High Sierra California Visitor Information

Western Pacific Railroad Museum, Portola

Come live the history of one of the most famous and storied railroads in the country: the Western Pacific.

An underdog built to compete with one of the giants of the railroading world, the Western Pacific earned the wrath of industry titan Edward H. Harriman before it even got started. Once complete, it forever faced long odds, economic difficulties and the forces of nature as it went about its task of moving people and products.

The Western Pacific Railroad Museum at Portola is the largest and most complete collection in North America dedicated to telling the story of one railroad, and also one of the few places where you can experience railroad history in a truly hands-on way. Sit at the controls of the world’s largest diesel locomotive. Climb aboard passenger cars from the California Zephyr, one of the nation’s most famous passenger trains. And you can even take the throttle of a real railroad locomotive in the oldest engineer experience program in the US.

Our museum is a great family destination. We highly encourage our visitors to climb aboard our equipment to get a real feel for what Railroading is all about. It is this “hands-on” philosophy that makes us a popular family destination for folks of all ages. Located at the top of Northern California’s Feather River Canyon, the museum is only a 45 minute drive from Reno, Nevada, and just under 3 hours from Sacramento and the Central Valley. Admission to the museum is free (although a donation is very much appreciated), and five dollars gets you an all day pass on our train rides which run on the weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Museum hours are from 10am to 5pm and we feature a well stocked gift shop to purchase cold drinks, snacks, and railroad memorabilia.

The museum has over 35 locomotives and 80 cars of various types. Unlike many other museums, visitors to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum soon discover that this is a hands-on facility where they are encouraged to climb up in the cabs of locomotives, sit in the engineer’s seats, and browse through the many cabooses and passenger cars that are on display. Our Museum is one of the few places in the world where you can operate a real diesel locomotive (reservations required). The museum also maintains a gift shop located within the diesel shop. The Museum is open 7 days a week 10am – 5pm The first Saturday in April through the first Sunday in November.

DIRECTIONS: Once you arrive in Portola, just follow the signs to the Western Pacific Railroad museum.

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Western Pacific Railroad Museum, Portola
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