Roadtrip Idea: Ultimate Railfan Tour

From important Native American and historic battle sites to goldrush and pioneer history, Siskiyou is a history-lover’s dream destination. For railfanners in particular, Siskiyou offers a time capsule back to frontier times. So we’ve put together an itinerary that’s sure to become a new ultimate railfan tour favorite!

Start in Dunsmuir, Traintown USA

For starters, check yourself into the Railroad Park Resort & RV Park. Here you can eat on a historic train and sleep in a caboose.  From there it’s easy to explore Dunsmuir – a historic train town and depot with the delightful Wheelhouse Café across the street. (If you’re there in early June, you should also check out the Dunsmuir Railroad Days events!) Just outside of Dunsmuir, you’ll also find Hedge Creek Falls. Legend has it that’s where stagecoach bandit Black Bart once used to hideout.

Next up is McCloud, a historic timber town where the old railroad line has been turned into a scenic multi-use trail known as the Great Shasta Rail Trail. The trail even includes the train trestle bridge made famous in the film Stand By Me. From McCloud, stop along the Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture, but call ahead to see if there’s a volunteer who can let you in (for website and info, visit here).

Then make your way to the charming one-block downtown of Montague, where you’ll find the Montague Train Museum. Finally, venture to the northeastern corner of Siskiyou to Dorris. The town was named in 1907 by the Southern Pacific Railroad for the Dorris brothers and you can still see its famed train tunnel from 1909 (from a distance).

Last, head to the Lava Beds National Monument which was the site of the Modoc War. Here you can take a self-guided  GPS-enabled audio driving tour through the Monument and learn the role the railroad played in starting the war. The exciting, award-winning tour is narrated by a descendent of one of the Modoc Warriors. Visit here for instructions on downloading the free tour.

For additional historic hotspot road trip ideas, visit here.


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