Cruising for history and scenery in Santa Cruz County

bulldog on open-air train
Engineer-in-training on Roaring Camp Railroad. Photo by Visit Santa Cruz.

Roaring Camp Railroads, based out of Felton in Santa Cruz County, provides more than just a dog-friendly ride. The company’s Redwood Forest Steam Trains roll on a narrow-gauge track once used to haul giant redwood logs from the forest. They cruise now on 75-minute trips from Roaring Camp to Bear Mountain, where a picnic stop and hiking trails await.

There’s also a Beach Train that makes 3-hour excursions along the San Lorenzo River to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk amusement park (sorry; it’s not dog-friendly).

Many special events (brew train or chuck-wagon BBQ, anyone?) put on throughout the year are ideal for multigenerational outings, and the beautiful grounds around Roaring Camp invite hikes and exploration. Put your noses in the air to breathe in the aroma of California’s signature trees. They might be second-growth, but they’re still mighty impressive.

Most regularly scheduled excursion trains are pulled by historic Shay locomotives, designed for Western logging operations, while others departures are via diesel-operated trains. Dogs are welcome, but please be aware that noise levels and vibrations may be bothersome to some.

The village of Roaring Camp offers another hit of history, along with kid-friendly activities including candle making, craft stations, corn hole, horseshoes, hula-hooping and blacksmithing demonstrations.

Posted on: July 05, 2022

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