Bridge to Nowhere Hike

The Bridge to Nowhere is a classic hike for good reason. The route is rugged but doable by most beginners. You’ll follow the East Fork of the San Gabriel River upstream, crossing it six times as you dive deeper into the Sheep Mountain Wilderness. Once you’re about five miles in, you’ll round a bend, and bam! There’s a beautiful 120-foot bridge spanning the East Fork Narrows! It’s a popular hike, but I’ll share a tip that can dramatically change your experience.

  • Video & Turn by Turn Hike Directions
  • Where to Park, Permits and Fees
  • Planning Your Hike (With Shoe & Gear Recommendations)

When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.

Bridge to Nowhere Hiking Tips

  • Weekends are a mess. There are crowds, and many hikers don’t know proper hiking etiquette. You’ll hear Bluetooth speakers, people talking about their lives, etc., and it’s not a peaceful experience. Come at sunrise on a weekday for the best experience. You’ll often have most of the trail to yourself. When I do this, I’m usually the only person at the bridge, aside from some bighorn sheep. offers bungee jumping off of the Bridge to Nowhere on weekends. The groups leave as a guided hike at 6 am or 7 am, or both. If you want to skip the crowds, don’t hike then. FYI the bungee company leases the land around the bridge from Angeles National Forest.
  • Most of the time, the hike is easy, and crossing the river is straightforward. But if there are thunderstorms in the forecast, the river can become a raging torrent. People have died here when the river floods, so take it seriously.
  • Similarly, in the spring, the river can be higher and cold if there’s snow melting from the mountains. The sweet spot to do the hike is in the fall.
  • Technically, a free, self-issued permit is required to enter the Sheep Mountain Wilderness, where the bridge is. There used to be boxes full of permits at the trailhead and along the way, but not anymore. It’s obvious that the permit system is not enforced, but if you really want to get one, visit one of the ranger stations for Angeles NF. Again, you don’t need to, and no one is checking.
  • You need a parking pass for the lot. I use an America the Beautiful (National Parks Pass) pass which gets me in all federal land and National Parks. You can also pick up an Adventure Pass which only works in Southern California.
  • Use the bathroom before getting to the trailhead. There’s a nasty toilet at the trailhead and another one about 15 minutes down the trail at Heaton Flat. There are no other bathrooms along the hike and none at the bridge.

Where is the Bridge to Nowhere?

The hike starts at the East Fork Trailhead in Angeles National Forest, about an hour away from central Los Angeles. Use this trailhead address: East Fork Trailhead, Camp Bonita Rd, La Verne, CA 91750 There are a decent amount of spots in the parking lot, but it gets full quickly. The red arrow marks the start of the hike. It’s about 9 am, and people are parked along the road about a mile from the trailhead.

Gear for the Hike

  • After doing this hike many times, I’ve found that wearing vented trail runners and just walking through the water is your best bet. Your feet will dry as you hike, and the cool water feels good on your feet. Some people bring sandals and dry shoes and switch back, but it’s a waste of time.
  • If you are skillful, you can also rock-hop across most crossings. A lot depends on how high the river is. Having trekking poles will help you balance across the rocks.
  • In the summer it can get brutally hot. Bring at least 1L of water if not more. Winters can be in the 40-60F range, and you should dress accordingly.
  • Some sections of the trail are a little overgrown; you may get brushed with vegetation. Even though this is the case, shorts are the best choice given the river crossings.
  • Bring a small quick-dry towel to dry off if you want to swim in the pools by the bridge.
  • Pack some snacks. 10 miles is a long hike, and you’ll need the energy.

Gear 2022 8

I waste my time with lousy hiking gear so you don’t have to. Only the winners get onto my gear page. There’s no fluff, sponsorships, or promotions. It’s just gear I personally use, have tested, and recommend. Right now I’m liking my inReach Mini 2 , Garmin Epix , and Lone Peak 6 shoes .
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My November 2022 Top Gear Picks

FYI ➤ Big REI Sale On Now Including Big Discounts on Hiking Tech Like inReach / Garmin Watches

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Bridge to Nowhere Trail Maps

Bridge Full

The hike to the Bridge to Nowhere follows the East Fork of the San Gabriel River upstream until you reach the bridge. As long as you are going upstream, you’re heading the right way.

I like to break the hike up into 3 sections:

  • Trailhead to the first river crossing: 1 mile
  • Walk along the river: 3 miles
  • Ridge to the bridge: 1 mile

This helps me mentally tackle the hike and know how far I’ve gone. Once you’re at the bridge, you simply return the same way that you came.

There are no big climbs on the hike. All of the elevation change comes from small ups and downs along the way.

