Palisades Trestle Area


Buried Trestle Timbers

Walking down the roadbed from the Palisades, we begin a sweeping curve to permit the railroad to cross the Amargosa River and run along the high western slopes of the Sperry Hills.

Along the way the roadbed runs out onto a filled in trestle. The remains of the longitudinal supports for the ties are even with the sandy fill.

Across the river the trestle ends in a concrete abutment. It was from the side of this structure that the original and Ghost images of the T&T running along under the Palisades were taken.

End of Timbers

Large 4" x 10" timbers were used to provide support for the ties and rails. These were bolted together and also to the underlaying supports. Where water could creep in and the fill was soft, holes are beginning to appear, revealing the structure buried underneath.

Since the early photographs of the trestle, the portion across the Amargosa River has either been dismantled or washed away. Without the support posts creating channels, the river sediment has filled in and raised the bed several feet.

Amargosa River and Palisades

Descending from the remaining portion of the filled in trestle, you have to jump the 'mighty' Amargosa River. Most of the year it is as seen here, about 3 to 4 feet wide and a foot or so deep. When the rains come the surrounding mountains quickly drain into the channel and the river spreads out to cover a wide area.

In flood the force of the river is enough to wipe out trestle piers, undermine culverts and reshape the landscape.

West and East portions of the trestle

From near the top of the cut (next pic) the shape and remains of parts of the Palisades Trestle can be seen.

Note the cement piered ends. Originally the trestle went directly from the cut to the far eastern bank. After flood problems, cement piers were built as diverters and stronger supports, and the sections of the trestle between them and the banks were filled in with tailings.

Cutting through to the western bench

Immediately on the other side is a cut with signs of a wagon road around the southern side (left, out of image). Most likely this was to permit work on the trestle while the cut was being dug.

Just out of the cut the roadbed runs atop a long curved berm, across a cement culvert (mid-berm in the wide shot) and on to the side of the Sperry Hills in the background.


Looking southwest towards Sperry


Approaching the culvert

In the middle of the sweeping curve (above) is another trestle still in place under the lighter fill. This time the permanent drainage section was accomplished with a large cement and iron culvert, rather than just leaving some open piers in the center of the flow area.

Note the large cement surface to allow spillage without undermining the culvert and the fill.


Culvert face

Unless you have spotted a 4x4 at Sperry and come down from China Ranch, the next part of the walk is best done by driving in to Sperry and hiking up to this location.

It's a long way out to Dumont Dunes and California 127!


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