McCall History & Museums: Thunder Mountain Railroad: Idaho Train Rides & Tours

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Thunder Mountain Railroad

A scenic ride on the big Thunder Mountain Railroad will provide a memorable outing that the entire family will enjoy. CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC AS OF 2017.

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    Take your family and enjoy a vintage train ride through the scenic countryside of central Idaho. Thunder Mountain Railroad covers 4 different routes once used by settlers over 100 years ago. Completed back in 1914, the rail line was established for use by the timber and mining industries.

    Directions and Contact Information

    For trips that depart from Cascade, follow Hwy 55 south from McCall for approximately 29 miles. In Cascade, head to the Ashley Inn at 500 Main Street (Hwy 55 turns into Main Street). For Horseshoe Bend departures, continue south on hwy 55 for an additional 50 miles to Horseshoe Bend. The depot is located at 120 Mill Road. 

    Hours and Seasons (NOT CURRENTLY OPEN)

    Trips are available from March through December for the Horseshoe Bend Route. Other routes start in May and end in October or November, depending on the route. Starting and ending times vary depending on the specific trip.


    Routes and Highlights

    You can choose one of several routes on the big Thunder Mountain Train. The Horseshoe Bend route departs from the Horseshoe Bend depot and travels along the beautiful Payette River, which boasts some of the most challenging whitewater rapids in the country. On special occasions, musicians will serenade you during the trip.

    The Cabarton route starts in Cascade and takes you to Smith’s Ferry. You’ll ride through a rock tunnel, across a steel trestle, and underneath the Rainbow Bridge on this trip.

    The 1.5 hour Montour route also departs from Horseshoe Bend and follows an old shipping

    Be sure to watch for wildlife, including elk, moose, fox, deer, and even the occasional mountain lion or bear. Magnificent bald eagles and osprey are often spotted as well.

    Both open air cars and closed cars are available. Enjoy snacks and beverages in a smoke-free environment.