Bridge to Nowhere or East Fork Trail

19 reviews #1 hike out of 351 in
10.2 mi
Distance
5 hrs 25 min
Time
terrain
884 ft
Elev Gain

Overview

This is a moderately difficult out and back trail in Sheep Mountain Wilderness leading to the legendary Bridge to Nowhere. The difficulty of this trail is accentuated by extreme heat in summer, multple river crossings, and the vagueness of the trail and potential for getting lost. At 10 miles it's longer than most casual hikers can do, and, if you get lost, that's gets harder. The unique nature of the endpoint, the Bridge to Nowhere makes it very popular. In spring there are times when the river crossings are hazardous also. Once you get to the Bridge, the trail beyond is usually traversed only down to the creek and is very steep so caution is recommended.
The trail starts at the parking lot for the East Fork Trail which fills up early. Starting early is recommended due to the heat. I last did this in August, and we left the parking lot at 6 am, and it was still hot when we returned 12:45. The trail is a fire road for the first quarter mile before reaching a campsite and the junction with the Heaton Flat and Iron Mountain trails (and another pit toilet!)
The trail then winds up the right side of the creek until about 1.5 miles when it reaches the first crossing followed 1/4 mile later by the second crossing. 1/2 mile later the trail crosses again to the other side followed by a second cross back within a few hundred yards. The trail stays on the right side until the river rounds a tall ridge on the right side at about 3 miles in where you have the choice of crossing, hiking high on the right, or just climbing over the ridge. (The river crossing is easier.) After that the trail enters a broad valley where the remnants of the original roadway still stand on high on the right. There are a couple places to make the short but steep climb up, and, after that, the going is easy as you walk down the old, overgrown dirt road bed for the last mile or so.
Keep your eyes peeled for fluffy mountain sheep on the mountainside to the west as it's a popular spot for them.
At 5 miles you'll enter the private property of the current bridge owners who run bungee jumping operations off the tall arched span. You have to make arrangements in advance if you want to do this (I believe). Cross the bridge in the provided walkway, and then make your way down the steep hillside to the creek to enjoy your well-earned lunch and watch the crazy bungee jumpers.
When you are finished, reverse your route back to the car.
The trail continues beyond the bridge many more miles before coming out at Vincent Gap, the start of the hike to Mt. Baden-Powell. But that's another trip best done as a backpack trip.

Getting Started

Exit the 210 Fwy at Azusa Avenue and go north
Azusa Avenue turns into Highway 39 (San Gabriel Canyon Road)
Turn right on East Fork Road and continue to the parking lot at the end of the road. It fills up early, so one often has to park alongside the road.
If you reach the Rincon Ranger Station on Highway 39, you've missed East Fork Road

Taking Children

At 10 miles, this is a longish trip for younger hikers. The water and bridge might be just the attraction necessary.


    Rate this Hike

    user_profile
    1 year, 1 month ago
    Fantastic. Great hike. Would definitely do it again
    ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year, 2 months ago
    Amazing scenery and not too difficult! Definitely stay to the right side of the river most of the way, I didn’t realize there are pretty clear trails up higher on the banks on my way towards the bridge. I went later in the day so coming back there was hardly any people and it was much cooler. Took about 5 hours total after spending some time at the bridge to swim. The water feels amazing! I actually felt more comfortable in my chacos sandals with socks rather than my heavy watered-down hiking boots!
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year, 3 months ago
    It gets very hot. Scorching sun, multiple river crossings, rugged terrain. Make sure you bring: - Hat, dude and dudettes! - Water shoes (Crocs ok) and trail running shoes (to avoid wet sock blisters since this is an all day long hike) - At least 100oz (3L) water but my last group ran out, two guys needed to use my Sawyer filter to drink the river water (which you really don’t want to do unless you have to). Also bring an electrolyte drink for when you’ve been melting under the sun and start to feel dizzy - Carbohydrate loaded lunch in your bag - Carb/protein snack in the car for when you get back - Sunscreen (put on frequently, and after you dip in the river) - Bug spray and a bright flashlight in case you get lost and don’t make it back before dark which you really don’t want to deal with (again, this happened w my last group — we passed a rattlesnake eating just before a river crossing in the dark which we had to do twice. Mosquitoes here will swarm you at dusk) Bonus: Water filter, ultralight sun umbrella and trekking pole Be safe. It can be dangerous. People get airlifted out for heat stroke
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Public Tracks

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erwin 3 years ago
Bridge to Nowhere Hike
The 6 hour, 10.5 mile Bridge to Nowhere hike in the San Gabriel Mountains is one those hike you have to do at least once in your life. As the name suggests, you hike along the San Gabriel River in beautiful wilderness for about 5 miles, and then, out of nowhere, there's a huge, 120 foot high bridge! The hike is fun, especially on a hot summer day, because there are plenty of stream crossings and water holes to cool off in. It's a classic Southern California hike that every local knows about, and is worth doing at least once.
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nina.mozo.nm 1 year, 2 months ago
East Fork Trail to BRIDGE TO NOWHERE
Definitely stay to the right side of the river most of the way, I didn’t realize there are pretty clear trails up higher on the banks on my way towards the bridge. I went later in the day so coming back there was hardly any people and it was much cooler. Took about 5 hours total after spending some time at the bridge to swim. The water feels amazing! I actually felt more comfortable in my chacos sandals with socks rather than my heavy watered-down hiking boots!
user_profile stars
Gordon Alexander 2 years, 2 months ago
Bridge to Nowhere (8/19/18, 6:31am)
Moderate fun hike up the East Fork of the San Gabriel River to the popular Bridge to Nowhere. The trail crosses the stream, generally staying to the right except where rock formation force you off to the left. Crossings are larger early in the season. Temps can be high (>100F) later in the season so plan accordingly (i.e. WATER, hats, start early).
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MattWhiteley 3 years, 2 months ago
Track (8/5/17, 7:59:39AM)
This was only a 10 mile hike. Gaia seems to have recorded distance when I'd stopped moving.
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rmn112 1 year, 4 months ago
Bridge to Nowhere
Mike Wangs 34th Bday Emeric and George Z.
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