Anza Borrego's Carrizo Gorge / Goat Canyon Trestle

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by NWB, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. NWB

    NWB Rain or Shine Rider

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
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    San Diego
    Some friends and I wanted to make our 1st ride of 2016 more than just a run to the local brewery. We had recently seen another inmates post on the Trestle, and was inspired to go check it out. The starting point is at the Jacumba exit about 1 hr east of San Diego on I8. After researching a bit more online I found multiple historical sites that discuss the tracks and trestle being completed in 1919 by railroad owner John D. Spreckels. It required the construction of 17 tunnels and numerous trestles.

    The riders in the other post were on 4 KLR's. He wrote about having to lift their bike up and over the tracks. Not something I looked forward to with a 585lb bike. And I found a handful of videos on youtube of smaller dirtbikes riding out to the trestle. Turns out it's a popular hike, and mountain bike excursion. While we were there we met/passed about 15 hikers making their way out and back. I was concerned that our big adv bikes were too big, but agreed with my friends to say, "what the hell. let's give it a shot." So we have a 2009 BMW GSA, 2011 BMW GSA, and an 2009 KLR.


    Starting point at the Shell Station around 10am. Then head back west on the dirt road on the south side of the hwy. Once you cross under the hwy you'll be parallel to the track. We just looked for an opening and passed over.

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    Took a bit of clutch work to get the front wheel over the first rail but the rear tire was easier.

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    The first set of abandoned rail cars is not that far from the start.
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    Pretty cool to explore the inside of these cars. Just left out to rot in the desert.

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    The first bridge to cross comes up right after the 1st set of cars near the start. We walked it once just to see what is was like, but then jumped on the bike and motored across. No issues.

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    And we're off....
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    Second set of train cars.

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    To make life easier with big bikes we improvised ramps to assist getting the front wheel back and forth over the rails. We chose to do this a bunch of times since there is a small/narrow trail/path the runs along the tracks. So instead of vibrating to death the whole way we bounced back and forth. Staying inside the rails when the path narrowed to close for comfort or when it came to an end altogether. Otherwise we tried to stay off the tracks as much as possible. But it turned out to be about 50/50.

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    Beer break.

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    It was cool riding through the tunnels. Some were short others were so long you couldn't see the other end when you entered.
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    The Trestle.
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    We rode across the other side to make sure we had it completely checked of the bucket list. I rode across on the metal grate the others went down the middle. Both were fine.

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    While on the north side we drank another beer, had some lunch and chatted with a handful of hikers that were there exploring. Apparently there is a dry waterfall you can hike to from this point. But we weren't going to tackle that in our riding gear.

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    Headed back out the way we came.

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    It's a long drop of that right side! A little spooky.

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    To get over the rails we used what ever was handy when we needed it.

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    Back at the beginning we got back over the rails, crossed back on to the dirt road and head back towards the Shell Station. We took our time and enjoyed ourselves. Starting at 10am and finishing back at the Shell around 330pm.The weather was great for us all day, but about 330 it started getting cooler and darn cold as we went back over the hill near Mt Laguna. From there we made a bee-line to the Alpine Tavern to warm up by the fire with nice cold Sculpin ;)
    #1
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  2. THolmer

    THolmer Adventurer

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    Looks like a fun time you guys had. What was the purpose of the rail line and why was it abandoned?
    #2
  3. NWB

    NWB Rain or Shine Rider

    Joined:
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    eTHolmer- We certainly had fun. It's hard not to... when your on two wheels, riding with friends, and challenging yourself a bit. The 148 mile rail line was built to connect San Diego to El Centro. Construction began in 1907 and was finally completed in 1919. With 17 tunnels the line was 'plagued' with tunnel cave-ins and rock slides damaging the line. In 1932 a rock slide took out the big trestle and it was rebuilt. Then again in 1976 multiple tunnels and bridges were damaged. I think it was shut down then.

    I got my history lesson on the line from two videos a 30min

    )

    and a 5min



    Pretty interesting.
    #3
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  4. beachz

    beachz Adventurer

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    Monument, CO USA
    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing! I really need to relocate out west!!!
    #4
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  5. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

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    Bitchin' ride! Thanks!
    #5
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  6. Ol Man

    Ol Man Long timer Supporter

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    Sweet!
    #6
  7. rider914

    rider914 Agnostic Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Very cool guys :thumb

    Rode the rail once in '05 from the Ocotillo side.
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    We made it as far as the 3rd or 4th tunnel where there were signs of recent repair work.
    No safe place along the sides or in between so we had to turn around.
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    Went back again in '08 (again from Ocotillo side) and found that the line was active.
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    We spotted a short freight train entering the gorge and followed it, figuring we wouldn't meet another train coming the other way in the tunnels.

    There it is crossing the Goat Cyn Trestle.
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    We made it to the trestle, rode across, turned around, and headed back.
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    Riding thru the long curved tunnels was spooky. I think there were much longer ones on your end :eekers
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    (Sorry for the hijack.) :norton

    -M
    #7
  8. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am. Supporter

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    NWB,

    Fantastic write up on a SoCal treasure, and wonderful photography capturing it!

    It's always been one of those 'gotta go' places for me, you just moved the meter way up.

    rider914, real nice too!:thumb

    Thanks for posting.
    #8
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  9. Bike Guy

    Bike Guy Long timer

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    Looks like a great adventure. Reminds me of a Mexico trip hopping the rails numerous times
    #9
  10. Taco Pizza Pat

    Taco Pizza Pat Man of Leisure

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    Mar 21, 2011
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    I've hiked to the trestle a few times, but never thought I could get there on a big bike. Time to rethink things. Thanks for the inspiration!!
    #10
  11. Mudclod

    Mudclod Mojo Moto

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    Nice! Tunnels are cool in the summer.
    #11
  12. Sableye

    Sableye Adventurer

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    Nice pics :) Good grief that bridge looks high! The train tunnels look cool :)

    Sent from my Vodafone Smart ultra 6 using Tapatalk
    #12
  13. 2 SPOT

    2 SPOT bring the rape whistle

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    Payson AZ
    nice report,,, but lets bring this thread back and ask the Q,,, when did hiking boots become riding gear not to hike in:lol3
    #13