Carrizo Gorge Railway ride to Goat Canyon Trestle on KLR650’s
Check out my brother Ian’s detailed Ride Report on ADVrider here:
Hey guys! I figured I’d post up some pics and info on an amazing ride I did last weekend. After hearing about the old Carrizo Gorge Railway, and the massive wooden Goat Canyon Trestle out in Anza Borrego desert recently, my twin brother Ian (guest on Episode #15: Regular Maintenance, and author of Tech & Tonic) decided to check it out. Being a freeway & dirt ride, we took our Kawasaki KLR650’s. Best bikes for this kind of stuff. Anyways, I won’t go into too much history, but the old Carrizo Gorge Railway is now mostly abandoned I guess, and is an awesome rail line running from San Diego to Plaster City/Ocotillo I guess.
Check out the Carrizo Gorge Railway page on Wikipedia for more detailed info. The section of line from Jacumba down to Plaster City runs through really rugged terrain in Carrizo Gorge, and has something like 12 wooden trestle bridges, and 19 tunnels through the mountains. The line is mostly abandoned from what I can gather, although it is still private property and there is some videos on YouTube of railroad trucks running the line this month. We saw lots of hikers and mountain bikers (no other motorcycles) on the tracks, so just be careful if you head out there. It’s worth spending some time to research the history of the railroad, it’s pretty amazing. There’s tons of websites with detailed history and pics/video, so I’m not going to into all that. If you like exploring, this ride is certainly worth it, because there is many old abandoned passenger cars on the sidings, and lots of railroad equipment. The trestles are sketchy and nerve-wracking to ride over (awesome and exciting), and the tunnels (one over 1/2 mile long!) are absolutely amazing to blast through on a motorcycle in the dark.
I’ll post a bunch of pictures below, but first I’m going to give you detailed directions to get out there, and some map pics. I’ll also give you GPS coordinates to the interesting stuff. It took us awhile to figure this out, so hopefully this info will save you alot of time if you want to make this trip.
8 Freeway East or West, exit Jacumba (exit 73), turn to South side of freeway (2 gas stations here to stock up on supplies)
Take Carrizo Gorge Road west (turns into graded dirt just West of the gas stations). This parallels 8 Freeway for a bit, then turns right to go North under freeway.
You end up at De Anza Springs nudist resort. Take a left before the entrance to the resort, and hop onto the train tracks. Stay in the center of the tracks.
Take the tracks North, you’ll come to the first Trestle bridge, and you’ll see the 2-story Chicago train cars on the Siding to your right.
Head North on the tracks (careful going over the Trestle, it’s in bad shape. We pushed the bikes over it). About a mile on the tracks and you’ll come to the Canadian train cars on a siding.
Keep heading North another 3-4 miles, and you’ll get to the Goat Canyon Trestle. You’ll go through awesome tunnels and smaller trestle bridges on the way. Stay inside the tracks.
Here are GPS Coordinates from Google Maps for interesting points:
- Jacumba Exit 73: 32°38’7.75″N / 116° 9’59.86″W
- De Anza Springs Resort: 32°39’7.86″N / 116°11’11.89″W
- Where we entered train tracks: 32°39’7.07″N / 116°11’15.99″W
- Chicago 2-story train cars siding: 32°39’29.62″N / 116°11’21.14″W
- First trestle (in bad shape): 32°39’29.62″N / 116°11’25.52″W
- Canadian passenger train cars siding: 32°41’5.18″N / 116°11’22.94″W
- Goat Canyon Trestle: 32°43’44.62″N / 116°11’1.23″W
- Old Goat Canyon Tunnel South: 32°43’35.73″N / 116°11’10.70″W
- Old Goat Canyon Tunnel North: 32°43’41.63″N / 116°11’0.67″W
- Water Tank for Goat Canyon Trestle Fires: 32°43’46.55″N / 116°10’57.62″W
And here is a KML file you can download and import into Google Earth, or any other GPS program. I recorded these tracks of our ride using Locus Pro on my Android phone. It’s a great Motorcycle GPS program to record breadcrumb tracks.
KML track file (in .ZIP format, just unzip it and open with Google Earth):
Now here’s some pics!
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