North County Cruisers

Goat Canyon Trestle Hike

February 4th, 2012

Hike Leader: Stuart Cook

Our Group

The day had nothing to do with motorcycling but was still very memorable social event for our club. Stuart offered to lead a hike to the Anza Borrego's Goat Canyon Trestle. The trestle is part of the San Diego and Arizona Railway that was built by John D. Spreckels in 1919. The Goat Canyon trestle was built in 1932 after an earthquake collapsed one of the tunnels of the Carrizo Gorge section of the Railway. At 200 feet tall and 750 feet long, it remains to this day the longest, tallest curved wooden trestle ever built in the United States.

Our hiking group included Stuart Cook, Bruce Barnes, Frank and Cynthia Haverkamp, Jack R., Steve Schneider, John Moran and Jerry, Dennis Santi, and Steve Malott. Pictures were taken by Dennis and Steve. We car pooled to the Jacumba exit of Interstate 8 where we parked our cars. We then hiked 7 1/2 miles along the tracks to the trestle where we stopped for lunch..


We soon discovered that the railroad has not been used in a number of years. There were several spots where large rocks had fallen onto the tracks. Railroad ties show signs of decay and you have to watch your step as you cross some of the trestles. Fortunately, there is a trail on one and often both sides of the track. This made the hike easier. We were passed by two different mountain bike groups as we hiked to the trestle.

We hiked thru a total of 10 tunnels as we made our way to Goat Canyon. Two of the tunnels were 0.6 miles long and quite dark. Fortunately, we had all brought flashlights. We could see the "light at the end of the tunnel" but it seemed to take forever to reach the tunnel end.

Dark Tunnel

We encountered abandoned passenger cars and cabooses at two side tracks along the main track. It was interesting to examine the cars. Frank is a retired railroad worker and shared some of his stories with us. He showed us how to read the manufacturing dates on the rails. We did climb on top of a caboose for a group picture.


After several hours of hiking, we emerged from the last tunnel where we saw the Goat Canyon trestle. To the side, we could see the remnants of the tunnel that had been collapsed by the 1932 earthquake. We took a very welcome break for lunch and then took several group pictures. By this point, two of our hikers had developed blisters. They used the trick of covering their blisters with duct tape in order to survive the hike back.


The hike back was uneventful although we were surrounded by very high mountains. If we had a problem, it would take helicopter to reach us. We were quite tired by the time we reached our cars but quite satisfied from the adventure. Our guess is that we hiked at least 17 miles including side trips. We have pictures and memories from a special adventure.