There are several different travel routes to the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad but my family and I decided to take the HWY 167 route. This let us through the downtown of a few cities and therefor, quite a bit of traffic. (The better route was on the way home taking Hwy 7 to the 512 and then 1-5)
Finally, we arrived in Elbe, WA, pronounced ELL-bee. The town of Elbe is a small town full of unique and charming attractions and is must do for train lovers.
If you are looking to make an overnight trip, there is the Hobo Inn, a charming bed and breakfast, where the rooms are literally built inside an actual train. My family planned just a short day trip but we will definitely make sure to visit this gem on our next trip to the area!
Since it was my first time visiting the Scenic Railroad I was unsure what to expect in terms of dining options so I packed a large lunch for the six of us, along with plenty of snacks. When we arrived I was pleased to learn I could take our travel food on the train.
When we picked up our tickets a detailed brochure was provided with many colorful pictures and a brief history about the trains and the rail company.
After handing our tickets to the conductor, we hopped on the massive steam engine train. Inside, the car was full people from all ages boarded to take this fun adventure.
Our seating options included benches looking out through open windows or the dining car with the windows covered. We sat in the dining car to enjoy both the train trip and our lunch. A snack cart was set up to serve fresh popped popcorn, coffee and snacks for purchase.
The train ride into Mineral was about forty minutes, winding through many scenic view points. On a clear day there is an amazing view of Mt Rainier!
The train stops at the museum where some of the oldest steam trains are located. Thirty minutes were set aside to look around and it was more than enough time to see all the trains.
Bells & Whistles
The younger kids were able to get to get into one of the trains and work the bell, this was a big hit! A nearby play area is a great place for photos. There is also a picnic area that would be a perfect place to host events or plan a wedding.
For our return trip the steam engine moved from the front to the back of the train and we traveled the same route. This allowed us the opportunity to see a view we might have missed or to look out the other side of the train to see a whole new view.
The depot station had a small gift shop and the staff was friendly and helpful in answering our questions about the area. We stayed just long to watch the Steam Engine show off by blowing steam and honking the horn before we hit the road to return home.
Our family had a fun filled day enjoying the Mt Rainier Scenic Railroad, it is a must do for people of all ages!
Tickets for the Scenic Railroad range from $21 to $41. Children under 2 ride for free.
Reservations are recommended to guarantee space. the trains run May through September and in December for the Santa Trains.
Estimated tour time is 2 hours.