California Rail Tour
See the California of Steinbeck and Muir on this rail-themed roundtrip tour from Sacramento.
Sip wine in Napa, ride a cable car up the hills of San Francisco, stand among the giant redwoods, walk in the footsteps of John Steinbeck in Monterey, and experience the sublime beauty of the Yosemite Valley. Including a visit to the California State Railroad Museum, a tour of the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, and rides aboard historic trains like the Sacramento River Train, the Skunk train, the Napa Valley Wine Train, this delightful tour of the Golden State is a rail enthusiast’s dream.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Rides aboard the Sacramento River Train, the Skunk train, the Napa Valley Wine Train, and the Valley Tram in Yosemite
- 7 nights hotel accommodation
- 7 Breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
- Entrance fees to attractions, national parks, and monuments as mentioned in the itinerary
- Tips for included meals
- Luggage handling (one suitcase per person)
- Transportation on a luxury air-conditioned motor coach
- Services of a professional Tour Director
Day 1 - Arrive in Sacramento
All Aboard! Today arrive in Sacramento, shuttle service from the airport to your hotel located in Old Sacramento will be provided. (*Please arrive at the Sacramento Airport by 3:00pm) Upon arrival at the hotel, meet your Western Leisure tour director for check-in and a brief orientation. This evening join the group for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant in historic Old Sacramento. Embassy Suites Sacramento Riverfront, Sacramento, CA (D)
Day 2 - California Railroad Museum
This morning enjoy a tour of colorful Sacramento. Your first stop is the l874-vintage Capitol Building, recently restored to its turn-of-the-century splendor; next, visit the Old Sacramento Historic District, where you can step back in time to the era of the Pony Express, the '49ers, and the arrival of the Central Pacific Railroad. You'll have time to explore at leisure before continuing on to the California State Railroad Museum, where you'll especially want to see the Museum of Railroad History. Catch the vision of men like Leland Stanford, who dreamed of shining rails stretching from coast to coast. With over 225,000 square feet of total exhibit space, the buildings within the California State Railroad Museum complex use stimulating exhibits, enthusiastic and knowledgeable docents, and beautifully restored railroad cars and locomotives to illustrate railroad history in California and the West. Right at the museum you will board the Sacramento Southern Railroad for your first historic train ride. Since1984, more than one million guests have taken a ride aboard the Sacramento Southern Railroad, served by all-volunteer crews. Enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of this authentic locomotive as we roll along the levees of the Sacramento River. In the afternoon depart Sacramento through central California on our way to Ukiah for overnight. Join the group for dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day 3 - Skunk Train to Wine Country
This morning, head deep into Redwood Country to board the Skunk Train. Except for passengers' high-tech cameras and modern garb, a time traveler from the last century would feel quite at home riding the Skunk Train today. The view from the restored rail cars is pretty much unchanged: towering trees, deer drinking from the Noyo River, an isolated fisherman's cabin peeking from the forest. With occasional whistles as it chugs through tunnels, over bridges and past open meadows, the train follows the coastal "Redwood Route" as it has since 1885. Built as a logging railroad, the Skunk line began that year as a logical vehicle for moving massive redwood logs to Mendocino Coast sawmills from the rugged back country. Steam passenger service was started in 1904, extended to the town of Willits in 1911, and discontinued in 1925 when the self-powered, yellow "Skunk" rail cars were inaugurated. The little trains were quickly nicknamed for their original gas engines, which prompted folks to say, "You can smell 'em before you can see 'em." Moving at a leisurely pace, the trains pull covered cars as well as open observation cars—perfect for capturing photographs of this truly exhilarating journey. We’ll journey aboard the train before heading south into wine country. We’ll stop in Healdsburg and a local winery for a guided winery tour and tasting. Sonoma County's soil and climate are perfect for producing world-class wines. Then check into your hotel where the evening is free to enjoy the quaint town of Healdsburg. (CB,L)
Day 4 - Napa Valley Wine Train & San Francisco
This morning travel east to California's beautiful Napa Wine Country and the Napa Station where you will board the Napa Valley Wine Train. The Napa Valley Wine Train provides a relaxing three-hour, thirty-six mile round-trip journey from the historic town of Napa, through one of the world's most well-known wine valleys to the quaint village of St. Helena, and back. Enjoy a three course meal and wine tasting in lavishly restored historic railcars. Next travel south and cross the GoldenGate Bridge on your way to San Francisco, the most romantic city in the world. Arrive Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 where you will have free time to explore, do some shopping, ride the world famous trolley cars and have dinner on your own. Later this evening, transfer to your hotel located just south of San Francisco. (B,L)
Day 5 - Roaring Camp Railroad & Monterey
