The History of the Logger Train
Timber! The last little bit of its core finally cracks. Branches snap off of nearby trees as the massive pine slowly crashes to the forest floor. Lumberjacks quickly take to the freshly felled timber; their saws rattle and snarl as they tear through the bark of the mighty tree. They hurry to split it into large logs to be hauled off by the steam engine. The whistle blows as the locomotive approaches. It chugs faster as it makes its way up the steep grade. It’s the end of the work day, and this will be a heavy load to haul off—but the Shay locomotive is powerful. The last log is chained down and the whistle blows once more as the steam train winds its way down the mountain on the narrow gauge tracks.
Long gone, but not forgotten, these are the days of the Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company and its logging operation during the turn of the 20th century in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Relive this rich California history of the post-Gold Rush era at the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad located just outside Yosemite National Park.
Ride the Historic Steam Train, the “Logger,” at Yosemite’s South Gate
All aboard for an exciting four-mile scenic excursion through the Sierra National Forest on the restored railroad used for the Madera Sugar Pine’s logging trains.
The Logger Steam Train
Take your seat on an open-air log or covered passenger car for a narrated journey back in time along the narrow gauge tracks. Enjoy a brief stopover in the Lewis Creek Canyon to see the locomotive up close, or explore the outdoors before your return trip to the station. Vintage Shay locomotives provide the steam power for this one 1-hour journey.
Befriend the conductor as he tells you old logging stories and teaches you about the local flora while traveling down the tracks in a quaint “Model A” gas engine railcar on this 30-minute journey.
Moonlight Train Ride and BBQ
This popular event offers a NY steak or chicken BBQ dinner al fresco at the station with live music. Then take your seat on The Logger Steam Train for an excursion narrated by the conductor. Along the way you will recall the days of the Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company’s logging operations, discover the trees of the Sierra National Forest, and find out why the Shay locomotive is unprecedented. Step off the train during a stopover at Lewis Creek Canyon for some fun and entertainment featuring live music or theater. Hear the whistle blow and see the Shay’s firebox glow under the night sky on your trip back to the station.
A guest favorite for over 40 years! Take a seat around the campfire and sing along with Sugar Pine, an acoustic string ensemble, to covers of some your favorite folk songs and oldies while stopped at Lewis Creek Canyon. Reservations recommended.
Boo the villain and cheer for the hero during this entertaining Melodrama presented by the Golden Chain Theatre. Enjoy the show outdoors at the Lewis Creek Canyon Amphitheater. Select dates only. Reservations recommended.
Gold Rush City
Dip your hands into history and relive the excitement of the California Gold Rush when you pan for gold in authentic sluice boxes. The prospector will teach you the proper techniques just like the 49ers used so you, too, will be yelling, “Eureka!”
Museum, Shops and Snacks
For a glimpse of logging life at the turn of the century, visit the Thornberry Museum. Get your train ticket and find unique gifts, souvenirs and gourmet candy at the Depot.
Gift Shop & Ticket Office. You’ll find books of all sorts on the shelves of the Sugar Pine Trading Company.
Bookstore, as well as fine gifts. Grab a bite at the Station Sandwich Shop, featuring casual fare, baked goods and ice cream. Enjoy plenty of picnic area for the whole family, tour groups, and birthday parties.
Private Events and Tour Groups
Host your next event at the Sugar Pine Railroad! Charter a train excursion exclusively for your group, organization, or business. The facilities are perfect for weddings, receptions, parties, conventions and meetings for up to 250 people. They offer catered meals or onsite BBQ, and have ample car and bus parking available.
School Field Trips
An unforgettable experience and history lesson! They offer a wide range of educational opportunities for school groups of all ages. Discounted train ride and gold panning packages available with advanced reservations.
Train Schedule and Ticketing
The Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is open from mid-March through late October, weather permitting.
During the season, The Logger Steam Train departs daily at 11 a.m. with additional departure times throughout the day at the peak of the season (June–August). Jenny Railcars operate daily and run before and after the Steam Train schedule. Call or visit online for a current operating schedule.
Moonlight Train Ride & BBQ is held every Saturday evening late May through early October, with the addition of Wednesday evenings June through August.
Tickets can be purchased in advance online, or at the Depot Ticket Office. Pricing subject to change without notice.
For More Information:
Tenaya Lodge Concierge/Guest Services