Railroad Resort Worth the DriveJan 27, 2023 12:00AM ● By By Debra Dingman
The Railroad Park Resort holds numerous cabooses and railroad cars awaiting guests staying in Dunsmuir, California. Photo by Debra Dingman
DIXON, CA (MPG) -Thumbing through the California Magazine that I picked up in the Dixon Chamber of Commerce, I noticed a small advertisement in the back with the word, ‘Dunsmuir’ in red letters. I would not even know where Dunsmuir is except that it is where our City Manager was prior to being hired in Dixon. If I had not researched his history for my article, I would have probably flipped to the next page; So, thank you, Mr. Lindley!
Then I see the subhead of ‘Spend the Night in a Caboose.’ Now, it really had my attention. I’ve always been a fan of trains since my mom and young son took a trip to Colorado on one. Since, I’ve purchased a membership to the Sacramento Railroad Museum and enjoy trips with the grandchildren there. Recently, I had been looking for a site for a small family reunion and the more I read about this place, the more I was intrigued. To make sure this would work for the families and young children involved, hubby and I made a reservation and hit the road.
Less than three hours on straight I-5 freeway and driving through peaceful wheatfields and eventually through tall trees and snow-capped mountains, we arrived at the small town of Dunsmuir, California and home of the Railroad Park Resort since 1968.
It was then that Bill and Delberta Murphy, local descendants of pioneering railroaders, decided to collect and preserve the old rail era and began collecting cabooses, flat cars, and boxcars, transforming them into beautifully renovated units. Now, this resort offers 12 cupola-topped cabooses big enough for families, sleeping up to five and a separate area of cabooses and converted boxcars for adults only.
I knew it would be cold, but I was pleasantly surprised at the beautiful snow-white drifts everywhere and the numerous brightly colored red, yellow, and blue train cars awaiting guests.
Inside our red Southern Pacific Caboose #2 was a knotty pine interior decorated with antique train pictures and railroad paraphernalia; even the nightstands were old train lanterns with small flickering lights in the center. It had a super comfortable queen bed, small table with two chairs in the seating area across from a refrigerator, microwave, and coffee bar. There were windows with blinds everywhere and a large television screen across from a coat hanging and suitcase storage area. At the end of the room was a private bathroom complete with a full-size shower and bath combination, and a huge train engine pictured on the shower curtain.
We explored the children’s playground area, checked out the snow-covered swimming pool, the barbecue pits for roasting marshmallows, and checked out the trail leading to tent and RV camping sites. We snapped pictures of the huge black engine called the Willamette Steam Driven Locomotive and the rustic water tower but really enjoyed the center attraction waterfall that had a small moving locomotive winding through its tunnels.
I went shopping in the little store that had all kinds of puzzles, metal trains, train whistles, sweatshirts, jewelry, and all things trains. Besides this place being basically all-inclusive – meaning you can hike, play, swim or hot tub, there is a complete restaurant on site that offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is a full bar and even a place for special gatherings in the old but refurbished railcar. We did enjoy a delicious breakfast while we watched birds tango over berries through the many large viewing windows.
We took a day trip into town where there are a few small shops and restaurants to browse but catching the beauty of the Castle Crags (mountains) and the rambling river through town was refreshing.
The trip was very much worth the affordable price, and we found staff friendly and helpful. It is located at 100 Railroad Park Road in Dunsmuir and there are two contact numbers: For Lodging/Reservations, call (530) 235-4440 or for the RV/Campground, call (530) 235-0420. Their website is rrpark.com. If it was that pleasant during the freezing weather, I happily anticipate our family reunion there in the warmer month.