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Jason Hickey/Flickr

Bridge to Nowhere

Bridge to Nowhere
It’s all form and no function at this architectural marvel

The cart was put before the horse when road builders constructed a massive concrete bridge over the San Gabriel River in 1936. Engineers planned to build a direct route from the San Gabriel Valley to Wrightwood, but they finished this mid-point bridge near Azusa long before they built its connecting byways. In 1938, a flood washed out the partly completed road to the south, leaving the 120-foot-high structure stranded. Today, the lonely Bridge to Nowhere still arcs gracefully over the San Gabriel River, providing one of Southern California’s oddest, albeit epic, hiking destinations.

Getting here requires some work. It’s a 10-mile round-trip hike on the East Fork Trail along the San Gabriel River. The trail crosses the river so often that you quickly abandon all hope of dry feet. Typically the flow is only a foot or two deep—refreshing on a warm day—but it can swell to impassable after big storms. The final stretch leads to the high-walled canyon known as the Narrows, where water squeezes through a deep and narrow gorge, spanned by the Bridge to Nowhere. Your first glimpse of the bridge is astonishing—it’s much larger and majestic than you’d expect—but the weirdness doesn’t stop here. This is also the site of Southern California’s only commercial bungee-jumping operation, run by Bungee America. You may get to see a few daredevils take the plunge. Or if your idea of fun is plunging off the side of a bridge, a bungee cord attached to catch your fall, then you could be up there too.

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Southern California

Discover the Inland Empire

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February
Average (°F)
Dec - Feb
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39°
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Mar - May
80°
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June - Aug
94°
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Sept - Nov
91°
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With its inviting destinations and uncrowded wilderness, this region feels like an insider’s secret amid the bustling excitement of Southern California.

Mount San Gorgonio—nicknamed “Old Grayback”—is the tallest peak in Southern California, at 11,502 feet/3,506 meters.

Surprising alpine scenery around Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear beckons, with pine-scented trails in summer and winter sports when the snow flies. If you’re into action, get the adrenaline rush of seeing the world’s best NASCAR racers compete at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. For a dreamier escape, float in a hot-air balloon above rolling Temecula Valley wine country. 

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Chip Morton/Alamy

Spotlight: Temecula Valley

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The Inland Empire area offers under-the-radar wine finds, locavore cuisine, and rolling scenery

A historic town square surrounded by vineyards and rolling hills, with mountains rising in the distance: The...

Santa and Mrs. Claus play with a dog at Skypark at Santa's Village
Courtesy of SkyPark at Santa's Village

SkyPark at Santa’s Village

Hike, bike, ride ziplines, and even meet Santa near Lake Arrowhead

Glide through a forest on a zipline, try out mountain bikes on well-maintained trails, or maybe even sit down for tea with Mrs. Claus. Located...

Riverside
John Bilous

Riverside

Visit this Inland Empire city to learn about its citrus past, stay in a world-famous inn, and tour gardens and galleries

Sixty miles east of Los Angeles, Riverside boasts a number of firsts, including...

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The bald eagle, America’s national bird, flies south from Alaska and Canada to spend winter in the San Bernardino Mountains.
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Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa in Corona is home to Club Mud, California’s only therapeutic red clay mud bath.
SPECIAL FEATURE
Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for kid-friendly fun zones that...

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John/Flickr
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Temecula Valley is known for its variety, growing and producing over 50 different varietals of wine; from Cabernet Sauvignon to Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot to Mourvedre, Viognier to Chardonnay.
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Big Bear Lake

Escape to Southern California’s mountain wonderland

Just two hours from Los Angeles, the San Bernardino Mountains offer a cool, pine-scented escape. At an altitude of 6,759 feet (2,060 meters), Big...

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Dave Lauridsen

Route 66

Get your kicks on America’s legendary highway

Back in its glory days, Route 66 began in Chicago and ended along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific, a 2,451-mile journey through farmlands,...

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Courtesy of Auto Club Speedway

Auto Club Speedway

Rev up for racing action at this classic track

Whether you’re into NASCAR or drag racing, Auto Club Speedway delivers all kinds of thrills for fans of powerful cars and high-speed action. The 2...

March

Get into the checkered-flag spirit at this big and loud NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. Cheer for your favourite drivers as they zoom for the front in this 5-wide race event. The action kicks off...

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Courtesy of Auto Club Speedway
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Trip 3-4 days 10 stops

Route 66 - Mother Road

Legendary Highway, California Dream
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Start your trip in this idyllic oceanfront city, bounded by a 3.5-mi/5.6-km-long beach, and feeling more like a weekend getaway spot than a city just a few minutes west of downtown Los Angeles. Car-free options, including a shuttle to Los Angeles International Airport (8 miles/13 km south) make...

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On your way to this park, you’ll pass through the little community of Borrego Springs. Stop in at the town’s visitor center to get driving maps to an astounding collection of enormous prehistoric animals—metal sculptures made by artist Ricardo Breceda—that dot the surrounding desert landscape....

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The first Balloon and Wine Festival was launched in the spring of 1984 and was a monumental success for a town of only 9,000 residents. More than 4,000 people attended, as 35 balloons were launched from the Rancho California Plaza.
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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Inland Empire Outlets

Find bargains on brand names at major outlet centers

The only thing better than scoring the perfect outfit or designer shoes is to get them for a bargain price. That’s why shopping in the Inland...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

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SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to save on Gucci, Versace, and other big-name brands

With bucket-list magnets like Rodeo Drive and Union Square, California has undeniable star power when it comes to shopping. But all those fashion finds and gifts for everyone back home don’t have...

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Robert Sheie/Flickr
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Brian Stevens

San Bernardino Museums

Discover local and natural history and see art from around the world at area museums

Two local museums let you experience everything from the natural side of the Inland Empire to the treasures of ancient Egypt.

The San...

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Brian Stevens

Idyllwild

Nature and the arts find a perfect balance in this quaint mountain hamlet

Backed by mountain wilderness and filled with galleries, Idyllwild is a haven for both outdoor recreation and the arts.

Steep forested...

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San Bernardino National Forest is the largest urban forest in the United States.
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Alex Farnum

Lake Arrowhead

Escape to an exclusive mountain haven

The drive from San Bernardino to Lake Arrowhead is a quick one—just 23 miles/37 km. But as you twist and climb from the busy valley and into the...