Looking for a fun activity the whole family will enjoy? The Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is a historic railroad that offers train rides, an educational museum, and gold panning activities. Rather than reading or teaching your kids about Fresno’s history, the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad allows families to experience history.
On the Logger Steam Train, passengers can ride in covered passenger cars with benches or open-air cars with seats carved out of logs, replicating the look of the log cars which once traveled these rails in the early 1900’s.
Once used by the Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company, the locomotives operated to transport logs to a now-gone nearby mill. Lumber was then floated down to the central San Joaquin Valley via log flumes and offers a great glimpse into Fresno’s history. Locomotives returned to this Sierra Nevada wilderness in the late 1960s thanks to the Stauffer family, who immigrated from Switzerland and had the vision to revive the railroad for tourists.
The Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad dates back to 1965 and has been family-run ever since. There are two trains, #10 and #15. The Shay #10 was built by Lima Locomotive Works of Lima OH. It holds 1,200 gallons of fuel, weighs 81 tons and is a 3-cylinder steam train. The Shay #15 was built by Lima Locomotive Works of Lima, Ohio in May of 1913 for the Sierra Nevada Wood and Lumber Co. The #15 holds 900 gallons of fuel, weighs 59 tons and is a 3-cylinder steam train. Over the years, the steam train has drawn thousands of visitors to take the excursion through the Sierra National Forest. There are several one-hour and half-hour train rides offered daily in addition to the three-hour moonlight specials, which happen Wednesday and Saturday nights during the peak season. The Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad’s moonlight rides include dinner and a stop in the forest where visitors disembark to hear live music around a campfire. The reviews on TripAdvisor are glowing, with attendees saying, “The train ride through the forest was really nice, especially on the open log car” and “its an opportunity to experience the sounds, sights, steam, smoke, and smells that are symbolic of times gone past that we missed.”
So gather your family and friends, and check out the historic steam train, running weekends through Thanksgiving