The Bridge to Nowhere is a popular hiking destination in the San Gabriel Mountains in Angeles National Forest, 23 miles northeast of Los Angeles. It’s 10 miles round trip that includes half a dozen icy river crossings over the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, and beautiful mountain landscapes to a bridge that mysteriously leads to nothing (well it use to lead to a road before it was washed away).
This hike includes the popular bungee jumping destination off the ledge of the Bridge to Nowhere, where you can jump off a 121 foot bridge into the canyon below. The hike can be done by yourself, but if you want to guarantee a spot bungee jumping then it’s best to reserve a space with Bungee America in advance and meet up with them in the parking lot to hike in together as a group.
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Bridge To Nowhere Hike
The wake-up call is early and you need to meet your group before sunrise at the East Fork Trailhead. A personal perk of being up so early was watching the sunrise over the mountains as we drove along a palm tree-lined street in Azuza, on our way to the trailhead.
When we finally got to the trailhead after taking a wrong turn, most of our group was already waiting in the chilly early morning air. Make sure to give yourself extra time when driving up to the beginning of the trail, since it’s easy to get lost on the mountain roads. We also lucked out and got one of the final parking spots, but get there early since the lot tends to fill up and you’ll have to end up parking along the road instead.
To say it was cold was an understatement. The sun sure took its sweet time coming up over those mountains.
This hike is not for beginners and you should be relatively fit before you attempt it. 10 miles is no stroll in the park. I honestly think I’m in decent shape, but I ended up injuring my ankle afterward and had to go to the doctor because I was in so much pain. I would recommend going on some practice hikes beforehand. There is also an elevation gain of over 1,000 feet.
The biggest surprise for me was the river crossings that were icy cold and at times knee deep. Since we started so early, a lot of the river crossings were completed before the sun was up and it’s best to bring waterproof shoes to wear in the water and also bring extra close-toed shoes and at least two pairs of warm wool socks. There is no such thing as being over-prepared when it comes to keeping your feet warm on this hike.
A few hours in the sun started to peak over the mountaintops, and it felt like liquid gold, I’ve never been happier to feel those golden rays. After we defrosted a bit, we started to head up a hill, and I knew we were almost to the bridge.
Bungee Jumping Off The Bridge To Nowhere
When we reached the bridge, everyone who was bungee jumping was briefed about safety and the proper protocol to jump. Then before you know it the first person is prepped to jump and it’s go time. A tip if you are bungee jumping is to get in line early otherwise you’ll have to wait around in the cold for awhile to jump.
I have a pretty big fear of heights and opted to cheer on my very brave friend, who flung herself not once, but twice off that bridge. For the first jump she did the traditional superman (or superwomen in this case) position, but the second time she did the happy starfish, and jumped off the platform backward. Girl has guts.
Afterward we ate our packed lunches, and watched other brave souls fling themselves off the side of the bridge. There is no provided food, so it’s important to bring plenty of food for the entire day. We started the hike at around 7:30 am and we got back to the car around 4 pm. It was a very long day and I’m grateful for stuffing extra Cliff Bars into my bag at the last moment.
When To Visit The Bridge To Nowhere
We purposely went in January, since it can get very hot during the summertime and is not ideal hiking weather. During early fall, in September-October, forest fires can be an issue since this is when it can be some of California’s warmest weather with no rain in sight. The downside of going during the cooler months is that it’s also rainy season starting from November until April-May.
Make sure to check the US Department of Agriculture’s Angeles National Forest website for any flooding or trail closures.
What To Pack
The best way to dress no matter the time of year is in layers, since the early morning can be quite cold before the sun warms the mountains up. Here are the essentials you’ll need to bring with you:
- extra pair of shoes (nothing worse than having to hike in wet shoes in the cold)
- extra wool socks (ditto for avoiding the wet and cold)
- warm hat + gloves
- hand warmers
- plenty of high protein snacks (bars, jerky, trail mix)
- portable lunch
- at least two bottles of water
- sun hat
- swimsuit (if you’re going during the warmer months and want to take a dip in the river)
- bug spray
Places To Eat Near The Bridge To Nowhere
There are a lot of fast food chains in Azuza, but if you are looking for something healthy and filling try these spots for the perfect post-hike meal:
- Canyon City Barbeque – great spot for a protein-rich meal. Try the tri-tip and the brisket.
- Ramen Naruto – a reasonably-priced spot that offers steaming bowls of noodle soup, as well as delicious curry to warm you up.
- Taco Nazo – for a lighter meal this spot has some of the area’s best fish tacos.
Where To Stay Near The Bridge To Nowhere
The night before the hike we made the wise decision of staying in nearby West Covina (of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fame), since the call time was 7:30am, and driving in from Santa Monica would have been torture. Staying in either West Covina, Azuza or the surround area is a great strategy, since the entrace to Angeles National Forest is easily accessible.
- Best Western Plus Route 66 Glendora Inn – reasonably-priced hotel that offers a complementary breakfast buffet
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott – solid option in West Covina with complementary cold/hot breakfast buffet
- Home2 Suites by Hilton – spacious choice in Azusa with free continental breakfast and kitchenette
Have you ever hiked to and/or jumped off the Bridge to Nowhere?