Guides to Help You Navigate

Bridge to Nowhere Hike Directions

There are also free ways to help out here! Hike through the gate at the end of the parking lot. After a short stretch downhill you’ll arrive at Heaton Flats. Keep hiking straight.

Who was Heaton? He was a miner that lived and worked here from 1891 until the 1920s. Today you can still see people hunting for gold along the river. There’s a good documentary on Vimeo called “LA Miner” that’s free and worth a watch.

Pass the junction to the Heaton Flats Trail on your right. At the end of Heaton Flats the road ends and the hike switches to a single track trail. The trail follows the side of the cliff. The photo is scarier than it actually is. When you get to the river, follow the right bank upstream. After about a mile, you’ll reach the first river crossing (of six total). Cross over and continue upstream on the other side. The trail is spectacular as it hugs the cliff along the narrow gorge. When you get to the old road bridge ruins, pass the last one and then go to the river. Cross the river to the right side at the second river crossing, just after the ruins of the bridge. As you head upstream on the right side, climb the granite to continue on the trail. The trail is hidden just above the short climb by the arrow. And shortly after that last climb, you’ll come to another boulder by the riverside. Go around the boulder to the right to continue on the trail. After about 2.5 miles you’ll reach the John Seals Bridge over Laurel Gulch, created by the volunteers of the San Gabriel Mountain Trailbuilders. The bridge was airlifted here with a helicopter. You’re also entering the Sheep Mountain Wilderness, named after the bighorn sheep that roam in these hills.

Bridge To Nowhere Directions 15

If you look down here, you’ll see the asphalt from the road that once connected where we started at the trailhead to the bridge.

In 1929 work started on the East Fork Road, which was going to connect San Gabriel Valley with Wrightwood to the north. The bridge was a vital link on that road and was built in 1936. But only two years later, in 1938, catastrophic flooding in the San Gabriel River washed the road away, leaving only, well, you guessed it, a Bridge to Nowhere.

After you pass the sign and the trail opens up, look up on the cliff wall ahead. Here’s the famous “Swan Rock.” If you can’t see it, the head and neck are on the left. Shortly after Swan Rock you’ll reach the third river crossing. This one is tricky. Once you cross over, cross right back (past the cliff) to continue. There are trails on the left bank, but they are not the main trail. The trail climbs up on a ridge above the river. And then you’ll come to the fifth river crossing. Hike to the other side. Once across look for the trail continuing upstream. When you get to the boulder, cross back over and continue upstream on the right side. That’s the last river crossing. As you head upstream, look toward the ridge up on the right. As you continue upstream you’ll see a clear trail heading up onto the ridge. That’s the small climb you’ll take to hit the ridge. Hike along the ridge to the bridge. It’s about a mile once climbing up to the bridge. When the trail widens you’ll see a sign listing the rules for the private property you’re about to hike on (from the bungee jumping company). Please be respectful of the rules. And here you are, the Bridge to Nowhere! If you want the nice view of the bridge, continue to the other side and follow the trail along the ridge. When you reach the sign, turn around for a picture-perfect view of the bridge. If you want to swim or chill at the river, carefully hike down the slope to a series of swimming holes.

That’s it! When you’re done at the bridge, just hike back the way you came.

Have a question about the guide or want to see what other people are saying/asking? View the Youtube comments for this video. Leave a comment and I will do my best to respond.

17 Highest Bungee Jumps in the United States

While bungee jumping may have been invented in New Zealand, the United States is home to more than a few prime bungee jumping spots where adrenaline junkies can really get their heart pumping. However, jumpers have to be careful these days. Many states in the United States have banned bungee jumping due to various accidents and deaths. Even in states where it is legal, it is still recommended that jumpers go with a recognized company for their own safety. Whether it is jumping off buildings or bridge, there are plenty of places where extreme sports enthusiast or scared, yet curious beginners can harness themselves in safely and take the dive.

Air Boingo Tower by Zero Gravity in Dallas, Texas

For those that want to start off small, the Air Boingo Tower brought to the masses by Zero Gravity Theme Park is the place to do it. This tower is located in the middle of the Metroplex and drop visitors 70 feet safely. The Air Boingo Tower was specifically designed for bungee jumping so the more apprehensive newbies to this extreme sport don’t have to worry about hitting their head or getting snagged. This is just one of the many surprising things that visitors to Dallas will find at the Zero Gravity Theme Park.

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Track Family Recreation Center in Destin, Florida

The Track Family Recreation Center has all the fun that any person could want with mini golf, batting cages, go karts and, for the more daring, a bungee jumping tower. They have had everything that locals and visitors to the area could possibly want to do and now there is the more exciting attraction of bungee jumping. The tower at the Track Family Recreation Center is specifically designed for bungee jumping and allows visitors to drop an exciting 75 feet down. This is a great way to experience the sport for those that are just beginning their bungee jumping adventures.

