Bourland Trestle in the Stanislaus National Forest is an abandoned, wooden railroad bridge built by the Westside Lumber Company back in 1922. The purpose of the trestle was to allow Westside’s logging trains to cross over Bourland Creek to access the dense forest beyond for harvesting the lumber. This wooden trestle was one of many built by Westside along the 70 miles of mainline train track for their lumber operations between the years of 1900 and 1960.
About Bourland Trestle
Bourland Trestle stands at a height of 76 feet above Bourland Creek and a length of 315 feet. This all wooden trestle supported tracks for a narrow gauge railroad line (three feet wide). The tracks were painstakingly removed by Westside back in the 1960’s after railroad logging came to a halt and logging by truck took over. Bourland Trestle stood quietly in the forest 30+ years until high waters of the 1997 floods weakened the timbers. It was in 1998 that the timbers finally gave way due to a nearby earthquake in Markleeville, CA. The whole middle section of the trestle collapsed as a result and the bridge has been slowly degrading ever since. Proposed long-term goals for this federally protected landmark include a full or partial restoration and possibly converting the trestle to a safe pedestrian bridge.
Directions to Bourland Trestle
From Mi Wok head east on Hwy 108 for five miles to the second Long Barn exit. Continue on Forest Route 3N01 for 18 miles and turn right on 2N14. Drive for 2.8 miles and turn left on 2N29. This begins part of the old Westside railroad grade. Take 2N29 to the end where the trestle is.
Word of Caution
The remains of Bourland Trestle are in a very weakened state and extremely dangerous. Under no circumstances should you climb on the timbers.