Discover more than 150 years of train history from historic railways that supported the logging industry to the metropolitan transport that moves today’s residents of San Francisco around the Bay Area.

Starting at: $5,295 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Napa Valley Wine Train passing through a vineyard. Credit: Napa Valley Wine Train  Dining room aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train. Credit: Napa Valley Wine Train  The acclaimed Napa Valley Wine Train. Credit: Napa Valley Wine Train  Passengers aboard one of San Francisco's world-famous cable cars.  Credit: Library of Congress  Cable cars, an icon of San Francisco. Credit: Library of Congress  ACE Train on Altamont Pass. Credit: Nathan D. Holmes

Railroading in California

8 days from $5,295

Discover more than 150 years of train history from historic railways that supported the logging industry to the metropolitan transport that moves today’s residents of San Francisco around the Bay Area.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

From historic railways that supported the logging industry to the metropolitan transport that moves today’s residents of San Francisco around the Bay Area, California has known more than 150 years of train history. Join us for a unique journey to ride the rails from the Sierra Nevada through the Central Valley, across the San Francisco Bay, and into Napa Valley.

Highlights Include

  • Sierra Railway: Journey to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park to ride the Sierra Railway, which held a starring role in many Hollywood films, including Back to the Future Part III.
  • San Francisco Cable Cars: Ride these world-famous icons and learn about their history as one of the world's last manually operated cable car systems.
  • Napa Valley Wine Train: After crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, enjoy lunch aboard this acclaimed restaurant on wheels, as you go back to the Golden Age of rail travel in vintage Pullman railcars.
  • California State Railroad Museum: Learn about the rich and colorful history of California’s railroads and the unique economic development that resulted at this highly recognized museum in Sacramento. 

Another great trip on the rails. 

- Mary, M.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

2018 Itinerary

Day 1 — Oakland

Arrive in Oakland’s Jack London Square neighborhood by midafternoon. Check into the hotel and gather for a welcome reception, opening remarks, and dinner. (D)

Day 2 — San Joaquins and Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

Depart Oakland’s Jack London Square Amtrak Station aboard the San Joaquins to Stockton. Next, a short drive brings you to California’s Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, home of the historic Sierra Railway and the embarkation point for the first of your scenic train rides this week. Enjoy a tour of the shops and a chance to photograph historic locomotives and railway cars. Afterward, you’ll return to Stockton for an overnight stay. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Altamont Pass / Niles Canyon / Redwood Forests of Roaring Camp Railroads

This morning you ride the route used by the pre-Amtrak California Zephyr on its way between California’s Central Valley and its terminus on the east side of San Francisco Bay. Your train, an Altamont Corridor Express, takes you over Altamont Pass and through Niles Canyon. You transfer up into the Santa Cruz Mountains for your next train where you will travel over trestles, through towering redwood groves and up a winding narrow-gauge grade to the summit of Bear Mountain. In the 1880s, narrow-gauge steam locomotives were used to haul giant redwood logs out of the mountains. Later you will return to San Jose for the evening. (B,L,D) 

Day 4 — San Francisco / Cable Cars

Today, transfer to Caltrain for a ride into San Francisco on rails that Southern Pacific’s Coast Daylight traveled. We will experience San Francisco Municipal Railway “Muni” light-rail and cable car lines on our way to the Cable Car Powerhouse, which doubles as the cable car museum. You then ride a cable car to the foot of California Street, visit the SF Railway Museum and ride the historic streetcars that ply Muni’s acclaimed F-line along the Embarcadero. Dinner is on your own. (B,L) 

Day 5 — Wine Country / Napa Valley Wine Train

This morning we’ll shuttle north over the Golden Gate Bridge through Marin County to Northern California’s most famous wine country: Napa. Afterward, your lunch today will be a special treat–aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train’s Gourmet Express. Then you’ll head to Ukiah to stay the night. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — By Rail through the Coast Redwoods

After a short drive this morning, you will travel the California Western Railroad aboard its famed Skunk Train through a redwood forest. Completed in 1911 as a lumber hauler, the California Western attracted summer visitors from the beginning. In collaboration with the Northwestern Pacific railroad during the 1920s, it even had through sleeping-car service from San Francisco Bay. Later you will transfer to Sonoma County where you will spend the evening. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — California’s Newest Railroad / California State Railroad Museum

Today’s train ride is on California’s newest commuter railroad, the Sonoma and Marin Area Rail Transit, SMART. A revival of the south portion of the Northwestern Pacific, SMART was authorized by the California Legislature in 2002 and funded by a sales-tax initiative approved in 2008 by voters of the two counties it serves. Its first 43 miles, between the Sonoma County Airport station and downtown San Rafael. After our SMART trip, transfer to Sacramento. Lunch and the afternoon is yours to spend in Old Sacramento, home of the California State Railroad Museum, the best of its kind in the nation. You will gather this evening for a festive farewell dinner. (B,D)

Day 8 — Depart

Your trip home may be arranged from Sacramento International Airport; or, by connecting from Amtrak Capitol Corridor service, Oakland International Airport. Sacramento is also served by Amtrak’s California Zephyr to Denver and Chicago, and Coast Starlight to southern California and the Pacific Northwest. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)