Goat Canyon Trestle
February 29, 2004
By
Larry Clark

Dubbed "The Impossible Railroad", this section of the
railroad has been the fascination of many people. I for one have been interested in this trestle since my dad took me to the model railroad museum in Balboa park. There they had a scaled model of the trestle and I have been interested ever since. The trestle is two hundred feet tall and 750 feet long, it's the tallest curved wooden trestle ever built in the world.
There were only 4 of us that decided to do the hike:
Myself, Mike-G, Brian Masters(AKA John Doe Generic) and Bill (AKA Radical Geezer from Geocaching.com).

We started at the desert floor, and followed a predetermined route, as can be seen on the topo map linked here on this page. The hike was approximately 3 miles in and 3 miles back...approximately.
We started at our parking spot as can be seen in the photos, and started up...and up...and up....and up...
finally reaching our first geocache and about half way, we started our descent into Goat Canyon. It looked easy enough at the top of goat canyon, but as we made our way down, it got steeper and steeper. The distance from top to bottom of the dry falls got higher and higher, we had to find some alternate routes around the falls. As you look in the pictures, you will notice there are no signs of trails. That's because there were no trails. We traveled cross country, and alot of the times were climbing up and down rocks and boulders, weaving thru cactus and agave plants. About 2/3 of the way down, we got out first glimpse of the trestle, the real reason we were there. We kept going down, and down, and down still, and finally got to the place of the third geocache we were also hunting. We didn't find it, and found out later the coordinates were off by 60ft. After deciding to blow off the third cache we crossed the trestle and found the 4th cache of our hunt.
The pictures start at the parking area, and continue thru the climb to the topmost ridge, and then down the goat canyon gully. Again, there was no trail and the elevation changes were intense, the steepness of the trip was at times more than a 45 degree angle. It was grueling. The pictures continue as we were at the trestle. We were debating on walking the tracks back because noone wanted to climb back up that gully. We finally decided to take the southern ridge of the goat canyon back. I don't know which would have been harder, the gully or the ridge, but the ridge was as intense if not more, than the gully would have been. After the pictures of the trestle is the hike back, and you can see some of the elevation changes and steepness of the climb, the picture don't do it justice.
The trip or hike was about 8 hours long, stopping frequently to rest, it was pretty steep and grueling. The round trip was maybe 4 miles round trip, by way of the crow flies (meaning it was probably much longer than that), but it was well worth it.
It was dark when we arrived at the trucks.

Some interesting points:
In some of the pictures you can see two RR cars that had derailed and slide partially down the canyon.
There were, I believe, 2 movies shot on this stretch of the canyon.
I found a very old horseshoe while there, it has signs of extreme wear and it broke in half because of the wear, and is a style not made or used anymore.
I also found a RR spike in the dirt.
We started on the hike at about 10am, and got back to the truck at about 6pm.
The Topo map is here.

 

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