Want to do something totally different this year for the Fourth of July? How about taking your family for a ride on the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad? The historic railroad will be open and operating Friday, July 4, Saturday, July 5, and Sunday, July 6, to commemorate Independence Day. The train runs to the Heisson area, through a 330-foot solid rock tunnel, and makes a stop at Moulton Station to visit scenic Yacolt Falls.
The trains will depart on each of the above-mentioned days at noon and 2:30 p.m. from the train station in Yacolt. Passengers should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to departure. Reservations are recommended because space on the train is limited. Tickets are $16 for adults, $15 for seniors age 60 and over, $11 for kids ages five to 12, $9 for children ages two to four, and children under two are free. Check out the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad website at www.bycx.com or call 360-686-3559 for more information, reservations, and directions.
The Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Association is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization operating excursion train rides from Yacolt. The railroad to Yacolt was originally completed in 1903 and used until 1979, but fell into disuse and disrepair during the 80s. In 1998, volunteers began restoring the line and rebuilding the railroad into a functioning historical railroad. With the support of Clark County, the track from Moulton Falls to Chelatchie Prairie has been restored, and excursions resumed on May 26, 2001. Work continues on improving the track and upgrading equipment with the eventual goal of restoring service between Yacolt and Battle Ground.
Editor’s note: My family and I rode the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad on one of its Father’s Day excursions, and it was of the most fun and memorable things we have done in Clark County. You can sit inside or outside—although, if the weather’s nice, I heartily recommend sitting outside. The ride is absolutely beautiful and the volunteers are friendly and extremely knowledgeable, and, if you ask nicely and have especially adorable children, the engineer may let you into the cab!