BRIDGE TO NOWHERE HIKE IN AZUSA, CALIFORNIA

I've always enjoyed hiking, but I've done more trails in the last two months than ever before! I love getting out in nature and exercising and of course enjoying the views.

My roommates found the Bridge to Nowhere hiking trail in Azusa, California so we decided to give it a try! It's a 10-ish mile hike round trip (5 miles to the bridge, and 5 miles back out). It's relatively flat - only 900 ft of elevation each way - but definitely not what I would consider to be an "easy" hike, but with enough water, snacks, and time to rest, people of most fitness levels can complete it.


Read on for details of the hike, my tips for completing it, and things that I would do differently if I do the hike again!

One thing to note before we start is that there is **no cellphone service** from when you start driving up the mountains until you go back down them at the end of the day. Be prepared to spend 8-9 hours without your phone (it was great to disconnect!). If you are planning on hiking with friends, either drive together or have an exact time and place to meet.


GETTING TO THE HIKE:
We left our apartment a little after 8am on Sunday. By the time we got to the San Gabriel Mountains it was 9:30-ish and man oh man was it crowded! Lots of people were there to camp, swim, and BBQ by the river. Parking, therefore, was kind of a nightmare. There's a separate parking lot for the actual hike BUT we got there too late and it was full. We had to park an extra 2 miles away from the trailhead, which was fine on the way TO the hike but by the end of the day, we were ready to call it quits.

When you're driving up the road, there will be a point where there is a sharp right curve, and off to the left there's a separate drive toward the trailhead. If you get there early enough this is where you'll turn to go in! But be aware of any signage because there were cops writing tickets for people parked in "No Parking" zones.

From that drive, the hike is another 1/2 mile up the road. At the top you'll see a parking lot and a dirt road where the trail begins.


THE TRAIL:
From everything we read online, we were expecting a fire road type trail for 5 miles at a slight elevation. Maybe a couple of easy river crossings, and that's it! Um, we were SO wrong.

This hike is a mix of forest trails, rock climbing, river crossing, and desert roads. I think there were about 5 river crossings in total? Maybe a couple more. I changed into rubber flip flops for the very first one but honestly after that I just trudged through them in my sneakers. (Just wear high socks!!)

An example of rock climbing. The group before us said "don't worry, there are ropes to hold onto!" and we said, "Yeah... we're just going to go in the river."
Although the trail is only 5 miles to the bridge, there are so many different types of terrain and ups and downs that it took us nearly 3.5 hours to get to our final destination from where we parked. Definitely allow ample time for this trail, and be prepared to stop and rest, as well as wait for hikers on their way back/other groups to pass.

There is not a ton of shade for the last 2 miles toward the bridge, so be prepared for that as well! That's also where a lot of ups and downs are on the trail, and where you might be getting hangry and cranky. (At least, I was.)

Overall, if you're mentally prepared for something other than a simple trail in the forest, you should be fine on the hike! We definitely were not and it was startling, haha. There were several families with children as well as people hiking with dogs. Not sure I would recommend either of those, but if they can do it, so can you!


WHAT TO WEAR + BRING:
I have like... no hiking gear. My trusty Adidas sneakers are what I usually wear, and normally they're fine! This is the first hike where I was like, dang I wish I had actual hiking boots. I wore my sneakers with high socks and I was fine, though maybe not as supported/comfortable as I could have been. Lots of people were hiking in sneakers, and we actually saw a lot of people hiking in less supportive sneakers than me too. So it's totally up to you!

If you have them, I would recommend that you wear waterproof hiking boots. You can also wear water shoes, but I honestly don't know if I would recommend open-toed shoes like Chacos. Maybe Teevas? But there were a lot of rocks and then places to rock climb, as well as boulders sticking out of the trails creating trip hazards. So ya know, it's really up to you shoe wise.



Definitely pack a backpack with tons of water, snacks, sunscreen, and potentially a clean pair of clothes to change into. I don't have a Camelback, so I brought 3 large water bottles with me. I ran out. Next time, I would definitely bring at least double that amount of water. My roommates have Camelbacks and also ran out of water. It is HOT in the desert and the last thing you want to be is dehydrated!! Bring more water than you think you need and then pack more.

We each brought a sandwich to eat when we got to the bridge, and I threw in some power bars at the last minute. I'm so glad that I brought those, but OMG I was still so hungry the entire hike. I wish I had brought more to eat, like beef jerky sticks or an apple and a banana, nut butter pouch, etc.

Other things to bring: sunscreen to reapply throughout the day, a hat to protect your face, a dry change of clothes + shoes for the car ride home. We dried out pretty quickly after sitting in the river for lunch, but we all brought a change of clothes just in case! If anything, be sure to bring a pair of flip flops to change into - nothing worse than wearing wet shoes for long periods of time! I also brought a towel that I didn't end up using.


TIPS BEFORE YOU GO:

  • Be prepared to not use a bathroom the entire trail!! There's no place on the trail to sneak off if you have to go to the bathroom.
  • STRETCH before you start the hike!!! Be sure to especially stretch your IT Band, hip flexors, and hamstrings.
  • Get there early! Seriously, try to get there at or before 7AM. Even if you can't park at the lot, you'll be SO MUCH CLOSER than we were three hours later.
  • Bring a tennis ball to roll out your feet on the drive home/lunch break. Your feet will thank you for it.
  • We had a lot of traffic on our way out of the mountains, so it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep a cooler with more water/snacks in the car for the drive home!
Ahhh I think those are all of my tips! Enjoy the hike, the bridge is pretty cool to see! And if you hike on a weekend, you can bungee jump off the bridge for $120 from 10am-2pm. The only issue is, you still have to walk all the way back out! 😉

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