Sierra Wildflowers, Seen from a Vintage Train

Climb aboard a classic locomotive at Railtown 1897, in Gold Country.

WILDFLOWERS? It's so very easy to obsess over them as April blithely begins. We want to know where to go to see them, the best day of the week to arrive, where we should park, what the rules are (because rules keep nature nice and human-based headaches low), and everything to do with this once-a-year eye-popping extravaganza. And while most petal-seeking types expect to drive to a wildflower-laden location, and then walk a bit to behold the blooms (walk on designated paths, of course), there are more unusual routes to savoring this springtime splendor. Take...

RAILTOWN 1897 STATE HISTORIC PARK, which features a number of memorable on-the-rails outings each year. But around the middle of April? The theme at the handsome train landmark is wildflower joy. And if that's a joy you'd love to experience from a train car, as you chugga-chugga by a bevy of blossoms, best plan to chugga-chugga yourself to Jamestown, in Gold Country, over two April weekends. The 2019 dates? April 13 and 14 and again on April 20 and 21. Departure time is 3 in the afternoon (and, yep, that's "promptly," so don't dally on your way there), and you'll hear about the flowers seen around the Sierra foothills. Flowers like...

MEADOWFOAM... and goldfields and other pretty petal-popping examples of flora. The whole round-trip is an hour, so while you get up on your wildflower enjoyment, you won't need to commit a whole day or even afternoon. The length of the ride? Six miles, so you'll get to take in a sizable swath of Gold Country, including areas that just haven't changed at all over the decades, save the seasonal changes seen in the natural world. Call it a fresh way to approach your flower love, if you're a train buff, too, toot toot. Tickets? Thisaway.

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