Train Ride of the Week: Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad

Name: Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad

Route: The former Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company right-of-way near Fish Camp, California

Overview: Running through the Sierra National Forest, the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad offers both steam and railcar-powered journeys for guests visiting the former logging operation. For the steam-powered excursions, one-hour roundtrips travel four miles, taking passengers down the grade to Lewis Creek Canyon, a picnic area where passengers can stretch their legs.

Classes of Service: 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.

Jenny Railcars

During off-peak seasons and during times where the Logger Steam Train isn’t running, passengers can still enjoy the beautiful views on the “Jenny” railcars. Powered by the engines from a Model A car, these cars complete their roundtrips in a slightly shorter time than the steam train. They can seat up to 10 passengers for each journey.

Train Schedule: The Logger Steam Train offers journeys between April and October, with services continuing into November if the weather permits. The steam train operates daily at 11:00 AM, with additional trains at 9:30 AM on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, and at 12:30 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Jenny railcars operate every half hour between 9:30 AM and 3:00 PM, with the schedule varying with the schedule of the Logger Steam Train.

Other Experiences: On select evenings, the Moonlight Special BBQ Train takes passengers to Lewis Creek Canyon. Instead of a short layover, visitors can enjoy dinner and entertainment around a campfire. For a full list of dates, visit http://ymsprr.com/special-events/.

While visitors learn about California’s logging history on the train, the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine offers insights into the gold rush history of the state as well. Behind the station, guests can also try their hand at gold panning for a small fee.

Getting to Fish Camp: The Sugar Pine Railroad is located on Highway 41, which is the primary road between Fresno and Yosemite National Park. The railroad is just over an hour north of Fresno and 15 minutes north of Oakhurst. When traveling from the south from Fresno, the road will travel through Oakhurst. Oakhurst is the primary spots for hotels, restaurants, and grocery shopping between Fresno and Yosemite. Driving from the south, the railroad will be on the right. If traveling via train, the Amtrak San Joaquin service travels to Fresno. YARTS buses travel along Highway 41 and stop at the Tenaya Lodge near the Sugar Pine Railroad.

Tunnel View – Yosemite National Park

If traveling from Yosemite National Park, the drive travels up Highway 41, turning off the Yosemite Valley ring road near Bridalveil Falls. Just before the tunnel is the tunnel view overlook of the Yosemite Valley. Also off of this stretch of road is Glacier Point Road and the Wawona Hotel. Four miles south of the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park is the entrance to the railroad, which is on the left. If you aren’t tremendously comfortable driving on mountain roads, be sure to take your time.

Other nearby attractions: The most famous attraction is Yosemite National Park. The southern gate is around five minutes away from the Sugar Pine Railroad. Along Highway 41 is the Wawona Hotel and Pioneer Village, showing the history of the area during its earliest tourist era. Closer to Yosemite Valley is Glacier Point Road, which is open between May and October. Along Glacier Point Road, visitors can access the Glacier Point and Washburn Point overlooks and the Sentinel Dome trailhead. Highway 41 continues into the Yosemite Valley, where guests can enjoy views of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and El Capitan.

Helpful Links:

Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad – http://ymsprr.com/
Visit Yosemite Madera County – https://www.yosemitethisyear.com/
Yosemite National Park – https://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm