The Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is a four-mile scenic railroad excursion near Fish Camp, Calif., and Yosemite National Park’s South gate.
This narrow-gauge trip back in time is located on Yosemite Highway 41, about 60 miles north of Fresno, Calif., and is open March through November (weather permitting).
On the day we visited in mid-April, there had been a spring snow storm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, with almost 18 inches accumulation at the railroad station.
|Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad Station (Julianne Crane)|
We boarded Shay locomotive #15 for the 12:30 p.m. Logger Steam Train ride. This particular vintage machine was built by Lima Locomotive Works of Lima, Ohio, in May 1913 for the Sierra Nevada Wood and Lumber Co. near Truckee Calif. It continued in service through 1961. The Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad purchased the #15 in 1986. It weights 59 tons, with a capacity of 900 gallons of fuel oil and 3,000 gallons of water.
|Train conductor (and RVer) Rick Phillips (Julianne Crane)|
According to the Logger Steam Train’s conductor, Rick Phillips (who is also a fulltimer RVer), our locomotive once hauled massive logs through the Sierra Mountains.
Hardy lumberjacks felled old growth timber and miles of flumes carried sections of trees to the valley.
Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad also features rides on the quaint ‘Model A’ powered Jenny Railcars. These trolly-like railcars where once used to provide transportation for logging and track repair crews.
|RVer Laurie Phillips works in the museum.|
The conductor’s wife, Laurie Phillips, works in the Thornberry Museum, which offers a glance at life at the turn of the 20th century.
Family members can pan for real gold and a local prospector will give a hand and demonstrate the technique to find ‘the yellow treasure just like the Ol’ Forty-Niners’
If you go:
Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad
56001 Yosemite Hwy 41
Fish Camp, CA 93623
Schedule changes as weather warms. Moonlight specials begin in May. Melodramas begin in July. Click here for most current information.