of the tunnels and to spot piles of droppings on the ground. Those droppings inspired us to look up to see many mud bird nests and even a little group of baby bats on the roof of the tunnel! We loved that. At the end of the second tunnel there is a swarm of bees to the left of the opening, so watch out. The views from the trail are pretty nice, and I would think even better when there is snow on the peaks. Wildlife: flowers, bees, harmless snake, momma deer and this year's sproinging fawn, bats, birds, little yellow butterflies. We saw no people on the trail, but we did meet some Bud Lite drinkers in the parking lot. All in all, a great hike for a Sunday.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Did this trail early this afternoon on mountain bikes . It was beautiful. One of the more fun days I've had in a's tough going up but really fun going down. The tunnels are awesome. Someone left a Tupperware which had a notepad, a .40 bullet and some random other random junk. Seems people have been leaving little notes since late last year. Anyway, it was a cool trail. Ready to do another. Came across a couple of bee harvester (?) guys and warned us about them but nothing too bad.some taggin which makes me question what kind of losers do a beautiful hike and do graffiti . Anyway, have fun.. And oh yeah came across a rattlesnake and I accidentally ran over it. I didn't even know it was a snake until it was too late so be careful :)

10 days ago

2 months ago

recorded good flowers in late May

2 months ago

4 months ago

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