Railtown 1897 State Historic Park

Gold Country

Five blocks east of Jamestown’s Main St, this 26-acre collection of trains and railroad equipment is the photogenic sister to Sacramento's rail museum. It's served as a backdrop for countless films and TV shows, including Back to the Future III, Unforgiven and High Noon. On some weekends and holidays, you can ride the narrow-gauge railroad that once transported ore, lumber and miners.

The 45-minute, 6-mile circuit is easily the best train ride in Gold Country. Ask the passionate volunteers to show you the roundhouse and restored station, or just wander around. There’s a lyrical romance to the place, where an explosion of orange poppies grows among the rusting shells of steel goliaths, and the air is spiced with creosote, campfire smoke and pine.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Gold Country attractions

1. Tuolumne County Museum

2.24 MILES

In the former 1857 Tuolumne County Jail, you'll find this great little museum with a fortune’s worth of gold on display in the form of nuggets and gold…

2. Columbia State Historic Park

5.53 MILES

The so-called ‘Gem of the Southern Mines’ is like a miniature Gold Rush Disneyland, but with more authenticity and heart. Four blocks of town have been…

3. Columbia Museum

5.54 MILES

Looking rather like dinosaur bones, limestone and granite boulders are noticeable around town. These were washed out of the surrounding hills by hydraulic…

4. Ironstone Vineyards

12.11 MILES

The unusually family-friendly atmosphere makes the wine feel secondary at Ironstone. There’s a natural spring waterfall, a mechanical pipe organ, frequent…

5. Newsome-Harlow

13.01 MILES

This family run winery pours the juicy red varietals that made them famous in their lively tasting lounge. At times, the place feels like the community…

6. Tanner

13.06 MILES

In downtown Murphys, start wine tasting at Tanner, whose family was the first to plant grapes and pay an alcohol tax in Calaveras County during the 1860s.

7. Twisted Oak

13.07 MILES

Don't miss the Rhône red blend at Twisted Oak's tasting room in downtown Murphys.

8. Murphys Old Timers Museum

13.09 MILES

The name is a good hint that this place approaches history with a humorous touch. Housed in an 1856 building, it has an inscrutable tintype of the outlaw…