Yosemite is best known for its stunning natural beauty, giant cliffs, and impressive waterfalls, which are frequent attractions in the iconic national park. It is also home to a lot of early California history, and some pieces of its past remain today. The Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is a perceived piece of history that allows travelers to ride on a historic steam logger through the Sierra National Forest. The railroad will pause operations after Thanksgiving weekend, so now is your last chance to experience the historic trains before they reopen in the spring.
The steam trains offer a look back into the logging that was prominent in California’s history. The railroad offers various experiences, with the 1-hour train ride a popular option. Guests can also embark on a Moonlight Special, which includes dinner and charming entertainment. Some Sundays offer a special ‘Jazz Train’ treating guests to live music, while another excursion stops at an amphitheater for a theatrical performance.
The Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad’s story
The railroad was started by Rudy Stauffer and his family, who immigrated to the United States in 1950. The Stauffer family moved to Fish Camp in 1954, near the Sugar Pine Company sawmill, and opened the Swiss Melody Inn. The inn was located on the path of the Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company, which was logging throughout the area.
Rudy was fascinated by the trains and purchased a locomotive in 1965, along with some railway parts. He and his family then started the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad that we know today. The railway had its first run in 1967, and they added a second locomotive in the following years. The railroad continues to be run by the Stauffer family today.
The Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railway is at 56001 California 41 Fish Camp, CA 93623. The last ride of 2023 will take place on November 26. The rides are family-friendly and wheelchair accessible.