This morning, travel south toward the scenic Santa Cruz mountains. You are entering the domain of the giant redwoods, the tallest living things on earth. You'll have a chance to marvel at these incredible trees first-hand as you visit Roaring Camp, a former mining town, and now a bustling mountain retreat. You'll board the Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railroad, an authentic narrow-gauge 19-century railway, and enjoy a ride amid the pristine beauty of the mountains. (This Railway boasts the steepest railroad grades in the United States - so be ready for a little excitement, as well as for breathtaking scenic beauty!) After a beautiful ride and some free time for lunch on own, depart the redwoods and travel toward the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean on your way to Monterey, the town made famous by John Steinbeck. Next, discover the mystery of the ocean depths as you tour the Monterey Bay Aquarium for an introduction to the undersea world of Monterey Bay. During a “Behind the Scenes Tour,” you will have a personalized tour focused on your interests and questions as you experience the ultimate insider's view of the Aquarium. Discover animals and plants in front of the galleries then follow a guide through the "Employees Only" doors that you've always wished you could open. Behind-the-scenes, you'll see where they care for animals, how food is prepared and where they keep new arrivals. Next, join the group for a scenic drive on beautiful "17-Mile drive" past world famous Pebble Beach with amazing picture stops along the way. Return to Monterey for some free time to enjoy Cannery Row for shopping and dinner on your own. (B)
Day 6 - Yosemite National Park
Depart Monterey this morning and enter Yosemite National Park for touring. Yosemite, "Jewel of the Sierra," is described as home of the most beautiful streams, the loftiest granite domes, the noblest forests and deepest ice-sculptured canyons in the world. This park will enthrall and delight you. You'll experience the clear air and sunshine first-hand as you board the Valley Tram and travel to Yosemite's most famous scenic highlights, including El Capitan, towering 7,569 feet above the Merced River; Yosemite Falls, the second largest waterfall in the world; Bridalveil Falls, whose roaring torrents cascade down towering cliffs in lacy grandeur; and the geologically-fascinating Half Dome. After spending the day in Yosemite, our accommodations are just outside of the park. (B,D)
Day 7 - Yosemite to Sacramento
Depart Yosemite this morning and arrive all too soon we’ll arrive in Jamestown, CA for touring of Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. It is home to one of America’s last intact, still-operating railroad roundhouses. Known as “The Movie Railroad”, Railtown 1897, its historic locomotives and cars have starred in hundreds of film and TV productions, including High Noon, Back to the Future 3, and Petticoat Junction. Next take a short drive to Ironstone Vineyards, a family owned and operated winerey located in the heart of the Sierra Foothills, California's scenic Gold Rush Country. We'll join the group for a special farewell luncheon. A gourmet buffet lunch will be served in the Culinary Center. While dessert is served, the doors to the music room will be opened so you can enjoy music from the beautifully restored 1927 Alhambra Theatre Pipe Organ. After lunch take a guided tour of the grounds and vineyard, wine caverns and gardens. There will be time for wine tasting and a chance to try your hand at gold panning. Depart Ironstone and travel back to Sacramento for your final night. The evening is free to relax and have dinner on your own. (B,L)
Day 8 - Departure
Transportation has been provided back to the Sacramento Airport for your flights home. What an incredible journey through the past you’ve had on your Rail Tour through California. (B)
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Sacramento River Train
The Sacramento River Train is a local, family-owned business dedicated to preserving a piece of Northern California history, and providing a wide variety of unique things to do for our community. The Rail line spans 28 miles from West Sacramento to Woodland, and at a leisurely 10 to 15 miles per hour, there's plenty of time for a cozy dinner, social wine or beer tasting event, or even an entertaining show.
Departing from Fort Bragg, the first few miles run alongside the Pudding Creek estuary, where common wildlife sightings include blue heron, egrets, osprey, ducks, and the occasional lounging turtle. After passing through Tunnel No. 1, the Skunk Train snakes its way along the Noyo River, zig-zagging through the redwood-thick Noyo River Canyon.
Napa Valley Wine Train
The Napa Valley Wine Train provides a relaxing three-hour, thirty-six mile round-trip journey from the historic town of Napa, through one of the world's most well known wine valleys to the quaint village of St. Helena, and back. Guests aboard the Wine Train enjoy a freshly prepared lunch or dinner inside a fully restored 1915-1917 Pullman Dining Car or 1952 Vista Dome car as they pass the vineyards and wineries of Napa Valley. They also have the option of pre-purchasing a winery tour.
Roaring Camp Redwood Forest Steam Train
Travel over trestles, through towering redwood groves and up a winding narrow-gauge grade to the summit of Bear Mountain as conductors narrate the history of Roaring Camp, the railroad and the forest. In the 1880s, narrow-gauge steam locomotives were used to haul giant redwood logs out of the mountains. Roaring Camp's steam engines date from 1890 and are among the oldest and most authentically preserved narrow-gauge steam engines providing regularly scheduled passenger service in America.
Valley Tram, Yosemite
On this two-hour tour, Rangers introduce some of Yosemite’s most famous sightseeing points in Yosemite Valley and describe the history, geology, plant and animal life of the region. This year-round Yosemite Valley Floor tour provides a fuller knowledge and enjoyment of the park. Open-air trams operate from late spring through early fall. From late October through April, you can ride in an enclosed and heated motor coach with large windows allowing unimpeded views of Yosemite’s famous sights. Bring your camera along for postcard-perfect pictures.
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Everything was well organized and coordinated and we enjoyed all stops and sights.
Dates & Prices
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|28th July 2018||Sold Out|
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: Departs 28th July 2018 (Sold Out)
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