Train Tracks Across the Sierra: Sacramento to Reno and Return

Discover the rugged Sierra Nevada by train and enjoy expert-led excursions to museums, forts and historic sites as you learn the story behind the railroad’s remarkable impact.
Rating (5)
Program No. 12085RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

The building of the railroad over the Sierra was a triumph of grit and determination. Ride the rails through the snow dusted Sierra Mountains and learn the harrowing history of settlement in Northern California, the land of gold and freedom. On our journey through the Bonanza days we will explore Sacramento’s rich Capitol city legacy, Virginia City’s roots as the richest town in America and local indigenous culture at the Nevada State Museum. Reflect on this step back in time as we enjoy lunch on the shore of sparkling Lake Tahoe on our return to Sacramento.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to 2 miles per day. Standing up to 2 hours at a time at museums. Must climb 12 steep stairs to board train. Elevations of 4,400-7,200 feet.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Keep an eye out for silver ore veins as we ride the Virginia & Truckee Railroad through Comstock mine sites.
  • Hear from the author of the definitive book on the Donner Party and visit Donner Memorial State Park and Museum.
  • Relive the historic railroad race at the California State Railroad Museum and learn about the famed "Golden Spike!"
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Frank Mullen
Frank Mullen was a senior reporter at the Reno Gazette-Journal and now teaches journalism classes at the University of Nevada Reno. He authored a year-long series of Gazette Journal articles in 1997, “The Donner Party Chronicles.” He has appeared on the History Channel’s “History’s Mysteries.” In his spare time, Frank has performed in the Great Basin Chautauqua and around the country, in such diverse characterizations as Babe Ruth, Henry VIII and Albert Einstein.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Frank Mullen
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Debbie Dybsky
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Suggested Reading List
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