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Hike-in Required
No
Open Year-round
?
ADA accessible
No
Guided tours
No
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

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)

Winter
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Other

Pros

Stunning vistas. Solitude. Trestles.

Cons

Very hot. Extremely difficult.

Pets allowed

Yes

Address

Carrizo Gorge Rd
1945
Jacumba Hot Springs, CA 91934
United States

Features

Mine
Historically significant
Big vistas

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

09.17.18
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.
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