Open Roads Forum

Print  |  Close

Topic: Goat Canyon Trestle 3/12 - 3/14

Posted By: FishPOET on 03/14/10 06:02pm

I left Norco at 10am on Friday March 12. I stopped in Poway to deliver some plaques. I drove out Scripps Poway Parkway to Hwy 67 and south to I-8. Poway is a fantastic area. Once in Ocotillo I headed North on S2. I headed West on EC119 "Dos Cabezas Rd" EC119 ended at EC158 and that took me 6 miles into to camp. I was in camp by 2pm. Bill from the So Cal 4x4 Geocachers arrived at 3pm. We did a little exploring in his Highlander and we were back to camp around 5pm. Clark and James from Expo arrived just after 5pm. We had dinner and sat around the campfire until 9:30pm. We saw the fireworks show from NAS El Centro. The wind started picking up around 9pm and it blew most of the night.

Friday night/Saturday morning camp

Saturday morning at 8:30am Mat and Scott from MJR showed up in camp followed shortly by John. We arrived at the Mortero Palms trailhead right at 9am and met up with Vern. After a short tailgate meeting the 8 of us hit the trail.

First stop was Mortero Palms.

We continued our route up Palm Canyon

Taking a break in Palm Canyon

A nice view of the valley we started in far below


View of our route


More climbing

Still gaining altitude

View of our route

Carter and Butkus (the dogs) taking a water break

Mat & Scott just before we reached our highest elevation.

We finally reach Goat Canyon and start our descent.

As we start our descent into Goat Canyon we had 2 Cobra's buzz by


A huge Barrel Cactus. Looks more like a Saguaro Cactus.

Descending around the first dry waterfall

Descending in Goat Canyon

Taking a break in Goat Canyon

Descending in Goat Canyon

We can't see the trestle bridge yet but we get our first sight of the tracks off in the distance.

We come to our second and much larger dry waterfall that we must navigate around.

We climbed down this chute

And we get our first glimpse of the trestle

A little closer


This is what we just came down

Goat Canyon

The original plan was to build a longer tunnel and a much smaller trestle. This is the opening to the tunnel that failed.

Eye level with the tracks

We arrived at the trestle at 1pm. We had lunch and took pictures. We were back in camp at 4:30pm. The wind was howling so we moved closer to the mountains in Dos Cabezas Camp.

I was exhausted. I ate, cleaned up and I was in bed by 7pm. I think everyone was in bed by 9pm. The wind finally stopped blowing at 10pm.

Dos Cabezas Camp on Sunday morning.

Sunday morning was gorgeous. I said my goodbyes to everyone at 8am and hit the road for home. I was home at 1pm.

This was one of the most rewarding hikes I have ever been on. The scenery was spectacular and the trestle is amazing.

An excellent video about the Goat Canyon Trestle.

Posted By: Bert the Welder on 03/14/10 06:19pm

Great pic's!!! Thanks. A place like this is on my list of places to camp. So different than my usually surroundings here in BC. As a kid of the 70's, these type of places always remind me of movies and TV shows of the era. I'm assuming this is in Cali. some where?

1998 GMC 2500, 10.5 Okanagan, My better/smarter half, George and Finnegan(APBT), all I need.

Posted By: kohldad on 03/14/10 06:40pm

So what GeoCache made y'all hike that far out into such wanderful country?

I don't think I ever had enough energy to hike that far with such an elevation change. Guess I need to get off this computer and start walking more.

Thanks for sharing the fantastic journey.

Photo Albums
2015 Ram 3500 4x4 Crew Cab SRW 6.4 Hemi LB
2004 Lance 815 (prev: 2004 FW 35'; 1994 TT 30'; Tents)

Posted By: MuddyPaws1 on 03/14/10 06:40pm

wow it's like a prehistoric planet. Looks cool.

Posted By: Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli on 03/14/10 06:26pm

Very nice. I'm tired just thinking about your hike.
Thanks for posting.

The video is pretty cool too.

