East Fork, San Gabriel River, Ranger Station to the Narrows
Day Hike and bungee jump
Saturday, September 18, 1993
When:Be at the trail head by 10:00 AM. Allow 90 minutes driving time from the South Bay.
Statistics: MODERATE; 10 miles round trip; 1000' elevation gain to 2800' at the top.
Reference: John W. Robinson, Trails of the Angeles, Hike #84. "The scenery here is monumental, on a scale seen nowhere else in the San Gabriels. The gorge of the East Fork cuts deep into the eastern high country... The rise from the floor of The Narrows to the top of Iron Mountain (8007') is 5200' in 1.75 horizontal miles!"
Topo Maps: Glendora, Crystal Lake, Mount San Antonio
Driving Directions: From the South Bay, take the 91 east, then the 605 north, then the 210 east, then California 39 (Azusa Avenue) north for 10 miles, driving past two reservoirs (Morris Reservoir and San Gabriel Reservoir). Then turn east on San Gabriel River Road (East Fork Road) and continue 8 more miles to the East Fork Ranger station. Park just below the station. A $3 per vehicle per day parking permit is required weekends and holidays. You can obtain a parking permit at the U.S. Forest Service entrance station just north of Asuza, which is open approx. 8 AM to 5 PM. Better yet, you can obtain a parking permit at the "Stop-N-Go" minimart at the intersection of Azusa and Sierra Madre, SW corner (the last traffic light before leaving Azusa going north), which is always open. At the roadhead, the leader will obtain a self-issued Forest Service hiking permit for the group.
Trail Description: This is another try at the hike we began two years ago. Wear wading shoes. The trail crosses the creek bed about a dozen times. We will not stop to pick our way across on rocks, but will wade boldy across!
From Robinson: "Walk north along the roadbed that follows the high bench east of the river for 1/2 miles before dropping to the canyon floor. Your trail now follows the river, fording its shallow but [knee-deep 9-93] rushing waters [many] times. You pass remnants of the old East Fork Road, a paved highway to The Narrows that was destroyed in the great flood of March 1938. In 2 miles you pass under Swan Rock, a towering wall west of the river with the outline of a giant swan etched in gray. When the canyon broadens and curves northwest [about 2 miles north of Swan Rock], climb to your right and follow the old roadbed high above the river. In another 1/2 mile you turn north again, decend 100 feet and reach a highway bridge seemingly out of place. This is the famous "BRIDGE TO NOWHERE", the most imposing remnant of the East Fork Road of yesteryear. Cross the bridge and turn right, following a narrow trail that drops into the heart of The Narrows, the most impressive gorge in the Angeles. In 1/4 mile, down to your right just above the tumultuous river, is Narrows Trail Camp, beckoning you to stay overnight.
"Note: The area adjacent to the "Bridge to Nowhere" is private property. Some mining exploratory work is being done. Hikers are allowed to cross the bridge and contnue through the upper Narrows, but please respect private property."
Bring: 10 essentials. including at least 2 qts. water per person. Gold pan if you want to look for gold. $40 if you want to bungee-jump.
Leader: RSVP to Bruce Hamilton so I can keep you informed of any last-minute changes. Flash floods will cancel. We'll probably dine somewhere in Azusa after the hike.