Bridge to Nowhere
I have had my eye on this hike for quite some time. I finally made the drive out to Azusa. I had prepared myself for a creek side hike with water crossings knee and even waist high. The water level wasn’t bad at all and I never even had to take off my hiking boots to keep my feet from getting wet. What I hadn’t mentally prepared for was the cliff-hugging sections of trail that left my nerves a bit frayed. This has to be the most dangerous trail I’ve hiked.
I started down a service road from the parking area. The trail goes north and begins at the gate on the northern edge of the parking lot. You need an NPS Adventure Pass to park here. The trail, some of it anyways, follows what is left of an old paved road that leads to the bridge. Almost all of the asphalt has now been washed away. There are several creek crossings but, in general, try to stay on the east side of the creek (on the right going up, on the left coming back).
Some of the trail runs above the creek and some right next to it. The trail disappears frequently but I just kept heading north along the creek. Often it felt like I was moving in a direction rather than following a trail.
The crossings were not too difficult today as there are strategically placed logs and rocks to help. Be careful though, the rocks can be slick. I watched a young woman fall hard while trying to cross here. I noticed some swirling in the water. I didn’t see any live fish but there were these dead ones by the shore – Rainbow Trout I was told. I did see a few people fishing along the way, as well as panning for gold.
The trail can be rough going. There is a small section where I had to scramble down some rocks to get to the trail. There were many areas where I felt I must have taken a wrong turn as the road ahead was so rough or difficult that it couldn’t possibly be the right direction. More often than not it turned out to be the only way. I felt off balance all day long. With all the loose rocks and logs it seemed that every step had to be focused on to keep from twisting an ankle.
Photo 1 – Here I find myself on the west side of the creek at a dead end. I had to push my way through and find a decent area to cross over. This was the one time water poured into my boots as I made my way across. Photo 3 –
Here is Swan Rock – can you see the swan?
Most of the last half of the trip to the bridge was high above the creek on the hillside. This was some scary hiking. No BS, if you lose your footing here you will fall and be injured or killed. Look at how narrow the trail is.
Photo 1 – Here is the drop down from the trail above. Photo 2 – More crazy exposure. It wasn’t all like this but too much for my taste. Then again, I crossed paths with a group of young hikers who, deep in conversation about movie directors, didn’t even seem to notice the danger.
The bridge and a portion of the trail rests on private property. Completed in 1936, the bridge was supposed to connect Azusa with Wrightwood. But again, the road was washed away decades ago. A bridge without roads = The Bridge to Nowhere. When I arrived the bungee jumping was in full swing complete with a lot of yelling. There was no shade to rest in so I didn’t stay long.
Beautiful architecture, obviously well constructed to survive neglected for so long.
Bridge to Nowhere, with dangling bungee jumper
Photo 1 – Now heading back. There are yucca plants all over this hike. This one had been carved out and may have been a home for some birds. Photo 3 – Result of being zapped by a sharp yucca Photo 4 – Here is another scary section, this probably being the scariest. The rock is really loose and there’s no where to go but down if you happen to stumble. Concentration is a must. Photo 5 – There are also lots of huge lizards in the area.
Swan Rock – a little clearer now that it was in the shade.
This was the highlight of the day, getting a close look at a few Bighorn Sheep. This one crossed the trail in front of me and then crossed the creek to the other side.
Two of his buddies stayed back, high above the trail.