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Tehachapi Loop, CA Map and Railfan Info  

Tehachapi Loop, CA Map and Railfan Info
Created 1-27-2001

Click below to link to other sections of Railroad Crossings.
UP's Wings
UP 3985
On the Point

(Red X marks the approx. location of the Tehachapi Cam. It is looking roughly in the direction of the red arrow.)

Mileage to major cities and other points of interest.  Los Angeles, CA (LAX) 127 miles;  Bakersfield, CA  33 miles;
 Las Vegas, NV  248 miles;  Barstow, CA  98 miles.


    Who: BNSF and Union Pacific. What you'll find:  While famous to railfans, the Loop isn't your typical tourist spot, so there is not much here.  The closest gas and snacks are 3 miles away in Keene. (and that's only one very small market)  The closest real lodging, gas and food will be found in Tehachapi around 14 miles away.  What to expect:  A whole lot of trains, of many different flags, with awesome scenery, rolling hills and long sweeping valleys.  Paved, and good dirt roads, provide access to all highlighted areas.  A little hiking will get you even further. When to go: Anytime of year will provide a different look.  Spring is green, and Autumn rather brown.  Winter will sometimes provide very cold weather and possibly snow, so beware.  Weekends tend not to have the long work windows that the weekdays have, so train frequency will be maximized.  Bring something to read, when its quiet on the hill... it is quiet! How to get there:  California Highway 58 is the main way in.  Head east from Bakersfield and west from Mojave.  Exit at Keene, CA., and turn North (1/4 mile) to Woodford Tehachapi Rd. Turn Right. Follow road about a mile and it will join the tracks under the overpass. Use caution, this road is very narrow and winding.  Also, there are access points to tracks along the entire route. Definitely do some exploring on these side roads. The possibilities are endless and far to many to highlight here.

Specific Sites

    Site A:  Take a short dirt road off the main road to get here. This is the beginning / end of the 8,960 ft Woodford siding. Trains frequently stop at this point to wait for downhill trains up on the Loop. If one is here, be patient, a downhill train will probably be along soon.  You'll also notice Tehachapi creek on the north side of the tracks and see the 4th bridge crossing of the creek (coming from the west), just to your right. Many locations along this site are wonderful for pictures and with the many angles available you should be able to find a spot for any time of day and season.

    Site B:  This area is actually a pull off on Hwy 58, and can only be reached from the eastbound lane. You'll be looking back at the 4th bridge crossing mentioned above in Site A. The afternoon provides the best view and lighting for pictures. You'll also be able to see the 5th bridge crossing over Tehachapi creek, and it will be backdropped by the Loop above. Unfortunately the distance between the 5th bridge and the Loop makes it impossible to see all but the longest of trains passing both locations at once.

    Site C:  This location is just before the dirt road you'll take to get to the Loop. Park and walk over to the fence and you'll be able to look directly into the tunnel under the Loop. A small ladder (3' or so), will help you to get a good shot over the fence. Posted signs forbid trespassing and so I have never ventured over to the tracks. Hence the ladder. Afternoon is the only available time to use this spot and expect to get any descent pictures.

    Site D:  This area is at the heart itself. A dirt road will lead you around half of the Loop. Most pictures of the Loop are taken from here. There is a farm in the center of the Loop, and I would suggest staying out. I have never talked to the owners, but can imagine that they are weary of trespassing. This is also railroad property, but all the crews seem to like the attention, and you should get zero grief from anyone trackside. Position yourself anywhere along the rails and wait, it won't be long!  Any time of the day is great, since you can move with the sun to get a good angle.

    Site E:  This requires a little hiking, but is well worth it. To get here, continue past the dirt turnoff to the Loop and follow Woodford Tehachapi Rd east up the hill. You'll find on the north side of the road a state historical marker and a little further ahead a turnoff just before you crest the hill. Park here, and get as far off the road as possible. (it is fairly narrow here). You'll see a worn trail leading along the mountain and looking to the north will be the Loop laid out before you. Find a spot and wait for the action. Morning light will be the best, and I have seen some killer night time lapse shots from this hill so use the old imagination. If you continue along this trail, it will crest above Tunnel # 10 and you can look back east toward Marcel and the sweeping curves east of the Loop. Trains approaching from this direction are still climbing and are moving fairly slow. Afternoon light will be the best.

    Site F:  This site is at grade level with tunnel #10. It is a good spot for photographing the trains coming through the tunnel. To get here continue on the trail from Site E a little to the top of the tunnel and decide on the west (Loop) side or on the east side.  PLEASE do not go through the tunnel to get from one side to the other, this is extremely dangerous!!!

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