Hike-in Required
ADA accessible
Guided tours
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Now closed to recreational use, Goat Canyon Trail was an exciting 15-mile trek through the wilderness of the Anza Borrego desert. The trail followed the abandoned Carrizo Gorge railroad tracks, which were completed in 1919 and connected San Diego to Yuma. Still standing at the end of the trail is the famous Goat Canyon Trestle, the largest freestanding wooden trestle in the world at 600 feet long and over 100 feet high.

In 2016, the operation of the Desert Line Railroad, which includes the Goat Canyon Trestle and spans several hundred miles into Mexico, was subleased to Baja California Railroad. According to company representatives, the railroad and Carrizo Gorge Road is closed to recreational use, and trespassers risk a fine from the Pine Valley district of San Diego County Sheriff. Patrols are conducted randomly.

Along the hike's former course, there are seven other smaller trestles. Many other remnants of the region's history could be found along the trail, including several train cars and old campsites. In addition, the trail goes through nine tunnels of various lengths, the longest of which is around half a mile.

This region of the Anza Borrego desert is extremely desolate, and summer temperatures often reach 120 degrees. However, certain species of animals have evolved to thrive here, including cave bats that live in the tunnels, lizards, rattlesnakes, and quail. In addition, many barrel and cholla cacti dot the landscape.

Hikers can still reach a view the Goat Canyon Trestle via the hike at Mortero Palms. It is important to note that there is little shade to be found in this area. Be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Also, due to the difficult and potentially dangerous nature of this hike, all visitors are required to check in at DeAnza Springs Resort clubhouse located near the trailhead.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass



Stunning vistas. Solitude. Trestles.


Very hot. Extremely difficult.

Pets allowed



Historically significant
Big vistas


Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


The railroad tracks have been bought by a Mexican company that has plans to restore operation of the line. They have closed tunnels and the word is they have either private security and/or local sheriffs that will apprehend trespassers. The resort that allowed parking has been notified not to encourage people to go on the tracks. There is always the trail from the desert bottom but most people walked/rode the tracks from Jacumba. We know it's always been illegal to do this but now there is new activity related to the operation of the line.
Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.

You May Also Enjoy

Death Valley National Park, California
Death Valley National Park, California