Author Statement

This website is a constant work-in-progress, with articles updated regularly throughout the site. Much of the information comes from local railroad fans such as yourselves. If you have information regarding local railroads, photographs or railroad documents, or you feel a mistake has been made or information omitted from an article, leave a comment on the appropriate page or email me at This site would not be possible without your help and support. Thank you! – Derek R. Whaley

Friday, August 31, 2012

Hayes Spur

Hayes Spur is one of the most unknown of the stops along the mountain section of the Southern Pacific Railroad. It first appeared in 1891 in agency books as a stop south of the Union Mill spur. It was named after Isaac Newton Hayes, the owner of the Central Hotel in Felton. Hayes with Thomas Hubbard had worked as independent contractors for the Santa Clara Valley Mill & Lumber Company in the 1890s, harvesting lumber from their properties along Zayante Creek for shipment to Santa Clara. Thus, Hayes Spur was probably erected specifically to ship out this harvested timber. The spur was located midway between the modern-day CEMEX quarry and the Zayante Fire Station.

Isaac Hayes died in 1900 but the spur was probably already no longer in use. It was removed during the standard-gauging of the tracks in 1908-1909.

Official Railroad Information:
Hayes Spur was located 71.1 miles from San Francisco via the Mayfield Cut-Off and 8.1 miles from Santa Cruz. It had a 215-foot-long spur. Agency books listed it as a class-A station, implying there was a siding at the site. A freight platform was also listed on the left (east) side of the track.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
37˚ N 3' 56.637", 122˚W 3' 21.416"

The site of Hayes Spur is on the property of Roaring Camp Railroads, although Roaring Camp does not actively patrol this stretch of right-of-way and locals are seen using it frequently for recreational activities.

Citations & Credits:
  • Clark, Donald Thomas. Santa Cruz County Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary. Scotts Valley, CA: Kestrel Press, 2008.
  • Southern Pacific System: List of Officers, Agencies and Stations, 1899.
  • Whaley, Derek. Santa Cruz Trains: Railroads of the Santa Cruz Mountains: 111-114.


  1. What a great blog!
    I don't think the sketch for the Hayes spur is quite right. It seems to run more parallel with the main line. I believe it was more like an extended siding for loading freight cars from the quarry.
    I was told the area was called "Jackass Flat".
    There is a similar spur line running into the Olympia Watershed. If you follow the line of tracks where the two flat cars are rotting away, they lead to a concrete loading bay inside the watershed property. I believe the Hayes spur was something similar. The rails are still there, buried beneath the sand.
    This is roughly my backyard, so if you are ever in the area, let me know and I'll show you what I've found back there!
    Thanks for doing this. I've gotten a ton of useful information from this blog. If the weather cools down, we are hiking from Olympia Station to Clems tunnel this weekend!!! I plan on taking lots of pictures.

  2. Hello again Lawrence, the topographical sketches were all provided to me by Brian Liddicoat, though they were sketched by one of his colleagues. Hayes very well may be slightly misplaced, but according to the 1899 Station Book it was located at roughly the same site as the gravel pit, or perhaps Jackass Flats. The area called Jackass Flats, though, is south of Zayante Creek and the gravel pit, about a 1/4 mile south along the line. The trestle is on the north side and there is currently a small ranch at the site of the Flats.

    I have an article regarding Olympia and the Sand Pits nearby (the gravel pit) and have surveyed the entire stretch noting all the buried tracks. It's possible Hayes was a short spur north of the gravel pit that juts into another sand area on the other side of Zayante Fire House but before Olympia Station. It's all very vague, unfortunately, and there isn't anything super descriptive of the area.

    Good luck and have fun on your walk to Clems. The trail is pretty straightforward until you get to a driveway that cuts across the right-of-way. The route continued into Scotch Broom while the driveway goes left and right. Just stay straight. Next time I'm in the area of Olympia Station, maybe I'll stop by. I live across the street from Jackass Flats on E. Zayante Rd, so I too am nearby and have walked that route a number of times. Email me if you want to arrange a meeting.

  3. I think I understand this Hays spur better now-- I think it starts where the two broken-down flatcars are parked behind the Zayante Equestrian center. It then leads into the Olympia watershed, where it used to run by a concrete platform. If you hike back there, you'll find an access road that leads to the SLVWD pipeline. This road runs south, roughly parallel to the tracks, and it goes over an impressive causeway, before it reaches the pipeline maintenance road and turns east, towards the well & pumping station.

    When I walked along the causeway, I wondered why they would have built such a huge earthwork for an access road of any kind. Now I realize that the causeway was a rail bed! The Hayes spur must have run straight through the Olympia watershed property and on into the parcel where the newer quarry is still in use. If this is the real Hayes Spur, then it could have been up to a half mile long...

    I need to go out there and survey it some more. I'll bring back photos!

  4. I know the area that you are talking about and agree that that may well be the Hayes Spur. Now I really want to hike back there. I saw a pedestrian access gate last time I walked the tracks, but didn't have time to explore. If you can provide some photos, email them to me at whaleyland (at) or post a link to them here. I'll nab a few to post on this page if everything looks correct. We also need to confirm that what you found isn't the Union Mill Spur, which was a half mile north of Hayes Spur. I'll try to do a posting for Union Mill with my available information on Friday. It's one of the few Santa Cruz-side articles I haven't done yet.