A railway ride into a Redwood forest

Train journeys from one town to another or one city to another; we’ve all done that. How about boarding a train to nowhere but the middle of a forest...
Roaring Camp Railroads

Train journeys from one town to another or one city to another; we’ve all done that. How about boarding a train to nowhere but the middle of a forest and back, that too, on an olden-day  steam locomotive? Better still — an open train that chugs through hundreds of thousands of that variety of trees that are amongst the tallest of tall trees in the world? We got to do just that when we visited the Roaring Camp Railroads in Felton, California.

The Roaring Camp Railroads were laid in the 1870s and were initially meant for transportation of lumber from the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Monterey Bay. In due course it became a tourist route for people who wanted a railway ride to the Santa Cruz Beach.

Purely for the sake of leisure trips, the Roaring Camp Railroads now plays depot for two trains: one that goes into the thick of the Redwood forest and up a hill and the other that goes from the forest to the beach.

Our choice for the weekend was the Redwood Forest Steam Train that traversed the Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railroad. The journey started at the storybook-type train station with log cabins for a waiting room, a snack shop and a souvenir store to name a few buildings there.

Roaring Camp Railroads

It was almost half past three when the grand old, yet exquisite Dixiana drew into the station for her last trip of the day. Painted in green, brown and red, this classic engine, which is the camp’s locomotive number 1 was our  ride that day.  When she pulled out of the station, she went around a bend and chugged straight into the redwood forest towing along several yellow and green cars; most of them, open topped.

Inside the forest area, this train that ran on a narrow gauge railroad, began going up Bear Mountain, its whistles reverberating through the wooded area. Ahead of the train and behind, up the slopes and down the slopes, all we could see was a sea of redwood trees. Half way up the hill, the train came to a screeching stop. Just as we began to wonder why, Kent, the conductor who was also the tour guide told us that there was once a fire there and a trestle on this railway route was damaged. A few months later new tracks had been laid, these by-passing the original loop. As such, from that point the train had to go up another route for a while, this time with the locomotive at the other end, pushing the train up the hill till it came to another stop and changed  tracks again. We had an experience of that.

 Roaring Camp Railroads A few minutes later the train was at the summit of Bear Mountain. There we got down, stretched our legs and tried to take in more of the history that Kent narrated. That was when I looked all the way up through the towering trees and saw some sunlight in the distance, trying hard to touch the floor of the forest. So extraordinary was that scene: the sight of the extraordinarily tall trees and the sky above it, that I almost froze but managed to capture a couple of shots; a priceless souvenir of photographs.

After what seemed like a few fleeting moments at the peak, the train took us down the hill, once again going backwards and forwards beside that once-damaged stretch.

Just before she rolled into the station, Dixiana let out huge clouds of steam and seemed to say aloud that she was calling it a day.

When our one-hour round trip came to an end, we had had our fill of the redwood forest. Redwood Trees have been the official state tree of California since the late 1930s, so I would say it is a must-see if you visit this state on the west coast of the United States of America.

Roaring Camp Railroads

For Redwood Forest Steam Train’s fares and timetable click here



Also check out: Big Basin drenched in rain (in pictures)
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14 Comments on this post.
  • Prasad Np
    22 September 2013 at 5:57 am

    What a journey it must be with history mingling with nature and opportunity to click some wonderful pictures…

    • dNambiar
      23 September 2013 at 4:00 am

      (This one's quite an old post.)
      It was my first trip to a Redwood area so I was fascinated by all that I heard and saw that day. Gorgeous trees, aren't they, Desi Traveler? 🙂

    • dNambiar
      23 September 2013 at 4:02 am

      Oh, second trip, actually. The first time I got to properly see some redwood trees was on my first visit to Big Basin. If you haven't been there, you should, the next time you are here. They've got some great hiking trails there, Prasad.

  • allresourceupdates
    22 September 2013 at 7:11 am

    Wow What a wonderful Journey you had..

    • dNambiar
      23 September 2013 at 4:02 am

      Thank you for the visit.

  • Tomichan Matheikal
    22 September 2013 at 3:05 pm


    • dNambiar
      23 September 2013 at 4:03 am

      Those trees are really, really tall. This is a fun way to see them. 🙂

  • Pradip Biswas
    22 September 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Wonderful narration.

    • dNambiar
      23 September 2013 at 4:03 am

      Thank you Pradip. And welcome to Tipsy From The Trip. 🙂

  • Rahul Bhatia
    23 September 2013 at 4:00 am

    Yet one more time you have enticed me with the lovely narrative and pictures to this dreamy train ride, Divya:) Keep seeing and sharing with us all these beauties!

    • dNambiar
      23 September 2013 at 4:08 am

      Aww… Thank you for your kind words and support, Mr. Bhatia.
      It is such a pleasure. Gotta take you on many, many more vicarious trips 😉

      I enjoy reading your travelogues too. Have a great week. 🙂

  • magiceye
    23 September 2013 at 8:36 am

    Lovely pics and wonderful narration!!

    • dNambiar
      11 October 2013 at 4:16 pm

      Thank you so much, Deepak. 🙂

  • 100 and counting |
    5 December 2016 at 11:38 pm

    […] A railway ride into a redwood forest […]

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