Error message

Lingotek profile ID 4 not found.
Courtesy of Sacramento River Train

Sacramento River Train

Sacramento River Train
Ride along a stretch of Gold Country landscape while dining, wine-tasting, or watching a show

Get a feel for the golden era of California railroad travel on this West Sacramento train, which combines a historic stretch of track with everything from craft beer tastings and live music to Wild West-style shows.

The 14 miles of track, running from West Sacramento to Woodland in Yolo County, just west of the capital city, were first laid in 1911 by the Northern Electric Company, and the line was used for years to transport goods from local farms into the city. Once Northern Electric merged with Sacramento Northern Railways, the line offered eight daily round-trip passenger trains between Woodland and Sacramento until World War II.

The six-car train that runs today—a combination of open-air cars and enclosed, air-conditioned coaches—got a makeover in 2015, beyond its exterior of California gold and blue, river-like waves. “We enhanced the interior of the cars, harkening back to the proud legacy of passenger rail travel,” says Rashael Parker, chief marketing officer for the family-owned company, “with timeless fabrics, tin-inspired ceilings, and wood finishes.”

The train cruises along at just 10 to 15 miles per hour, offering a leisurely view of the river and farmlands, and often providing enough time for a meal or a show. Take the two-hour RiverTrain Excursion for the views, and perhaps also for the add-on breakfast with mimosas. The other excursions offer a variety of experiences—like the Old Vine Express (with live music and tastings from 15 different Northern California wineries), the Beer Train (with more live music and a focus on local craft beers), and the Great Train Robbery, a Wild West-style showdown that ends happily (as in, with a barbecue picnic lunch).

There is also a full slate of holiday trains, from Easter, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day trains during spring and summer to the Pumpkin Train in the fall and the Magical Christmas Train in December. “The train is a truly unique venue, from its narrow hallways to its rocking motion and open-air patio cars,” says Parker. “Every moment onboard feels distinctly like traveling through a bygone era.” 

 

Sacramento River Train VCW_HERO_CV_PacificStar_UPick3_Flippen_1280x642_sized
Laura Flippen

Central California

Discover the Central Valley

Sacramento River Train vca_maps_centralvalley
8
December
Average (°C)
Dec - Feb
16°
High
3°
Low
Mar - May
28°
High
7°
Low
June - Aug
36°
High
16°
Low
Sept - Nov
32°
High
6°
Low

California’s heartland offers up one of the state’s most authentic and sensory-rich experiences, a chance to see—and taste—the state’s bounty at every turn. Follow oak-shaded country roads to farm stands overflowing with fresh produce, and meander along wine trails to some of the state’s most productive vineyards and low-key tasting rooms.

Peaches, plums, apricots, and tomatoes—just some of the ultra-fresh produce you will find at farm stands throughout the valley.

Throughout the broad valley, stretching for over 400 miles/644 kilometers down the middle of the state, are cities and towns rich with history, international culture, and “everyone’s welcome” charm. 

 

Sacramento River Train VC_SolanoCounty_Stock_RM_BH5GAT_1280x640
Derrell McCain/Alamy

Best Kept Secret: Solano County

See why this Central Valley region holds its own in terms of good wine, pretty countryside, and cool activities

A treasure awaits about 20 miles east of Napa, in a lovely but largely “secret” area of sprawling countryside and bayfront beauty. This is ...

Sacramento River Train VCW_D_CV_T7_IMG_7643_1280x642
Lake Berryessa, located just outside of Winters, has a sunken city underneath it called Monticello.
Sacramento River Train VCW_D_CV_T11_CV_Davis_FarmersMkt_Farnum_sized
Alex Farnum

Davis

You don’t have to be a student to enjoy the perks of this ag-oriented college town

Eco-friendly, liberal leaning, progressive, impressive professor’s homes and fraternity houses—Davis has the hallmarks of a classic American...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisan cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets are...

Sacramento River Train VCW_SI_FarmersMarket_T4_CV_DavisFrmMkt1_Flippen_preview_686x885
Laura Flippen
Sacramento River Train HagginMuseum_CV
Laura Flippen

Haggin Museum

Local history merges with world-renowned art at this must-see museum in Stockton’s Victory Park

Housed in an early-19th-century brick building, this handsome art and history museum is the centrepiece of Stockton’s stately Victory Park. The 34...

California's Heartland

California's Heartland
Sacramento River Train californiasheartland_stop1_tehamatrail_rf_170882174_0

The Tehama Trail is a surprisingly fertile area—a prime place for farms and ranches. Many invite visitors to stop in and buy fresh produce, artisanal olive oils, and other local food products.

The trail links together nearly two dozen vineyards, orchards, and grass-fed beef ranchers and...

Sacramento River Train highway99_stop1_bakersfield_buckowens_tf7n8a1694_0

Bakersfield is full of surprises. Once known for oil and agriculture, this Central Valley town is morphing into an arts, culture, and sports hub, while still offering a glimpse of the past. Visit Colonel Allensworth State Historic...

Sacramento River Train GreyLodge_KG_1280x642
Kodiak Greenwood

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

Map of Shasta Cascade
Some 300 species of birds and mammals make this a Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts

Located on the Pacific Flyway 60 miles north of Sacramento, Gray Lodge encompasses 9,200 acres surrounded by agricultural flatlands and...

Sacramento River Train VCW_D_CV_T7_IMG_7643_sized_0
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Houseboating

Take to the water on a deluxe floating home

In California, it’s hard to talk about houseboats without talking about the Central Valley. One of the state’s premier places for holidaying in a...

Sacramento River Train VCW_D_CV_T2_Delta_Manley_sized
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

California Delta

A boater’s and fisherman’s paradise awaits

Located north-east of the San Francisco Bay, this 1,000-mile network of inland waterways—the major waterway from the snow-capped Sierra Nevada to...

Lodi Wine Country
Dale Goff Photography

Lodi Wine Country

Sample the city’s famous Zinfandels after a day of outdoor fun

Best known for big red wines, particularly old-vine Zinfandels, the American Viticultural Area of...

Sacramento River Train FF_VCW_D_CV_T8_Fresno_Manley
The 10 acres of rooms, passages and gardens at Fresno's Forestiere Underground Gardens were excavated by hand using only farming tools.
Sacramento River Train VCW_D_CV_T9_Buck Owens Crystal Palace 4_sized
Courtesy of Buck Owens Crystal Palace

Bakersfield

Experience California’s oil-rich history, with Basque food and country western music on the side

This rapidly growing city in the southern Central Valley is full of surprises. Once known for oil and agriculture, Bakersfield has...