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Polar express Jamestown

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76 posts
Polar express Jamestown

Hi I'm thinking of booking the polar express and traveling from Yosemite by to do the 1 1/2 hour trip, which departs at 7pm

My questions are,

Is it safe to do the drive there and back from Yosemite valley lodge in the very late evening with the weather and how long should it take?

Or should we drive from San Francisco stay in Jamestown (any recommendations) do our polar express trip and then drive to Yosemite in the morning?

I'm really Keen to do this Christmas experience for my kids who love the book so any feedback positive or negative would be greatly appreciated!

I will be driving from San Francisco to Yosemite on the day of the planned polar express departure, is it on the way to Yosemite? Which would then make sense to just stay.

Thanks for your guidance!!

4 replies to this topic
Long Beach...
Level Contributor
7,739 posts
1. Re: Polar express Jamestown

That sounds like fun! I would stay in Jamestown or Sonora and drive to Yosemite the next morning. (I prefer to drive mountain roads during the day, particularly in winter).

If you want to make a full day of adventure, look at visiting Calaveras Big Trees and Columbia State Park before your Polar Express experience.

Santa Clara...
Level Contributor
24,308 posts
25 reviews
2. Re: Polar express Jamestown

If the weather is ok then I would make that drive. Staying nearby is a better idea because it is over 2 hrs to Yosemite Valley.

Don't know what the rest of your itinerary is, but if it includes Monterey/Carmel/Santa Cruz, there is another holiday train in Santa Cruz at Roaring Camp. We have done this as well as their Thomas the Train events. Kids love it.


Level Contributor
76 posts
3. Re: Polar express Jamestown

Thanks so much that sounds fun. We had 3 days in Yosemite and think 1 days enough. I'll check it all out

Level Contributor
2,031 posts
4. Re: Polar express Jamestown

The village of Jamestown is really cute and all decked out during the Christmas holiday season. One of my favorite times to visit the Jamestown - Sonora - Columbia area. Jamestown and Columbia offer the most authentic feel with the wooden sidewalks, etc.

I definitely recommend staying in the area -- I mean, this is in the winter / December. Chances of inclement weather are high and so you therefore should drive only in daylight, plus, it is nicer to see the scenery.

There is no *chain* lodging in historic downtown Jamestown, however, for the total *gold rush historic* ambiance, you might want to consider the National Hotel --- http://www.national-hotel.com/ This hotel is rated 3 diamonds by AAA.

The newest lodging in the area is the Black Oak Casino Hotel in Tuolumne, CA --- approx 10 miles east of Jamestown in a very scenic setting / creek . I would contact Black Oak Casino Hotel direct (if interested) because their on-line calendar looks really wierd to me.

Black Oak Casino Hotel --- https://www.blackoakcasino.com/resort/ and https:/…

In historic downtown Sonora for the old west experience, The Gunn House --- http://www.gunnhousehotel.com/

In Sonora for the usual lodging, I would say Best Western --- https://www.bwsonoraoaks.com/

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