I’ve wanted to hike to the Bridge to Nowhere for a while now, but the timing never worked out. Finally, around Christmas, we had a chance. Unlike many hikes in the Los Angeles area, there isn’t a lot of vertical. That doesn’t mean it’s not challenging because it is. You’ll cross streams and find yourself climbing up rocks and through rock beds. If there is any hike that I would have a good pair of shoes and socks; it’s this one.
Total Distance: 10 miles
Total Vertical: 1200 feet
About the Bridge to Nowhere:
The Bridge to Nowhere was once a bridge that actually went somewhere. It was created in 1929 to connect San Gabriel Valley and Wrightwood. The Bridge to Nowhere was built in 1936. There was major flooding in the San Gabriel River just two years later, which washed the road away. The bridge still stood (and still stands).
In the 1950s, during the cold war, the government decided it might be good to evacuate people from Los Angeles to the Mojave Desert. The Bridge to Nowhere was revitalized. However, it proved futile, and the road never made it there. You’ll be able to see the remains of the road during the hike.
When is the best time to hike the Bridge to Nowhere?
Unlike many other higher elevation hikes, the Bridge to Nowhere can be done year-round without worry of snow. A few things to keep in mind is there are stream crossings, and the San Gabriel River can flood. If there has been heavy rain recently, I would advise to hike another day. People have died in flash floods during the hike, so it’s not a safe hike with rain or storms.
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Bridge to Nowhere Trailhead Address:
Bridge to Nowhere Trailhead, Camp Bonita Rd, La Verne, CA 91750
The Bridge to Nowhere trailhead is roughly 30 minutes north of Azuza. It’s a lot twisty mountain road, and I didn’t have cell service at all. In fact, Once we crossed out of Azuza, I didn’t have cell service until we completed the hike and came back.
You do need a permit to park at the Bridge to Nowhere. You can use a National Parks Pass or Adventure Pass displayed in your window. When I arrived on a weekday at the Bridge to Nowhere, it wasn’t too crowded. Although I’ve heard, it’s incredibly crowded on weekends.
When I looked at the Bridge to Nowhere, I saw it only had about 1200 feet of elevation. I thought it would be “easy,” and I could probably finish in about 3 hours at the most. While flat, the Bridge to Nowhere has a lot of rocks and a few stream crossings.
My experience with the Bridge to Nowhere:
As mentioned, I thought it would be a fairly easy hike. I thought I could run-hike my way through it. There were too many stream crossings and rocks to make that the best option. There are a lot of prickly plants, and of course, I cut myself on one.
I got extremely lucky on the day I went, and it wasn’t crowded because they weren’t operating the bungee jump.
A few things that make the Bridge to Nowhere Challenging:
- Stream crossings. You cross a few times, and your feet will get wet. There is no way to avoid not getting them wet.
- The rocks. It’s almost always rocky
- Minimum shade
- No cell service
We arrived around 9 am. I felt lucky the Bridge to Nowhere was not crowded at all, and I know it was extremely rare. It was roughly 40 degrees and dry and made for a good hiking day. The first half mile was a fairly flat and smooth dirt road. I thought, wow, I could make great time if it keeps this way.
Spoiler: it does not.
After going through Heaton Flats Campground, you’ll continue straight and down into the creek bed. You hike along or in the creek bed for a good portion of the Bridge to Nowhere Hike. This means it’s rocky. The Bridge to Nowhere Trail is actually called the East Fork Trail because it follows the East Fork of the San Gabriel River.
Somewhere around the first mile, you get to the first stream crossing. Your feet will get wet, so it’s doesn’t really matter if you walk through or attempt to jump from rock to rock. The water level is almost always high enough that you don’t stay dry. I was happy with my choice of the Hoka Zinal and Feetures Socks because my feet stayed safe, and I didn’t get any blisters despite having soaken wet feet. The Hokas shed water fast and didn’t become heavy.
Around the first mile, the trail comes across concrete remnants of a bridge. You’ll pass them and cross back over the stream after the last piling.
The East Fork Trail continues along, and we found ourselves climbing up some steeper rocks. Eventually, we came upon a large creek path. It was hard to follow the trail through a sea of rocks. We kept progressing straight and eventually met back up with the trail. It felt like a choose your own path forward, and you’ll probably be going the right way.
Eventually we crossed into Sheep Mountain Wilderness and into some more single-track rocky areas. We were then met with another stream crossing. This was probably the widest one, and despite any effort to keep our feet dry, we couldn’t.
We were able to make it up to the bank, and from there, the trail is easy to follow over the ridge. I thought the Bridge to Nowhere Trail would be similar to that the entire time.
About a quarter of a mile out, we saw a sign we were entering private property. The Bungee Company actually owns the Bridge to Nowhere.
Finally, you reach the Bridge to Nowhere. It’s not the “most impressive” or beautiful view. You can cross the bridge and get a good view. Once you are done admiring the views, you go back the way you came.
About the Bridge to Nowhere Bungee Jumping:
The Bridge to Nowhere Bungee Jumping is the only commercially licensed bungee jumping option in Southern California. It’s actually been around since 1989 and is the oldest bungee company in the USA. Due to its proximity to LA, it’s been in several movies, and even Ripley’s Believe it or Not. can learn more about the Bridge to Nowhere Bungee Jumping on their website.
Bridge to Nowhere Conclusion:
The Bridge to Nowhere Trail was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it. It’s much more technical and rocky, and I didn’t think my feet would get that wet. In all, I think it’s one of my more favorite hikes, and I would do it again. I don’t know how this ended up being my longest hiking post (ever?), but it was a fun and enjoyable hike.
You can see more hikes and trail runs here.
Questions for you:
Have you hiked the Bridge to Nowhere?
Have you ever been Bungee Jumping? It sounds like a fun (but exhausting) day to do that.
That hike was on my list for so long and once I did it once, I returned a few more times with various friends. There were a number of groups and individuals with gold panning set-ups a couple times I went. (Mid 2010’s, not the 1800’s)
That’s awesome!! Do you have a favorite hike in the LA area?
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