If you are looking for a fun family adventure in the Santa Cruz area, look no further than the Roaring Camp Railroad. The adventure begins as you travel back in time to the old west. You arrive to the camp through a beautiful covered bridge. At the end of the bridge, there are many old buildings and artifacts that represent an era that many find adventurous, the Wild West.
The camp has a silver smith house where you can watch the smith make horseshoes. There are shows everyday where you can watch the silver smith do a presentation on what it's like to work in that area. Visitors can ask questions and look at the work done onsite.
Next to the shop, a covered wagon sits at the side of the building. The wagon is a fun picture moment for the family, and reminds this writer of a simpler time in history.
The next building you will come to is the ticket station. This is where you will purchase your tickets to board the train. The station has a covered area where there are benches to sit on while waiting for the train.
This is a great time to sit and get to know the people around you.
Each person in your group will have their own ticket. The ticket is a great memorial for your scrapbook, or a scrapbook for your child. The ticket also gives the visit such an authentic feel as you hand the ticket to the conductor.
Stream Train Loading Water from the Tower
When the train pulls up and comes to a stop the conductor will let everyone take a seat on the train. There are three open box cars and one covered box car that people can sit in. The open cars are more popular as one can stretch out there hands and touch nature. You can also smell the fresh air as the mist from the steam engine hits the trees.
Before leaving the station a final check is conducted on the engine and the car links. While this is taking place the Marshal of the Roaring Camp entertains the passenger with stories and information on his horse Quick Silver.
Marshal of Roaring Camp and his Horse Quick Silver
The Marshal is very funny and has a fun time with his audience. His horse is a beautiful one, and is very well trained to be around all the noises from the steam train and people. If you disregard all the electronics there is a real feeling of the old west that you can relish in.
On Saturdays there is also a steam train that takes groups down to the Santa Cruz Peir and Beach. The cars on this train are more standardized and covered even though the windows are open. The ride is a lot longer of a ride and the patrons have time to get off and go to the board walk.
Engine 7 is the steam engine pulling us up the mountainside to a beautiful open area on the mountainside. There is a mountain bike trail that follows the railway, but no roads.
One of the old Logging Steam Engines
On the way out of town you can see Quick Silver racing the train. You can also see an old logging steam engine. The couple in the picture are from a Florida. They were great to get to know as we talked about them avoiding the hurricane that was happening at that same time period.
The train left the village entering the beautiful sequoia redwoods. It was not a fast ride like a transit system subway, but a huffing and puffing train that took time so you did not miss a thing.
The Guide in the Sequoia Clearing
As the train made its way to the top there was a guide waiting there to answer any questions that one had about the area. The passengers were allowed off the train to stretch their legs and look around the area.
A Wedding Practice
As we sat on a near by log music started to stream trough the air. Checking where it was coming from, I came across a clearing were a wedding was to be held later in the day. The trees created a beautiful nature background for the special occasion and the music could be heard clearly with the void of noise pollution from the city.
It creates an amazing setting for such a special occasion.
This is a fun area not only for a train ride, but it has some challenging bike and hiking trails for the nature enthusiast. Not many people are on these trails so it gives a person a lot of solitude if one desires.
Falling Asleep on the Ride
Anytime you can connect with nature and your love it can be relaxing and romantic. There might be a car full of people, but when you're in nature's open air, all the people can fade away connecting you and the one you love together binding the relationship even tighter through a magical weave of fresh air and peace.
There are Redwood trees that are as old as time and preserved extremely well. The only danger to the trees was man trying to chop them down, but luckily in this area they are protected. The trees get their water from the mist that surrounds the mountains in the morning hours. Fires have gone through the area even, but the giants did not burn down. They live to tell the story of the past for may futures to come.
Up and Down and All Around
The train ride takes many turns and switches tracks several times to get to the top. It's a fun ride for the whole family.
When the ride is through, you can take a walk through the old town. There is a store that has many different items such as books on trains, conductor hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and conductor watches. They have a small sequoia tree that you can buy and take home to plant in your yard. They have candies and other treats as well.
The small store has an old small town feel to it. The keeper of the shop reminds me of MrsOlsen from Little House on The Prairie, a little difficult but she did her job.
The Town Hall
The town hall is a great gathering place. People can rent it for social events and the camp also has many fun rents at the railway for the different holidays.
Getting a Bite to Eat
Finally you can slide up to the window and order your lunch. They have a little of everything. Shakes, ice cream, churros, hamburgers, grilled cheese, fries, breakfast burritos, chicken barritos, chicken fingers, just to name a few things, and the prices are not that bad.
It was a very fun experience and I would encourage all in the area to try it.