• Activities:

    Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking, Fitness

  • Skill Level:

    Advanced

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    7 Miles

Scenic

Intense Hiking (7 miles Roundtrip). Amazing Views. Carrizo Gorge Abandoned Railway. Longest and Tallest Curved Wooden Trestle in the USAbandoned Railcars. Large Railroad Tunnels. Photographer's Dream.

The main attraction of this hike is the wooden trestle. This engineering marvel was built in 1932 and still remains the tallest and longest curved wooden trestle in the U.S.

This hike is recommended for the physically and mentally prepared. From Mortero Palms, it's a 3.5 mile (7 miles roundtrip) treacherous hike to the trestle over the Jacumba mountains. The hike culminates with a descent down a dry waterfall some describe as class 3 climbing.

Although the hike is challenging, especially in the dark, If you are wiling to experience it, the night sky is stunning here.

Getting There:

Access the Motero Palms trailhead via Mortero Canyon Road (dirt road). It is recommended you take a 4x4 vehicle, but can be accessed by regular vehicles with some creativity. You must be able to cross railroad tracks with your vehicle on this road. Once you are there, the trailhead begins at Mortero palms. The trail ends at the trestle. From here, feel free to explore or enjoy the views.

Pack List

  • Food
  • Water (bring extra if hiking in the summer)
  • Hiking Apparel
  • Hiking Shoes
  • Daypack
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Travel light unless you want to carry all the weight
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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It was a jeeping trip I took years ago and the tunnels and ride there are almost as amazing as standing on top of the trestle. Definitely a must for imperial valley.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

We did this but came in a different way and did a 14 mile round trip hike. Timed it to get sunset at the main trestle and a star studded night hike out. Can't beat the stars out there with no city lights. While technically it's not legal to go on the tracks we basically hiked on or near them and hit multiple tunnels and bridges there & back. Amazing pictures and not a soul in sight besides us. We went on a weekday.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

I did this hike the long way and ended up going 20 miles round trip (not including hiking to the back of some unfinished tunnels and such or exploring the abandoned trains). The landscape was gorgeous and it was a very nice, quiet walk. We crossed the bridge but I won't be doing that again not only because of my fear of heights but the crossing was also very nerve wrecking with all the creaky wood and in some places the metal walkways were being held up by fraying rope. Our trip back was mostly in the dark and my flashlights batteries weren't the greatest so that made it a little difficult. It also became very windy and cold so bring a jacket if you go at night.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

It's pretty amazing. It's a long hike, about 14 miles but it's all flat. You just follow the train tracks. I recommend going when it's not hot. You'll discover a lot of cool things, abandoned trains and tunnels. It's really cool.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

This is great! Thanks for the info :-)

about 3 years ago
about 3 years ago

Juan Moreno

Photography is my passion. In order to photograph beautiful places, you have to go out and look for them.

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