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Relaxing Train Rides in Northern California

All aboard! Slow your roll and connect with the true spirit of Northern California on a train ride that reveals the region’s history, heritage, and rugged natural beauty. Amtrak offers numerous routes throughout the Golden State, including the celebrated California Zephyr line from San Francisco to Donner Pass (and on to Chicago). Cruise through scenic farmland and orchards on the Sierra Railroad Dinner Train, which offers themed rides (like craft beer pairing dinners) and live music.

Like vintage trains? Roll through history on the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad. Its 4-mile route was once used by loggers to haul massive trees out of the forest. At Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, you can take a trip through Gold Country on a steam-powered train through the Sierra foothills. Hop on an authentic 1880s steam locomotive or 1920s beach train at Roaring Camp Railroads. Follow the tracks to find incredible train rides in Northern California.

Enjoy brunch, lunch, or dinner on the Sacramento River Train. You’ll board in Woodland and follow a three-hour route along the scenic Sacramento River. Sip a glass of Chardonnay on the Napa Valley Wine Train, a luxurious trip through California’s most famous wine region. 

Niles Canyon Railway

Operated by the Pacific Locomotive Association, the Niles Canyon Railway runs historic train rides from the Fremont depot in the San Francisco Bay Area. Enjoy a ride through Niles Canyon, one of the earliest California rail lines built. Let the railway host your next private party. Rent a Caboose, a Railbus or a Train – for up to 400 people – for a fun and unique event location.

View the collection of 22 locomotives and train cars at the depot, for better appreciation of the Pacific Coast railroad history. While in Fremont, consider visiting the Mission San Jose or the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. You'll find the main pick-up spot for the Niles Canyon Railway only minutes outside of Fremont, near the Sinbad Creek on Kilkare Rd.

Skunk Train

Enjoy scenic views and a comfortable ride the next time you visit the North Coast of California. Head for Fort Bragg and embark on a tour of the Mendocino County on the Skunk Train. Officially known as the California Western Railroad, this popular passenger train follows a path heading southeast into Willits.

The California Western Railroad operates diesel-powered trains and steam-powered. Enjoy a ride through the Redwood Forests where you'll pass by the Noyo River and Pudding Creek. The "skunk" moniker came about around 1925, when the CWR gas-powered trains – the common saying was, "you can smell them before you see them."