Summary: This trip takes you along the banks of the east fork of the San Gabriel River. While the river banks are wooded and quite lovely, most of the trail traverses the rim above the high water line and most of your travel is through scrub brush. The highlight of the hike is a mysterious bridge built over the east fork in 1936, which has no road leading to it. Actually, in the 1930's a road did lead to it, but was swept away by floods in 1938.
There are some small trails that lead down to the stream just after you cross the bridge. This is a stunning setting with shear pink tinted granite walls, roaring cascades, and the lovely bridge in the background.
Route finding was a bit challenging with many day use trails mixed in with the main trail, washed out sections of trail, and over a half dozen stream crossings (bring waterproof boots even when the water is low). I was also astounded at the number of swimming holes. This place must be a zoo in the heat of the summer!
Trailhead: From Interstate 10 or the 210 freeway, exit on Azusa and head north 10 miles or so, paralleling the San Gabriel Dam on your right. Turn right on East Fork Road and continue 8 more miles to the East Fork Station, where the road dead ends. Note that if you go around a hairpin 180 degree turn on East Fork Road, you missed the road into the Sheep Mountain Wilderness. The trail head is short distance down an obvious service road. (Lat:34.2372 Lon:-117.76546)
Trail Guides for San Gabriel River - East Fork:
Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney (Olympus Press)
101 Hikes in Southern California
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs
Ranger Contact: Angeles National Forest (626) 335-1251
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted 104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 27 Submit your own review
Reviewed by BigQuiche on 5/19/2013
Low water, loads of people... One of the easier 9 mile hikes I've ever done. Pictures and more details on blog post... http://tomkiesche.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/bridge-to-nowhere-hike-and-beyond/
Reviewed by tmm on 5/18/2013
Hiked the trail today. Parking lot already overflowing by 7:30 am. Lots of bungee jumpers and boy scouts. It is a low water year, so only had to cross 4 times, and never got more than the top of my boots wet. By far the best trail tips I found at this website, and they proved very useful: http://www.modernhiker.com/2008/08/11/hiking-the-east-fork-of-san-gabriel-river-to-the-bridge-to-nowhere/
Reviewed by Jeff on 10/20/2012
Amazing trail! Not too crowded early except for the binge jumpers. Keep to the right mostly as trail finding is a pain.
Reviewed by Milly on 8/3/2012
I did this hike 2yrs ago with my son who was 9 at the time...It was a hot summer day but he made it to the top...Great hike for the family...no an easy hike for a child or beginner but if you start early you can take many breaks and still make it back down before 2pm. Going back this Sat. with a couple of my sister...The only thing I do suggest is that you wear some bug spray..because if your a bug magnet like I am you will be annoyed...Good Luck and Enjoy :)
Reviewed by Viewer on 5/26/2012
Love this hike! It is not always an easy trail, but worth it to stop and have a swim. My two girls, 4 & 5 years, managed pretty good. Not for an easy stroll though. There are a few areas where the trail is either water or a sloped rock hug. Lots of fallen trees. Did see a rattler near the first big water crossing. Fun, challenging, and have great pictures! Can't wait to go back.
Reviewed by CB on 5/11/2012
Amazing and challenging hike. DO NOT CROSS the river via fallen logs. Thats a great way to crack a rib. Just wade through the river is never very deep. Bring PLENTY of water or a filter to drink river water. Many people start this hike thinking it will be a calm trail walk and find out they are in for quite a hike. BE prepared and enjoy. Waterproof shoes are a must - you will get wet.
Reviewed by Mtn. Mongol Man on 4/10/2012
4/3/2012. Stay to the right. Water level is low (careful after rains.) Cross 1: deepest. mid thigh (last year we continued up rocks on the right & crossed further upstream where it was wider & lower & there was a wire cable running across river, I do not know if cable is still there.) Cross 2: balance-walked across a log to get from left to right. Cross 3: (vertical wall on right/ where the river bends about 90, this is where there use to be a rope, but it is no longer there) so just to be safe we down climbed the rocks & crossed the river. You can cross the river without climbing the rocks. Just get into the water & find the best line that cuts the corner to the far bank. If you know about the 2nd rope, it is also down, Recommend Caution.
Reviewed by John C on 1/12/2012
One of the best hikes we've found in So. Cal. Make sure to pick up a Day Pass on the way up if you don't have one. They WILL ticket you and the fine is steep! You can pick up at the General Store in Williams Crossing on the way up. Also make sure to stay to the left when the fork in the road takes you around the 180 degree turn. Do not take the 180, you've gone too far. The hike is beautiful but you will get wet. There are several rock or log crossings. But that's what makes it so fun! Was a little windy and on the cool side.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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