Bridge to Nowhere
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Trail: 9 miles extendible, 750 ft. net vertical gain Time: day trip with possible camping. Driving: 1 hour on road Difficulty: There are several stream crossings. Your boots will get wet, you will have to do some route fmding. Season: Any, but beware of high water in the spring if it has been a wet winter.
Relevant Guidebooks & Maps
The best map is the National Forest Angeles High I Country Map which is 1 : 50,000 scale or 1 :63,500 scale and is available at RE1 for $9. USGS 7.5' Maps: Crystal Lake, Mt. San Antonio, and Mt. Baldy are available in the OTL Gear room as is the Angeles High Country Map.
From Claremont take 1-210 West to AzusaBlvd. Turn left following the National Forest sign. Thentake an immediate right on Azusa Blvd. and follow itthrough town and up into the mountains for 11 miles andturn right (East) toward East Fork. Continue 6 miles andjust after passing Oaks picnic area you turn left as the roaddoes a hairpin turn. This is easy to miss, but there is onlyone hairpin turn (switch back) on the road. Drive 314s of amile until the road ends in the East Fork Parking Area.
Backpackers scorn the beauty of LA becausethey feel that what's manmade has overrun nature.Take an instance where man tried to overwhelm nature butonly left evidence of his failed attempt and backpackerslove to visit this place of nature's tested dominance.k Bridge to Nowhere is one such place. Some poor folkstried to build a road through the forest, but instead of aroad, all that is left is a huge concrete bridge spanning oneof the most beautiful gorges in Southern California. Youcross the bridge and go back in time. Following the cascadingriver upstream, you will find the Stanley Millermine, evidence of the obsessive miners who were willingto do anything to get a little gold. On this hike you canfind the remains of Miller's stone hut, where he was shotwhile cheating in a game of poker. In a well camouflagesshelter lives a hermit named David who will take you to this place. He has lived in the forest for 5 years, and I am sure he will still be there whenyou arrive. Tell him that he is a legend, a prospector, who really earned a living from gold. From the East Fork parking lot follow the paved road through the gate to the walk-in campground. This is the place for car camping because itis only a tenth of a mile hike and has nice picnic tablesand tent sites. After the campground, the road turns into atrail and follows the river for 3.5 miles. You will have tocross the river many times. Give up early and just wadethrough, but be sure to wear wool socks with liners andlace your boots tightly. After 3.5 miles the trail makes anobvious switch back and ascends to the East or Right sideof the river. It still parallels the river, but takes you on adry and more easily navigable hike out of the gorge. Hereyou gain about 300 feet in elevation over the course of amile and come to the Bridge after hiking a total of 4.6miles. You can end your hike at the Bridge or continueupstream to the Stanley Miller Mine area and find goodswimming holes to the North (upstream) of the Bridge.Continuing past the Bridge, there is a large tunnelwithin ten minutes of walking. The tunnel opening is onlyabout 3 feet high, but is ten feet wide. There are Cairnsand graffiti that mark the entrance to the tunnel. Both thetunnel and the Bridge were part of the failed project tobuild a road connecting the towns of Azusa and Wrightwood.Continue hiking for another mile past the Tunneland you will pass many excellent swimming holes. Thereare also good backpacking camp sites along the river. 1.5miles upstream is the well camouflaged home of David,the prospector. He is about 35 years old and has traveledthe world. He knows this area better than anyone else andwill show you the way to Miller's home and will tell youabout mining in the area. If you want to go to the StanleyMiller Mine, it will take an additional fill day. You caneither explore on your own, or bring lots of extra food forDavid and he might take you there. According to David, the mine is quite large and has much of the old machinery intact. There is no trail to themine, although some Topo maps show one. There is also nopossible way to summit Iron Mountain from the East Fork, Bridge to Nowhere area. Return the way you came, go faster than the way out because you knowthe trail and will be traveling downhill.
Bring a bright flashlight to explore the Tunnel.Bring extra socks to change to prevent blisters. If you arebackpacking you can dry your socks on your stomachwhile you sleep if the weather is cold, or hang them to dryoutside if the weather is warm. Backpackers need both an overnightpermit and a stove permit. Day Hikers need parking permits
Edited by (in order): OTL Staff, Danielle Joseph
Last updated: 10/29/2009