* This post was edited 03/14/10 06:35pm by Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli *

Camper Jeff and Kelli's Blog!


Posted By: USAFBILL on 03/14/10 06:52pm


Posted By: silversand on 03/15/10 08:40am

Wow man, what a hiking extravaganza and SUPERB camp ! The landscape is both brutal and stunningly beautiful.

Can you whip-up a rough map for us? Nothing fancy, just a placer...

Into TR it goooooooes...


2004 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4x4 6.0L Ext/LB Tow Package 4L80E Michelin AT2s| Outfitter Caribou

Posted By: kohldad on 03/15/10 08:45am

Found this web page when looking for info on the trustle. About 10 years old, but seeems like it should still be reasonably accurate.

Also found out that the train track is suppose to be active, restored and operated by Carrizo Gorge Railroad.

Hope this helps.

Posted By: weymard on 03/15/10 06:30am

Awesome landscape, thanks.

Lance 815 2007
France, Normandy

Posted By: routeforty on 03/14/10 09:22pm

thanks for posting the pics. NICE!!! Gary

'05 chevy 3500, duramax, allison, '00 Coachmen Futura 2790 TT, 35th anniversary edition, 05 lance 1130-stable lift

Posted By: RenoAl on 03/14/10 09:50pm

Nice report. Gotta take a hike that way one day. So how many miles?

2005 Dodge 3500 DRW:Firestone air bags w/ in dual cab control, Rancho 9000, Helwig sway bar, 55 gal fuel tank, cold air box
2005 Lance 1191: generator, TV, A/C, solar
Bayliner 19.5 Capri & 12 ft. Gregor
1965 TBird
Rosie the dog

Posted By: FishPOET on 03/14/10 08:00pm

Bert the Welder wrote:

I'm assuming this is in Cali. some where?
Yep. Google map: Dos Cabezas, San Diego, California

kohldad wrote:

So what GeoCache made y'all hike that far out into such wanderful country?

Anza Borego Desert State Park outlawed all geocaches inside the park in December 2007. GC219B Is an old archived cache near the trestle.

Posted By: jefe 4x4 on 03/14/10 09:00pm

Thanks for the ride. We've been fans of the SDA&E for a long time (the San Diego Arizona and Eastern). A couple trips we camped down near Dos Cabesas, but walked the trackage all the way up to the Goat. It's the largest still-standing wooden railroad trestle in the U.S. There are a lot of tunnels on the way. The line was washed out in 1976 when a hurricane blew through.
Thanks for the memories.
Our camp at Dos Cabesas. This was January during a rain storm.

regards, as always, jefe

'01.5 Dodge 2500 4x4, CTD, HO, Qcab, SB, TC package, NV5600, 241HD, PwrLoc,
H.D. susp, 3.54:1, MT33x13.50R16 frnt, MT33/15.50R16 rr,
Rancho 9K's, Warn M15K winch/grill guard,Titan V.
'98 Lance Squire Lite 165s, 8' 6" Xtra Cab (narrow with N/S bed)

Posted By: whazoo on 03/14/10 07:22pm

Holy Smokey Joes, I want to go there. Fandamntastic scenery and a great hike to boot. Can a guy climb that ladder up the trestle? And let's talk about the work building that thing, that was when men were men. I've always been amazed at the work men have done it the "old days". I fully believe we're too sissified now-a-days, but at least we can hike to and marvel at what they've done. Congrats on a great hike and trip report.

* This post was edited 03/14/10 08:56pm by whazoo *

Posted By: hikerdmb on 03/15/10 07:15pm

Excellent trip report and pics. Your pics brought back lots of memories. I did that hike in the 90's and standing on that trestle and looking down through the tracks is a somewhat thrilling thing to do. When we did the hike we went over the mountains pretty much on the same path as you and then followed the tracks back down the canyon, through the old tunnels, one was completely caved in so we had to go around, and then we came out through the Indian Hill area. Then we started following the dirt roads back to the trail head. That was one long day. One thing that really was great was that we were able to hitch a ride on the back of a truck for about a mile, plus the driver gave us a very very cold Silver Bullet to drink on the way. Probably the best beer I ever had in the desert. I love angels of the desert like that guy. I think we figured it was about 13 miles for the whole loop. Of course like a previous poster said we did not have to worry about the RR police back then.

