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The Impossible Railroad

Work and travel limited my holiday riding and delayed my start in 2017. Because of this, the first adventure of the new year had to be a memorable one.  Riding through the Corrizo Gorge, along twenty-two miles of abandoned railway, was the perfect kick-off to the year of the Trail Donkey.


This particular stretch of the San Diego and Arizona Railroad has been dubbed “The Impossible Railroad”. Extreme temperatures, mountainous terrain, and damage caused by earthquakes and flooding make this a gnarly region.  These tracks have not had a train pass in forty years, which has created the perfect location for adventure. The ride surrounds you with the beauty of wilderness, starkly contrasted by defeated machinery. An ever present reminder that the Corrizo Gorge could not be tamed. 

Apocalyptic beauty unfolds less than a mile from the trail head. 

RIP Harambe.

After passing the first train, the railway winds through a series of tunnels. Seventeen in total, ranging in length from 290 feet to half a mile. The most mountainous sections of the gorge are steeped with trestles. 

A mix of single track and gravel covers the majority of the ride. Just a few sections require center lining the rails.

There is enough ample light to traverse the shorter tunnels, however, the darkness of the longest tunnels seems to rival that of outer-space. A light is required to cut through the blackness. Earthquake and flood damage is evident, requiring very short hike-a-bike obstacles near some tunnels.  

I’ll take this over wind tunnel testing any day.

The second abandoned train is roughly six miles from the start of the trail.  I had yet to cross paths with another person, the solitude added an element to the sense of exploration and adventure. Nothing matches the euphoria of exploring and discovering on my bike, the Trail Donkey knows no rival.

No, it won’t be boring.

Pass the second train, and you are lead through a series of tunnels and trestles, delivering you to Goat Canyon Trestle.  At 600ft long and 180ft high, this impressive wooden trestle remains the longest, and tallest, curved wooden trestle ever built in the United States.  

Long way down.

The final series of trestles can be seen far off in the distance, winding above the Corrizo Gorge.

I’m not the fastest rider, nor do I have any delusion about being a pro.  I’m just a guy who likes to ride bikes and a guy that likes to explore.  The Trail Donkey has optimized both for me.  Whether I’m hitting my back yard of Camp Pendleton, California or exploring San Diego and Los Angeles counties, this bike delivers on all levels.  I would like to thank the team at Rodeo Labs for creating such a bad ass bike,  and for affording me the opportunity to share my ride with you. Never stop exploring. 

You can follow the rest of my rides at

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  1. Awesome pictures, adventure, and outlook on life! Keep riding and writing!!

  2. Fantastic write up and stunning pics. Yet another adventure now on the ‘to do’ list!

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