The bridges and roads that lead nowhere – bizarre artifacts deep in the San Gabriel Mountains

The Bridge to Nowhere is an arch bridge that was built in 1936 north of Azusa, California in the San Gabriel Mountains, to be part of a road connecting the San Gabriel Valley with Wrightwood.  Here at Outdoor Revival we’re all for adventuring to new places and seeing new things but even this is a weird one.  If you take the time to go and visit the bridge and the other bridges and roads that have been abandoned you will need to back track as you’re not getting through to anywhere!

Construction began in 1929 and by the mid-1930s the highway had reached The Narrows (2800ft) where the East Fork flows through a very deep gorge, the deepest in Southern California.  A tunnel was also chiseled out of sheer rock.


It’s hidden deep in the San Gabriel Mountains. Photo credit


Construction began in 1929, most of the work being done by County prison work crews. Photo credit


A number of bridges were built as the road snaked its way into the canyon. However, the winter after this difficult construction task had been completed, an unprecedented rainstorm arrived on March 1-2, 1938. The result was a tremendous flood that roared down the East Fork.


The flood washed out the road and damaged some of the bridges. This same rainstorm wreaked havoc in Los Angeles as well and precipitated the cement lining of the LA River as we see it today.


A flood in 1938 wiped out all but a few remnants of the road, but the “Bridge to Nowhere” remains. Photo credit

After the flood, no one tried to rebuild the road and The East Fork Road project was abandoned, leaving the bridge forever stranded in the middle of what is now the Sheep Mountain Wilderness.

Parts of the old asphalt roadway can still be found along the East Fork Trail which leads to the bridge, and there are still a number of concrete slabs which formed the foundations of destroyed bridges to the west of the Bridge to Nowhere.

The bridge alone remains, an eerie yet historic insight into the past, and it is only accessible through a 10-mile roundtrip hike.

The maintenance of the East Fork Trail which leads to the Bridge To Nowhere is the responsibility of the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders volunteer organization which works under the supervision of the United States Forest Service.


Typically trail repairs and maintenance are performed by the Trailbuilders during the Winter months when snow within the Crystal Lake Recreation Area makes trail working at higher elevations in the San Gabriel Mountains difficult and at times hazardous.


The bridge is now only accessible through a 10-mile roundtrip hike. Photo credit


Today, the bridge is a popular destination for hikers and bungee jumpers. Photo credit

It became a popular destination for hikers and bungee jumping is provided by a private company.


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jack-beckett is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival