Railtown 1897: April Rides Opening

Toot-toot among the wildflowers of the Sierra foothills Gold Country.

Railtown 1897

NO FOOLIN': If you have a ten-gallon hat you're rather fond of, and you're up on your Sierra stories, the kind of stories that talk of the days of the Gold Rush, and of the famous characters who settled in the rolling foothills of the big mountains, and you like a day out among the trees, well, all that can be had beginning on April 1, 2017. That's where the "no foolin'" part came in, simply because any fun happening that has a launch date on April Fools' Day is sometimes met with an air of skepticism. But the only air to be found while riding the historical rails near Jamestown is straight-up, breathe-deep fresh air. Indeed, we're about to toot-toot our way into talking about Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, which is located in the Gold Country burg of Jamestown, and which typically holds its season-opening date around the early spring. And that date will be Saturday, April 1, and Sunday, April 2, a kick-off weekend flush with fun activities, and, of course, rides on...

THE MOVIE RAILROAD: A number of films were shot in the area, with the Sierra No. 3 starring on screen (you'll be able to see the famous engine during the opening weekend). Live magic, live tunes, and diesel train rides are all on the docket, though, no, you won't need to don a ten-gallon to join in. You should, however, keep your eyes on the landscape as you ride, for April is juuuust when the gorgeous wildflowers of the region get to poppin' (it's a bit early, but you never know, with the rains and such). The ride is 45 minutes, so you'll have lots of looking-around time, or, if you prefer it in miles, it's about six, all told. Does this feel nicely springy, nicely cinematic, and a way to indulge your Sierra-sweet love in an old-fashioned way? Again, no foolin' — April 1 is the start date for rides and more at Railtown 1897.

GOOD TO NOTE: Those popular steam-powered trains'll run after opening weekend, so if your heart is set on a steamie, inquire with the park about the exact dates you can board one in 2017.

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