Outside of Southern California, the phrase “bridge to nowhere” brings to mind a contested national embarrassment. For outdoor-loving Angelinos, Bridge to Nowhere is the affectionate name of a local treasure. You’ll find excessive fun, not government spending, on this 10-mile round trip hike with 900 feet of elevation gain.
There are several river fords on the trail to the abandoned bridge, along with opportunities to stop and swim. Dedicate at least six hours to completing this hike. An easy-to-acquire wilderness permit is required to hike to the Bridge to Nowhere, as well as a national forest day use pass !
It was actually a lack of financial investment, and not the opposite, that created LA’s Bridge to Nowhere. Constructed in 1936 over a gap carved by the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, the bridge would serve as a link in a roadway between the San Gabriel Valley to the south and Wrightwood to the north. That is until the spring of 1938, when a massive flood changed the landscape of the canyon and washed out the road leading to the bridge. The road was never restored and construction was abandoned. The bridge remains, isolated deep in the San Gabriel Mountains.
The trail to the Bridge to Nowhere is mostly gradual with some rugged terrain and rock scrambling. Wading through thigh to waist high water is unavoidable (at least in wet months) so pack appropriate footwear. Hiking boots, water shoes, and a towel is the best combination. There are a minimum of four river crossings on the hike up the canyon. Trekking in wet shoes is not idea, and while it is tedious to change your footwear throughout the hike, your feet may thank you.
Don’t be surprised if the trailhead is crowded. This is a popular hike, and people also park here to picnic and swim in the nearby river. Arrive early, and prepare to leave your vehicle along the road leading to the trailhead if the lot is full.
ADDRESS: Camp Bonita Road, San Gabriel Mountains, Azusa, CA 91702