2004 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab 4X4 with Hemi
Firestone Ride Rite Airbags
Daystar Leveling Kit
285/75/17 BFG All-Terrain TA
2008 Sun-lite Eagle SB
65 Watt Solar Panel
1997 Jeep TJ Wrangler
Gregory Z-65 Backpack

Posted By: seldomseensmith on 03/15/10 04:51pm

Your trip report rocks... and it has lots of ROCKS! Very nice destination all done in t-shirt weather. Oh, I am SOOOO ready for t-shirt weather. Thanks for a great post and all the associated content.

The Road Goes Ever On

2008 F250 SD 4x4 Supercab, Detroit TrueTrac, Hellwig LP 35, 2006 Outfitter Caribou 6.5

Posted By: c.traveler2 on 03/15/10 02:08pm

Beautiful photos of your amazing adventure. I'm adding this to my future trip list.

2007 F-250 4x4 /6.0 PSD/ext cab/LB/camper pkg..Lance 815/ 85 watts solar panel

Travelingman2 Photo Website
Truck Camper Trip Reports

Posted By: adventureseeker714 on 03/15/10 01:05pm

I've mountain biked ON that tressle... cools stuff. Spectacular pictures, thanks for the memories.

Posted By: Tiger4x4RV on 03/15/10 11:13am

Amazing! Your great photos of a very rugged hike make me glad that I got to go to the trestle via the tracks back when it was allowed. Thanks for sharing!

Posted By: FishPOET on 03/15/10 10:15am

silversand wrote:

Wow man, what a hiking extravaganza and SUPERB camp ! The landscape is both brutal and stunningly beautiful.

Can you whip-up a rough map for us? Nothing fancy, just a placer...

Into TR it goooooooes...



These are the links I recommend along with the video added in the first post.

* This post was edited 03/15/10 01:10pm by FishPOET *

Posted By: FishPOET on 03/15/10 10:28am

kohldad wrote:

Also found out that the train track is suppose to be active, restored and operated by Carrizo Gorge Railroad.

There has not been any rail traffic on the line in a couple of years.

CZRY is the designated freight operator licensed by the Metropolitan Transit System, which is the owner of the line. MTS is an agency of the City of San Diego and they bought the line from Southern Pacific Transportation in late 70's.

From 1984 until the early 2000s people were allowed to walk/bicycle the tracks. Around 2003 the reports started coming in of RR police citing trespassers for walking the tracks.

Carrizo Gorge Railway Police trespass link

The trespass citations lasted into 2009. Rumor mill has it that CZRY has filed for bankruptcy and laid off all the RR police.

An interesting link about some of CZRYs troubles from back in 2008

* This post was edited 03/15/10 10:34am by FishPOET *

Posted By: bigfootford on 03/15/10 08:55am

Great write up....That has been on our list of "TO DO's" for a couple of years...

Hugh Howzer of PBS California Gold did a show on the trestle...They came in from another approach...of which, if I remember correctly, was not a public access....He had a BLM fella with him...

Thanks for the pix's and the write up...


2000 2500 9.6 Bigfoot,94 F250, Vision 19.5, Mich 245/70XDS2's, Bilstein shocks, air bags/pump, EU2000, PD 9260,Lifeline 100ah, 200W. solar, Morningstar Sunsaver 15A/ display panel, Trimetric, Delorme/laptop, Holux gps rec,led lights, Wave-3 heat.

Posted By: cewillis on 03/15/10 09:04am

Wow -- that is one tall 'ladder' in that trestle.
Great pictures.
I agree about Poway -- except during wildfires.


Print  |  Close