The Bridge to Nowhere
Years ago, if you had told me I would love hiking, I would have told you to stop playing around. I didn't really get the appeal of walking through wilderness, I was scared of bugs and dirt, and I would have honestly rather been watching Gossip Girl indoors. I don't really know when I started to love hiking so much, but once I began running, I think hiking just became somewhat of a natural extension of being outdoors.
Rancho Cucamonga is nestled right beneath the base of the mountains, so trails are pretty abundant and easy to find in this area. The nearby countryside of Tennessee and my semester in South Africa only heightened my interest in hiking. Hiking has led me to some of the most beautiful places--overlooking cities, watching sunrises over lakes and rivers, and standing atop a rocky mountain. I realized I had been ignoring such a beautiful world surrounding me for so many years. Plus, hiking has led me to some beautiful realizations. Clarity comes when you're all alone on a dirt trail with only the noise of the breeze blowing through the leaves.
I typically hike in the 3-6 mile range, exhausted after trekking through uneven trails and up steep hills. However, I began this summer wanting a challenge. In comes the Bridge to Nowhere.
The Bridge to Nowhere is a fairly well-known 10-12 mile roundtrip hike in the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County near Azusa. The trailhead is in a canyon and eventually leads to a bridge that goes nowhere (shocker, I know). The bridge was never completed on both ends, so it has a bit of a creepy, abandoned, and old-timey feel. People typically bungee jump off the bridge on the weekends, but I trekked on a weekday (ignoring the fact that bungee jumping completely freaks me out). The unshaded trail follows a river and the bridge eventually overlooks this river.
My best friend, Audrey, is my typical 5-mile-loop hiking partner, but we decided to be ambitious and give the Bridge to Nowhere a try. We loaded up early one morning to beat the heat (and traffic) and drove to the trailhead. We trekked through the river, up hills, and through a lot of dirt and rocks and finally ended up on the scenic bridge. Embarrassingly enough, even on a well-defined trail, we still got lost for a solid 45 minutes though (here's to extra distance!). The view from the bridge was beautiful and we enjoyed some snacks up top. We eventually made our way back and though we about crawled the last two miles, we did it--in 5 hours at that! The elevation gain was gradual, and the river crossings cooled you off.
Though I was pretty sore the next day, I am so proud of us for conquering something new! Who else can say they have hiked 12 miles?! What hike recommendations do you have? I'm ready for another new one!
Tips for this hike:
- Bring LOTS of water. I recommend a Camelback. We definitely did not bring enough water!
- Bring (and reapply) sunscreen. I had a pretty nasty burn because the trail is unshaded!
- Bring some snacks. The hike takes a pretty sizable amount of time and you're constantly moving. You're bound to get hungry! I suggest the (name-fitting) Trek Mix from Trader Joe's and an apple or two!
- Bring an extra pair of shoes and socks for the ride back. You cross (or wade if you are as short as I am) the river plenty and your shoes and socks will end up soaking and squishy. Not fun for the ride back!
- Make sure to snag an adventure pass to put on your car on your way up through the canyon in the campground's general store! Its $5 and much cheaper than a ticket!
- Hike with someone you like--it's truthfully a long, hot day--and definitely made right by your company.
- Make a reservation to bungee jump BEFOREHAND if that is your thing!
- Have fun and snag a few pictures!