Why the Train Mountain Museum Is the Perfect Outing for the Entire Family
If you ever had a miniature train set as a kid, you’ll know just how mesmerizing and nostalgic a train can be. There’s just something so deeply Americana about trains. Whether it’s their inherent ethos of exploration and expansion and “chugging along” or even just their wistful whistles trumpeting through the night, it’s probably fair to say: We all love trains in some capacity.
At Southern Oregon’s Train Mountain Museum, that love can be realized in full. Home to the world’s largest private caboose collection, the world’s longest miniature railroad, and dozens of up-close-and-personal examples of Oregon-specific railroad history, Train Mountain is a must for any locomotive enthusiast or parents looking for a full-on family adventure.
Here are a few reasons why Klamath County’s Train Mountain Museum is the perfect outing for the whole family—both for the kids and kids at heart.
The Location Is Beautiful
Situated 30 minutes north of Klamath Falls in the beautiful little hamlet of Chiloquin, you couldn’t ask for a better setting for the Train Mountain Museum. Perched a stone’s throw above Oregon’s largest body of fresh water and tucked in a forested property in the Cascades, the tranquility of this area is immediately on show as soon as you arrive. The air is fresh and clean and scented with pine, and the visual scenery is second to none, too. One section, in particular, travels through a shady grove of shimmering aspen trees, which explodes into a sea of yellow during the autumn months. In short, even non-train-enthusiasts will love visiting the Train Mountain area.
Home to the World’s Largest Private Caboose Collection
The Train Mountain Museum is home to a whopping collection of 37 full-sized antique cabooses, making it the largest private caboose collection in the world. Pretty neat, right? These rustic, rusting relics of a bygone era offer a glorious glimpse into Southern Oregon’s locomotive days of lore. From Southern Pacific Railroad cabooses to Great Northern Railroad cabooses, there’s no better place in the country to experience and learn about the unique role that these heirlooms had in shaping locomotive history.
Beyond the caboose collection, there are also over 60 full-size maintenance and rolling stock cars on show at the Train Mountain Museum. From an exhibit of snow-fighting equipment used by the Southern Pacific Railroad as well as Oregon, California, & Eastern Railroad (OC&E), to smaller interpretive displays like tank cars, flat cars, and speeders, it’s all here and more.
Arguably the best way to experience the full-size railroad equipment is with a self-guided walking tour of the premises (open to the public on weekdays from 10am-3pm during the summer and 10am-2pm during the winter). Linking together some of the key sites by foot is a must for the entire family!
It’s in the Guinness Book of World Records
To be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records is no easy feat. But Train Mountain happens to hold this honorable distinction by having the “World’s Longest Miniature Railroad.” With over 36 miles of 7.5” gauge track twisting and turning upon itself like an intestine through the 2,200 acres of forested property, the scale and size of this place is staggering. Many of the trains in operation at Train Mountain are live steam. Many others are battery-powered. And still, others are gasoline-powered. Catching a ride on one of these miniature trains is truly unique. Kids will love pretending to be conductors, and parents will love the meditative calm of traveling through the pine-scented forests.
The Educational Opportunities Are Excellent
Train Mountain is owned and operated by the Train Mountain Institute, an organization that offers dozens of educational programs focusing on railroad education. In addition to the museum, Train Mountain Institute runs a library and a store and curates an educational-meets-entertaining experience unlike any other. Among various other things, visitors of Train Mountain will be treated to a fascinating glimpse into the railroad history of the region, including how rail equipment functioned, who operated them, their impact on the region’s economic development, and more. So, come to Train Mountain for the entertainment, but stay for the insightful education into all things railroad—from the vital role of cabooses in locomotive history to understanding the proper railroad terminology and practices!
Great for Kids
At Train Mountain itself, kids will find so much to keep them entertained and engaged. If they’re still looking for more to experience, the Klamath and Western Railroad, right next door to Train Mountain, is a scaled-down option that’s a fantastic place for kids to catch a ride on a miniature train. It’s small enough to not feel overwhelming for kids, yet certainly big enough to have a fantastic experience riding miniature trains for a few hours.
Whether you take a self-guided trip or actually board one of the miniature trains in operation at Train Mountain, you won’t soon forget your time exploring this wonderful Southern Oregon destination.
Written by Ry Glover for Matcha in partnership with Discover Klamath Visitor and Convention Bureau.