Hike Organizer: Paul Kemp
Location: Azusa, CA
Hike Difficulty: Moderate to difficult, 6/10
Distance: 9 1/2 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet
Time: 5-6 hours
The scenery along this trail is monumental, on a scale seen nowhere else in the San Gabriel Mountains. The gorge of the East Fork cuts deep into the eastern high country, separating such giants of the range as Mount Baden-Powell and Old Baldy. This is nature in it's grandest portions, at least in Southern California!
The trail follows along the banks of the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, fording its shallow but rushing waters several times along the way. We will pass under Swan Rock, a towering wall west of the river with the outline of a giant swan etched in grey, before reaching the famous "Bridge to Nowhere," the most imposing remnant of the East Fork Road of yesteryear. The mysterious bridge was built in 1936 but the road leading to it was swept away by flooding in 1938.
The hot weather is here so its time for the perfect summer hike. The hike itself is moderate but be prepared to get wet if necessary as there are several boulder-hopping river crossings along the way. That doesn't mean wearing sandals or flip-flops but a good pair of hiking boots or shoes you don't mind getting wet. Bring at least 2 liters of water, sunblock, and lunch to eat when we reach the bridge. Also, there is bungee jumping off the bridge if you feel so inclined!
DIRECTIONS: From the 210 freeway exit at Azusa Avenue (Highway 39) and head north for 10 miles or so. Azusa Avenue becomes San Gabriel Canyon Road and parallels the San Gabriel Dam on the right. Turn right on East Fork Road and continue for another 8 miles until the road dead ends at the East Fork Ranger Station. Park in the lot or beside the road below the ranger station.
The parking situation at the trailhead is usually very tight so carpooling is recommended. The carpool location is Monrovia Park and Ride, located on Pomona Av. west of Myrtle Avenue and just south of the 210 freeway, at 7.0 a.m.