One of the most bizarre artifacts to be found deep in the San Gabriel Mountains is a bridge. The reason this bridge is so strange is that it doesn’t lead anywhere. Located north of Azusa, California, this bridge remains one that is simply just an arch bridge made of concrete.
Construction on this bridge began in 1929. At this point, the East Fork goes through a gorge in the mountains. Many bridges were built in this area as the road made its way in and out of the canyon. The engineers planned to build roadways that went from Wrightwood to the San Gabriel Valley. They finished this specific bridge before building the roadways that connected to it. Construction wasn’t finished when disaster hit. In 1938, a large rainstorm hit the area. The flooding washing out many areas through the East Fork. The bridges were damaged and roads were washed away.
The road stayed the same. The bridge still stood in the same place. The East Fork Road Project was left alone. The ridge stood in the middle of the Sheep Mountain Wilderness leading to nowhere. The interesting part is that there are some areas of the former asphalt roadway that can still be seen along the East Fork Trail. Some of these roadways lead to the ridge. There are still concrete slabs in some areas that set up the foundations for the old bridges.
Why was this project abandoned? The damage from the flood was simply too much to rebuild the roads. This doesn’t mean that the bridge didn’t do something for humanity. Today it’s a look into the past. It’s a special destination for avid hikers.
It requires a lot of work to get to the bridge. You can only access the bridge on a 10-mile round trip trek. Many people love to hike to the destination. Walking along the San Gabriel River, hikers go across the river many times. The flow of the river isn’t high, but it is tough to pass after a large storm. The Narrows is the last stretch of land before you get to the bridge. You must pass two private property signs to access the bridge. Hikers are allowed in the area. The narrow gorge sits happily under the bridge. Once there, hikers stand in awe of the 120-foot archway. You may be wet and tired from the hike, but the view is worth it.
Once you stand on the bridge, you’ll notice it’s lower on the right side. The whole experience puts you in a different world. The Bridge to Nowhere does connect you to a cool little swimming hole. The steep track drops into the canyon where you find refreshing pools of water and rapids. Many hikers take a break to swim a little before the long walk back.
If you plan to visit the area, dedicate a few hours to the hike and for a little swimming. The 10-mile trip complete with the 900-foot elevation change will challenge you. You can also stop and enjoy the water of the gently flowing rivers along the way. This area is filled with opportunities as you get to the breathtaking bridge.
The Bridge To Nowhere is so popular that it still is maintenance by the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders. The volunteer organization works with the United States Forest Service to keep the area ready for visitors. During the winter, the snow makes it hazardous for anyone to visit the abandoned bridge.
The Bridge to Nowhere is definitely unique and special to this area. No one knows why the project was never picked up again. The history of the area speaks for itself.