“Let’s do the BRIDGE TO NOWHERE”
I stumbled to the car waiting outside my complex last weekend, feeling sick and totally forgetting to pack any food and one other important piece of gear for my 10 mile hike to the Bridge to Nowhere.
Thankfully, I talked my ride into stopped at the Starbucks around the corner so I could get breakfast (the egg white, spinach, feta wrap is pretty fantastic), a few things for lunch, and a coconut water because I forgot to bring anything with electrolytes.
Despite not feeling well and being a little unprepared, I was joining a group of Keen Ambassadors and friends of Keen and Team Tough Chik on the hike. Awesome, right? Sure, unless you’re a slow hiker and don’t do well in heat. Yep, I was the weak link but most of the group was awesome about it and wanted to stop and play in the water anyway.
The Bridge to Nowhere hike is in northern Azusa, California and is a 10 mile roundtrip hike to a bridge that literally leads nowhere. The bridge was built in 1936 over east fork of the San Gabriel River but the road was washed out during construction and the project was abandoned…You can see the old road on parts of the hike, but otherwise there is a dirt road leading to the bridge and away from the bridge.
As you hike along the river, you’ll see the remains of bridges that were washed away by the river and at least one old building. You will also see a few (or a TON) campsites of gold miners. Stay away from the miners. Give them plenty of space and just leave them alone. Seriously. If you’re lucky, you’ll see some Big Horn Sheep! We saw 3 as we were in a more desert-y area of the trail and it was pretty neat. We had to stop since they were on the trail and we waited for them to get far enough away before wading into the water to snap some photos of the CNX Clearwater Sandals in action.
- 9 – 10.1 miles round trip, depending on who you ask, our GPS units were all reporting different mileage
- 800 feet of elevation gain
- Very little shade
- 6 river crossings
- North of Azusa, California – San Gabriel Mountains
- Additional reading: Modern Hiker part 1, Modern Hiker part 2, Greene Adventures,
There was a rock fall fairly recently that makes part of the trail a little more scramble-like early on into the hike. You can go up and over the fall, but please be careful as you navigate your way around things. Be extra careful in that area, more rocks may fall in the future and it is a good idea to be extra aware of your surroundings.
You’ll need an Adventure Pass in order to park in the trailhead lot, so be sure to grab one at REI, the ranger station, or a local shop on your way. Also? There are no facilities past the register, so use the restroom there and be sure to observe Leave No Trace practices while on the trail. It gets really hot really quickly in this canyon, so be sure to be smart on your hike – lots of water (I carried 2L plus some coconut water), a hat, plenty of sunscreen, sunglasses, and any other accessories…I like to use a half-BUFF because I can wet it and put it around my neck like a scarf, around my wrists to help cool off, to wipe down my face, or as an additional layer against the sun. The next time I see a half BUFF or regular BUFF on sale, I’m going to buy a few more. They’re really handy to have around.
As I publish this, a fire has broken out near the Bridge to Nowhere trailhead – please call the ranger station before heading out on trails.