Bungee Tower by Mount Hood Adventure Park in Government Camp, Oregon

The Mount Hood Adventure Park offers a slew of adventurous entertainment to Oregon locals and visitors alike; however the highlight of their park is their bungee tower. The bungee tower allows visitors to jump and drop 100 feet. This makes the bungee tower in Mount Hood Adventure Park the ninth highest bungee tower in the United States and the seventy-seventh highest jump off of anything in the United States. While some towers merely drop visitors from a trap door, this bungee jump tower involves a bit more effort. Visitors can full on jump, lean, dive or fall off the edge as they see fit. This method requires a bit more bravery but only enhances the rush.

Highway 21 Bridge by Bungee Expeditions in Boise, Idaho

For those who are ready to graduate from tower jumping to the more exciting and scenic bridge jumping but like, don’t want to jump from anything too high, Bungee Expeditions has a good place to start in Idaho. The bridge that connects Highway 21 is located just 10 minutes from Downtown Boise. Hardcore jumpers may be put off by the small height of this bridge, but it is still crazy fun. Bungee jumpers here fall 100 feet down to the Boise River below. Visitors will dangle just a few feet above the river below and bounce just a few feet below the under structure of the bridge. Visitors should hit up this spot sooner rather than later as many rally to close this bungee jumping location.

Sierra Nevada Mountains Bridge by Bungee Adventures in Sacramento, California

Bungee Adventures leads jump groups to a variety of bridges in Northern California, from trees and cliffs to bridges, these guys will take groups to jump off of anything. The Sierra Nevada Mountains Bridge is among one of the favorites and is considered Bungee Adventures primary location. The Sierra Nevada Mountains Bridge is a railway bridge that runs between the mountains in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range next to Lake Tahoe. Though Bungee Adventures is located in Sacramento, this jump is, of course, located closer to the Nevada border. Jumpers at this bridge enjoy a brilliant 100 foot jump while taking in the beautiful mountain landscape.

Bridge to Nowhere by Bungee America in El Segundo, California

Bridge To Nowhere

The Bridge to Nowhere is the absolute favorite of residents in Southern California. Not only is the jump thrilling but the bridge itself is an odd mystery. The Bridge to Nowhere is a lonely bridge surrounded on all sides by the Sheep Mountain Wilderness. The bridge runs over the San Gabriel River, but doesn’t connect two roads; instead it just dead ends into a mountain after the road project in the 1930’s was scrapped. Those who jump off the Bridge to Nowhere with the Bungee America company jump from the bridge in a 100 foot fall over the raging, fast moving water of the San Gabriel River and surrounded on all sides by a high walled gorge.

Royal Gorge Bridge by GoFast! Games in Canyon City, Colorado

Royal Gorge Bridge

Royal Gorge Bridge

The Royal Gorge Bridge is a massive 1,260 foot long suspension bridge that runs over the Arkansas River. This bridge towers 150 feet above the Arkansas River and up until 2003, was considered the tallest bridge in the world. However, bungee jumpers can’t just take their 150 foot plunge any time of the year. Bungee jumping and BASE jumping off this bridge are only legal during the 3 day event of the GoFast! Games, which are by invitation only. During those three extreme days, extreme sports enthusiasts jump off the bridge for a massive rush and, at times, to attempt world records.

Redwood Forest Trees by Bungee Adventures in Humboldt, California

Redwood Forest

When a bungee jumper visits a redwood forest and stares up at those tall old trees, there is only one thought they have, “I bet it would be fun to jump off that.” However, they can’t just bungee jump off of those historic trees all willy-nilly. Bungee Adventures is the only company that has legal permission to lead bungee jump trips off of a redwood. This trip is really three adventures in one. First jumpers must climb the tree, then tight rope walk between two trees and they do a huge 150 foot bungee jump off of the tree. Brave first timers are welcomed to do this, but the more seasoned bungee jumper may be more comfortable on this adventure.

Parrotts Ferry Bridge by Bungee Experience in Pioneer, California

Parrotts Ferry Bridge

The Parrotts Ferry Bridge is a reservoir bridge over the New Melones Lake reservoir in Central California’s Calaveras County. Between the clean blue waters of New Melones Lake and the green rolling hills of Central California, jumpers will not want for scenery. The bridge itself is also beautiful, if only for its simplicity. This jump, lead by the tour operator Bungee Experience takes visitors to the bridge and offers them both a safe and beautiful 180 foot jump over the waters below. While this is higher than most beginner bridge jumpers are used to, the simplicity of the bridge is rather soothing seeing as there are no extras on it that they have to worry about hitting their head on. It is encouraging for the less brave, but still a bit daunting.

