Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Rail Road Opens for 2011 Season

Saturday, April 09 2011 10:40   Western Travel Buzz
Huffing and puffing its way along the track, a steam engine from the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Rail Road pulled away from the depot April 8, opening the attraction's 2011 season after heavy snow storms delayed the original start date.

Max Stauffer, owner of the popular historic railroad just south of the Highway 41 entrance to Yosemite National Park, had planned on opening March 19. The next day, however, a series of storms dropped anywhere from five to nine feet of snow along the four-mile route the train runs through the Sierra National Forest, he said.
sugarpinehighres"We've been doing a lot of clean up after these storms," said Stauffer. "In addition to the snow there were a lot of trees down so we've been clearing those as well as plowing the lines," he said.

The railroad opened to visitors at 9:30 a.m. sharp Saturday morning, with the parking lot "as clear as we can get it," one employee said.

Located in the small Sierra community of Fish Camp, the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Rail Road runs two authentic, narrow-gauge Shay locomotives through the Sierra National Forest.

Engine 10 was built in 1928 and Engine 15 in 1913. The regular tours highlight the scenic beauty of the area while describing the unique history of the region, all while recreating an authentic logger train experience.

Starting in May, the rail road also offers the Moonlight Special, which includes a BBQ dinner, live entertainment during dinner and at stop at the picnic area where everyone gathers around a large campfire with more entertainment on Wednesday and Saturday evenings.

In addition to the train, there is also a historic museum that showcases how life was in the region at the turn of the century. "In the late 1800s and early 1900s, loggers worked the mountains providing wood for the Industrial Revolution. Their tools and way of life is shown at the museum" said Stauffer.

The region's history in the gold rush is also recreated at a gold panning sluice box where kids are taught how to find gold. "They really love getting their hands in there and actually finding gold. It always gets a big smile for them," said Stauffer.

To see a full schedule and learn more, visit the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Rail Road website at


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