Shoemaker Canyon Road

This abandoned road runs right above the East Fork of the San Gabriel River and the trail to the previously hiked Bridge to Nowhere.  The highlight of the day was passing through two long tunnels.  How often do you get to do something like that without having to worry about getting hit by a car?  The views were obscured by cloudy weather, but having cooler temps was an acceptable trade.

1   The paved section of Shoemaker Canyon Road took me up high.

2     3   Shoemaker Canyon Road was abandoned in the 1960’s.  It just dead ends after the second tunnel in some 2 1/2 miles.  Photo 2 – The parking area for the Bridge to Nowhere hike and the road to get to it can be seen from this vantage point.

4   Eruption

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The road building came at a cost – there are deep cuts on both sides.

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Photo 1 – There is a berm on one side of the road and it blocks the great views of what’s below.  Every so often I would climb to the top to take a look.  Photo 2 – An owl flew just over my head and landed on a rock next to the road.  Isn’t he handsome?  Photo 3 – Online I had read others complain about being bothered by bees.  There are two bee hive areas right off the trail.  Maybe because it was overcast and cool, the bees gave me no trouble at all.

14     11     12   The plants were really blooming on this day.

13   The parking lot for the Bridge to Nowhere hike is to the right in this photo.

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18   Beautiful Yucca Plants

19     20   I was also scouting a trailhead to nearby Rattlesnake Peak.  I believe this is it, next to marker 339.  The description for the trailhead said to look for a steep gully…

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…which is located before a section of road with deep cuts on both sides and about 200 feet before the second tunnel first comes into view. The first tunnel cannot be seen from here but is just up the road.

23   There didn’t seem to be much of a trail at all, but I believe you’re supposed to climb up the hill on the left side of the gully.

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25     26     27   Completed in 1961, the first tunnel is 400 yards long.

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30   Darkness enveloped me.  The tunnels are in good shape.  No rats or bats or crazy people hiding in the shadows.  These tunnels might be an ideal place for people to get over their phobia of dark, enclosed places.

VIDEO: My journey through the first tunnel.  (I actually walked through twice so I could get video and photos).

31     32   Photo 1 – Tiles spell out the word LOVE near the end of the first tunnel.

34     33   Photo 2 – Empty bullet shells on the ground just beyond the first tunnel.

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Photo 1 – Rattlesnake Peak?  Photo 2 – Close-up of the river below, marked by all those green trees.

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I came to the second, shorter tunnel. This one, completed in 1964, is only 250 yards long.

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43   Photos 1 and 2 – Alien pods stuck to the roof of the second tunnel.  Photo 3 – The lower walls in the second tunnel have this interesting design  – stacked stones behind re-bar cages.  Photo 5 – The road disappears after the second tunnel and is replaced by a footpath.

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Looking up the East Fork from the second tunnel.

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49   I followed the footpath for a few hundred yards to an old water tank.  I turned back here because, in my opinion, the trail was a little too washed out to pass safely.

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Photo 1 – Blackened branches – evidence of a recent fire.  Photo 2 – Rock slide by the side of the road.

56   I made it back to my car.  There is a small area right next to the trailhead, I guess and parking and picnic area.  I decided to explore it and take a few more photos.

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58     59   Driving back, now on East Fork Road, I pulled over to clean my glasses.  I looked across the road and saw a white cross.  I walked over to investigate.  There are two small, white crosses standing watch above a small “town”.

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