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Pacific Northwest Bridge by Bungee Masters in Amboy, Washington

Located just 25 miles from Seattle, the Pacific Northwest Bridge is a favorite bungee jumping location for those that enjoy it in the Emerald City. Those who want to bungee jump on their own are unlikely to find this bridge without a lot of difficulty; however the Bungee Masters company knows just where to go. The Pacific Northwest Bridge is a private bridge that offers an exciting 200 foot fall surrounded by beautiful green forest in which the state of Washington is famous for. This jump has visitors hopping over the edge and over a small river located in a deep forested gorge; it is a thrill for the more advanced jumpers.

Northern California Bridges by Icarus Bungee in Alameda, California

Icarus Bungee has a variety of tours for all levels of bungee jumpers. However, their Northern California Bridges tour takes jumpers to the highest and most exciting bridges in Northern California. On this massive tour, they take visitors to 15 different bridges that can vary depending on weather and different conditions. The highest bridge features a 220 foot drop can be located as far as five hours from their home base in San Francisco. Unfortunately, the bridges they jump from are carefully guarded trade secrets, so solo jumpers will have to find them on their own (or remember the locations from the tour). However, they really frown upon the locations being given away. These secret bridges feature beautiful Californian scenery and are often above beautiful turquoise water.

Crooked River Bridge by Bungee Expeditions in Boise, Idaho

Crooked River Bridge

Crooked River Bridge

Bungee Expeditions in Boise, Idaho takes visitors across the border to Bend, Oregon for the extreme jump from Crooked River Bridge. This giant steel arch bridge spans over the Crooked River gorge and has a length of 464 feet and dangles 300 feet over the canyon below. An adventure to Crooked River Bridge can easily be split into two adventures as it is located near the famous Smith Rock climbing area. Bungee Jumpers get to take a 300 foot leap off this sturdy bridge where they can enjoy the stony canyon walls and the green river bed below.

High Steel Bridge by Bungee Expeditions in Shelton, Washington

High Steel Bridge

Wikipedia

Once again, Bungee Expeditions leaves their home base in Boise, Idaho to experience some epic jumps in another state. This time, this tour operator takes groups to Shelton, Washington for one of the top bungee jumping locations in the United States–the High Steel Bridge. The bridge dangles between two sides of a canyon over a small river. The canyon itself has a maximum depth of 400 feet; however because of some particularly sharp rocks below, bungee jumpers only get a 365 feet drop, for their own safety. This jump is not only adrenaline pumping for the more advanced jumper but showcases the beautiful wilderness of the Pacific Northwest.

Hansen Bridge by Bungee Expeditions in Eden, Idaho

Hansen Bridge

Hansen Bridge is an Idaho favorite for the advanced bungee jumper because of it extreme height. This narrow bridge is located over Snake River just a little bit away from the more famous Perrine Bridge. The Hanson Bridge, however, is much narrower and has a higher feel to it. Jumpers here are treated to an exhilarating 400 foot fall over the beautiful river below. Individual jumpers that want to jump Hansen Bridge should be careful though. The area is notorious for strong winds at times, some of which has even filled semi-trucks.

Navajo Bridge by Bungee Expeditions in Marble Canyon, Arizona

Navajo Bridge

It’s no jump off the Grand Canyon, but it is as close as bungee jumpers in Arizona are going to get. The Navajo Bridge spans over a beautiful red rock desert gorge and is the 10th highest jump bridge in the United States. This gorge and bridge are located just north of the rim of the Grand Canyon and spans over the Colorado River. Bungee jumpers can expect a thrilling jump of 467 feet with excellent views of the surrounding area.

Perrine Bridge by Bungee Expeditions in Twin Falls, Idaho

Perrine Bridge

Bridge over the Snake

For those who enjoyed jumping from the Hansen Bridge in Idaho, why not try the nearby Perrine Bridge? This bridge is wider and has a longer drop than Hansen Bridge and dangles over a larger portion of the Snake River. This massive bridge features a stunning 500 foot drop; the only problem is that it is highly restricted. There have been a few bungee jumping accidents here because of the notorious winds, so this bridge is only open to bungee jumpers one day a year.

Rio Grande Bridge by Bungee Expeditions in Taos, New Mexico

Rio Grande Bridge by Bungee Expeditions in Taos, New Mexico

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41785120@N00/5836757843/

Had your fill of the smaller bridges and find yourself ready to move onto the highest jump? The highest jump in the United States is from the Rio Grande Bridge and measures among one of the highest bungee jumping spots in the world. This drop is not only the highest in the United States, but it is also the most expensive place to jump from. Visitors who aim to conquer this New Mexican beauty will find themselves falling for a stunning 680 feet off the bridge over the Rio Grande river below. It is truly a thrill like no other.

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