Monday, January 30, 2023


Phantom steam whistle leads to “Scarywood”… and you can camp there!

Late on an afternoon this summer, I was lounging under the RV awning, reading pulp magazines of the twentieth century online, including a great one from the mid-century Railroad Magazine.

Coincidentally, the camp was only a few hundred yards from the main line of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad main line in Northern Idaho. Every fifteen minutes would bring another freight train roaring through the town and across the state highway, blasting its air horn like the angry truck driver in the TV movie Duel.

I became accustomed to the racket and dozed off, only to hear the distant whistle of a steam locomotive!

The Silverwood Theme park locomotive

No. I must be dreaming. There hasn’t been a steam locomotive on the main line of the former Great Northern Railroad since 1959. I heard it again. This time I arose to investigate. A couple of miles south on US Highway 95, there was, indeed, a steam locomotive pulling a train in Silverwood Theme Park!

Silverwood Theme park locomotive
A 1915 Porter steam locomotive pulls the train at Silverwood Theme Park.
The train is about to leave the station at Silverwood.

The park is geared to RVers

Silverwood, located at 27843 US-95, Athol, ID 83801, is a theme park built on the site of the former Henley Aerodrome, right alongside Highway 95. It is five miles west of Lake Pend Oreille. The theme park has seven rollercoasters, water slides, restaurants, and many other attractions, including the train, which chugs its way through the park pulled by Engine No. 7, a 1915 Porter steam locomotive.

There is an RV park there, too, with 123 full-hookup sites with 30- or 50-amp electricity, ranging in price from $54-$69 per night. RV park reservations may be made here.

While Silverwood is nearing the end of its season, there is still one major attraction to draw RVers off highway 95 for a night or two. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from September 29 through October 29, Silverwood hosts its spooky annual Halloween-themed “Scarywood” celebration, which it describes as:

… a month of screams as the theme park you thought you knew just became the nightmare you’ll never forget. Travel Channel’s “Halloween’s Scariest Thrills” shows that Scarywood is full of haunted attractions and roaming monsters. Experience 5 haunted attractions, nine scare zones, and most of Silverwood’s signature rides in the dark. Try to survive the night because you’ll be lucky to make it out alive. For more information, visit

You won’t doze off during Scarywood!



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Bob M
3 months ago

I live a couple miles from Steamtown National Park as the crow flies. On weekends I constantly hear the sick sounding steam train whistle.

Deena Jones
3 months ago

We stayed at Silverwood, as well as visited the amusement park, and enjoyed it. Great RV Park to stay in, and the Staff was friendly and helpful.

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