Hike to the Goat Canyon Trestle

San Diego Mortero Palms Trailhead

Added by Juan Moreno

  • Intense Hiking (7 miles Roundtrip)
  • Amazing Views
  • Carrizo Gorge Abandoned Railway
  • Longest and Tallest Curved Wooden Trestle in the US
  • Abandoned 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
Read More

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



Backpacking, Camping, Fitness, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



7 Miles




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How to Get There

6 months ago

Long, Easy Going Hike

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.

6 months ago

9 months ago

Super cool

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.

9 months ago

over 1 year ago

This is great! Thanks for the info :-)

over 1 year ago

Added by 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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