Ride the Sugar Pine Railroad, then savor an extraordinary meal
Tell someone you're going to Fish Camp, Sugar Pine, orOakhurst, and chances are you'll get a blank stare. Say they're thetowns strung along State 41, south of Yosemite National Park, andsuddenly you're no longer speaking Greek.
Yosemite is the brand-name destination in these parts. Still,with all due respect to the park, it's not all there is. For a dayor two, anyway, forget about Yosemite and explore the three townsjust south of the park boundary and the surrounding portion ofEastern Madera County. Your rewards: A train ride powered by a rarelogging locomotive, an eyeful of some of the world's most massivegiant sequoias (minus the crowds), and one of the most memorablemeals anywhere in California.
Ride the rails, revel in romance
"People don't realize what it took to build America, and theSugar Pine Railroad was part of it," says Max Stauffer, presidentof the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, a narrow-gaugerailroad that once played a key role in transporting lumber for thecentral Sierra's largest, most important logging company. "The needfor wood was as much a part of Western history as the GoldRush."