Gilahina Trestle & Hiking Trail

Difficulty

Easy

Coming around the corner after milepost 28, you can't help but notice the Gilahina Trestle. There are 85+ miles of bridges and trestles within the 196 miles of rail between Cordova and Kennicott. Building them was a big job. The Gilahina Trestle is visual confirmation of the size of job it was, standing 80–90 feet high and 880 feet across. The crew used a half-million board-feet of lumber and completed the job in eight days.

Can you visualize the crew getting this trestle ready to handle a copper-laden train? You think you're in the middle of nowhere now? Imagine the preparation for having the right tools for a job like this and you'll start to understand how this railroad could cost $25 million to build. Good thing they ended up making a $100-million profit on the project.

You can stop here for another shot at mountain water, if a bear or uncooperative creek bank prevented a fill-up at Chokosna Creek. The Gilahina River flows some 8–10 miles before passing beneath the McCarthy Road. There is nobody living upstream that walks upright.

There's an NPS outhouse and some interpretive posters with some history and photos. If you're not thirsty (or thirsty enough to drink from the creek), it may be a worthy experience simply to dip your hand in the chilly water. If you consider it cold, consider this water is from mountain springs and can reach a scalding 38–40 degrees, compared to glacially-fed creeks that hover just above 32 degrees.

There’s also a good hiking trail that heads down river here. It’s only about ½ mile, but is a good place to stretch your legs.

Getting There

Coordinates
Latitude: 61.43798781
Longitude: -143.7187672

Photos