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“The Museum, not the Ride, Is Worth It”

Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Elbe
Type: Rail Tours, Tours
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Fourteen-mile excursion on a train using vintage 1900's steam locomotives on a scenic trip through the Pacific Northwest to Mineral Lake, passing within 25 miles of majestic Mt. Rainier.
Level Contributor
60 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“The Museum, not the Ride, Is Worth It”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2014

I'll have to agree with the others who badmouthed the ride - it's not all that "scenic" and is a relatively short trip. If you happen to get on a train that's being pulled by a steam locomotive, it's worth it, though. Clouds of steam and the sweet sound of the steam whistle are very cool.

The real highlight was the Museum stop at the middle of the ride. In addition to several old steam locomotives that you can get up close and personal with (you can even enter the cab of one of them!), they have displays of old logging artifacts and logging equipment, such as a giant steam-powered "donkey" that was used to lift heavy logs onto railroad cars. The volunteers who man the exhibits are extremely friendly and enthusiastic and will ply you with all of the information you can stand! The museum is a work in progress and will only get better, as time goes on.

Although I'm not a train buff, it was extremely interesting to see all of those old engines, many of which were actually manufactured here in the Northwest. Some of them look like they were made in somebody's garage. In fact, they probably were! It was interesting to find that one of the locomotives in the covered area was warm to the touch. The volunteer I talked to said the engine had been used to pull the train a few days before. The steam engines take 3-4 days to cool down after being used!

Visited July 2014
3 Thank HansvilleHugh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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190 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Aberdeen, Washington
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“See what convinced those who wanted to cut it all, that they could.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 July 2014

An interesting one hour ride behind rare locomotives though beautiful scenery is not the whole story. This is the only location where you can see operation of all five types of logging locomotives. A new display of restored original buildings from a Polson (Rainier) timber camp and a comprehensive shop makes this a real history experience..

Visited July 2014
4 Thank Northwest_Convert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bothell Washington
Level Contributor
29 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Nice train ride but not particularly scenic!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 July 2014

Had some friends visit from Australia so we put together a multitude of sites to see with the scenic railroad being one of them. I am sorry to say that it isn't exactly what one would call scenic. As has been noted, there is only a few distant views of Mount Rainier with the rest being that of underbrush and a river although one can say it was fun being able to ride on a steam locomotion. The train itself was nice as was museum but the barbeque was very basic and the lunch entertainment was not very good. What would have helped would have been some information about the history of the train and the area as the train ride occurred. I would not discount the overall trip but take into account that it isn't all it is cracked up to be.

Visited June 2014
3 Thank ksharpe98021
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“A Good History Lesson”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 July 2014 via mobile

The views of Mt. Rainier were not what we expected but the sights along the route (the Nisqually River, the old tracks, pastures, rustic homes ,etc) made the trip to Mineral interesting. The trip is more about the experience and the history of the steam engines used in the logging industry that made this trip worthwhile. The beautiful sunny day didn't hurt, either.
Recommend you take the trips that offer the BBQ dinner and music. The food was good and the musicians on our trip were excellent. Also recommend 2 for 1 coupons, such as Groupon.

The display of old engines and equipment at Mineral was much better and plentiful than we expected. The volunteers were very knowledgeable and eager to share their expertise. One of our few disappointments was that we didn't have more time to wander around all the displays while at Mineral.

If you are looking for an exciting Disney-style excursion, this isn't for you. But if you want a relaxing look at a bit of our local history, this is a good trip.

2 Thank Seattle002
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“read the fine print -- please note the railroad reserves the right to change equipment”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 July 2014

If you are wanting a ride pulled by a steam locomotive; you might not get it. We arrived for the 12:45 ride and found out that MRSR was using their diesel engine to pull the train. Looking at the web site it's about steam power and that was the draw for me. As it states in the reservation 'please note the railroad reserves the right to change equipment'. The train ride is fun but there is not much to see. However, the restoration workshops are impressive. If you really like steam trains AND they are running one, this might be worth the trip. Look for 2 for 1 coupons.

Visited July 2014
3 Thank cnord2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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