Roaring camp and big trees narrow gauge railroad Felton Reviews
May 05, 2007
I have lived within a few miles from it for 6 years, and almost everyday I hear the train whistle in the woods but I finally got on the train today. We had a picnic with friends at the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and then took the Steam Train to Bear Mountain at 12:30. The mountain is the first coastal redwoods forest to be protected from logging. Story goes that although the man who bought the mountain with the big redwoods intended to log the trees, but his wife fell in love with the trees and persuaded him to leave them standing. So the railroad was only used to carry tourists never for logging.
The steam trains are able to climb 7% grade, and even 10% during the switchbacks, much steeper than normal trains are capable of doing.
If you have a group, you can buy discounted group tickets. The ride took just over an hour, through towering redwoods, switchbacks and sandstone mountainsides with fossils showing the area used to be under the sea. The only stop at the stop "Cathedral Woods" is a beautiful circle of redwoods all grown from one original tree in the middle which is now dead. The trees surround you and it was really impressive looking up and around. Weddings have been held as this natural cathedral for nature lovers.
There is also a beach train which goes to the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk, but we didn't take that today.
The camp and train station is decorated like an old western place. The train has open top, with benches on both sides, for good viewing of the redwoods above and around, one of the cars has covered roof, for those who do not want to be in the open.
It was more fun than I had expected (I had thought it would be rather boring...) and I would recommend it to people who want to experience the redwood forests in this lovely part of the California coast. You probably want to combine it with a hike in the Henry Cowell part and maybe even spend a night in its campground.
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