The Good Life: Traveling by Train, Stopping for Wine in North Clark County
“… there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.” Edna St. Vincent Millay
With the possible exception of Washington State ferries, train travel has to be the best form of transport in the Pacific Northwest. In Southwest Washington you can really pair the best – riding a train with a history to a local winery with great wine. Ahhh, the good life!
The Chelatchie Prairie rail track has been in use since 1888. Dedicated volunteers from the Battle Ground, Yacolt & Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Association keep the tracks and train running with scenic trips to Moulton Falls. Now the train devotees have added a fine new trip – a train run to Moulton Falls Winery.
The trip starts at the BYCX train station in Yacolt. Three cars, pulled by a 1941 ALCO-S-2 diesel locomotive, await passengers. Outdoor enthusiasts can sit in the open car, weather permitting. A middle car is a traditional carriage with windows. A third car is covered but with open windows. Volunteers take tickets and explain the history of the train and the route.
The train follows a scenic North Clark County route through farmland, past wetlands and ponds, and the Lewis River to Moulton Falls, where riders who aren’t along for the wine tasting can disembark and view the falls and hiking areas. Dense forests, steep rock walls and a 330 foot long tunnel add to the ride.
Moulton Falls Winery is a fabulous addition to the expanding list of Clark County wineries. The train stops about 100 yards from the winery, which can be viewed from the train.
A quick walk and you enter a spacious, open-beamed tasting room. Owner Joe Millea and his assistant, Susan Swank, are on site to pour and discuss the wines.
On our visit, we tasted six different wines including the Rose of Sangiovese, Riesling and Malbec. All were delightful. The winery offers 10 varieties.
When the train returned for us, no one wanted to stop tasting. So the train traveled to the station with passengers and came back for us 30 minutes later. Tasters who had arrived by car were also hesitant to leave. It’s a very comfortable place to spend an afternoon.
GREAT NEWS! The Chelatchie Prairie Railroad has another Wine Train planned to the winery on Saturday, November24. This will include a trip up through the Moulton Falls park and food and live music at the winery.
Other upcoming train trips include the popular Headless Horseman Halloween Train on October 27-28 and the Christmas Tree Special Trains – November 25 and December 1-2, 8-9 and 15-16 with three runs a day to Moulton Station where you can purchase a Christmas tree and chat with Santa. Reservations highly recommended. All aboard!