The steam train era comes to life at Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad. It’s a great experience for kids and grownups. Along with the railroad, there are other activities onsite, like gold panning, a museum, a bookstore, an evening barbecue with entertainment and even a moonlight train ride . There are also snacks available for purchase at the gift shop.
An hour outside of the Yosemite National Park, we entered from Hwy 41 through Oakhurst, just outside of Fish Camp.
We made reservations for a night’s stay next door at the Narrow Gauge Inn. It’s a great place to stay and it’s next to the railroad. We arrived at the train station at 10 am for the first train out.
There are 3 things you must do with kids while visiting Yosemite’s Sugar Pine Railroad:
- Ride the steam train through the forest and learn a bit of logging history
- Take a gold panning lesson at Gold Rush City Gold Panning
- Visit the Thornberry museum and listen to a few stories from the past
The smell of pine trees and the sound of the steam engine transported us to a long gone era, during the 4 mile long ride through the Sierra forest. Our friendly conductor narrated the history of the former logging area along the way. There is a 15 minute stop half way through the excursion, for photos or a bathroom break. The round trip took about an hour – the perfect length if you have any little ones.
Tickets can be purchased online at the Sugar Pine Railroad website. The onsite ticket office resides in a gift shop. It’s a great place to pick up souvenirs for the railroad, as well as Yosemite trinkets.
Don’t forget to check out the museum! The docent at the Thornberry museum, an elderly man in overalls, professed his knowledge of trains and the local history. His love of the area was infectious, as he would recite his tales of the railroad and the local history to anyone and everyone who entered the museum to take a look around.
If you have children, you’ll enjoy the gold panning lesson. Tickets can be purchased at the gift shop, and you take a path down to the gold panning site. Stay tuned for our gold panning experience.