: Sumpter Valley Railroad by Baker County Tourism

All Aboard Oregon’s Winter Sleigh and Train Rides

Take a sleigh ride or holiday train ride for a fun, all-ages winter adventure.
November 27, 2017 (Updated January 3, 2024)

What’s on your holiday bucket list? You might just be craving the simpler things — like a warm cup of cocoa, a little snow, time to unplug and unwind with friends and family, and a scenic backdrop to top it all off. An old-school ride on a train or horse-drawn sleigh hits all the marks — whether it’s taking you through a historic mining town and snow-capped mountains of Eastern Oregon or the millions of twinkling lights at the Oregon Zoo.

Before you head out in wintry weather, be sure to check road and weather conditions and carry snow chains or traction tires when advised. Here’s where to find winter rides this year.

Horse-drawn carriage outside a historic hotel
Bundle up for a winter sleigh ride at the Geiser Grand Hotel in Historic Baker City. (Courtesy of Geiser Grand Hotel)

Baker City sleigh ride, Eastern Oregon

Revel in old-timey charm with a horse-drawn sleigh ride in historic downtown Baker City. Book your ticket in advance for this hour-long trip through time. Warm up with a hot drink afterward at the Geiser Grand Hotel. Rides are offered mid-December through February. Your ticket includes a hot drink afterward in the hotel’s cafe. 

Sumpter Valley Railroad, Eastern Oregon

The snow-capped Elkhorn Mountains set the stage for this two-hour vintage train ride, which runs between the small towns of McEwen and Sumpter — a historic mining town just west of Baker City. Check the calendar for the  holiday-themed rides offered in December, as well as fall foliage rides in October and and other themed rides throughout the year. 

Ride the festive steam train at the Oregon Zoo's annual Zoo Lights. (Photo by Michael Durham)

Zoo Lights train, Portland Region

A beloved part of many family holiday traditions, the Zoo Lights train ride at the Oregon Zoo lets you ooh and aah over twinkly lights as part of the zoo’s walk-through winter wonderland. Make your plans in advance — timed ticket reservations are required. Visit the website for dates and times. 

Holiday Express Train, Portland Region

Find wildlife in the city aboard these vintage steam-powered cars of the Oregon Pacific Railroad. The Holiday Express traverses along the Willamette River in Southeast Portland from the Oregon Rail Heritage Center. Join Santa for the magical 45-minute ride and enjoy hot drinks and cookies back at the station. Check the website for dates and times. 

Mt. Hood Train to Christmas Town, Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge

You’ll feel like one of the woodland animals from the storybook “The Train to Christmas Town” in this recreation of the adventure. This special Mount Hood Railroad hour-long round-trip runs several days per week out of Hood River, mid-November through a few days after Christmas. Enjoy holiday music, hot cocoa and cookies, and watch storybook characters come to life. Santa and his elves will wave and greet each child with a gift.

People on red sleigh pulled by two horses in the snow
Courtesy of Sunriver Resort

Sunriver Resort sleigh ride, Central Oregon

Over the hills and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go. This Victorian horse-drawn open sleigh (fitting four adults and two children) takes you through the Meadows Golf Course at the resort, with enchanting scenery along the way. Bundle up (rides continue through rain, sleet, cold and snow) and bring a warm beverage for a merry adventure. Check the website and book in advance for dates in January and February. 

Candy Cane Express, Oregon Coast

As the holiday season approaches, the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad transforms into the Candy Cane Express, a festive steam-powered tour through the coastal landscape of Garibaldi to Rockaway Beach and back. During the hour-long excursion, riders can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, sip on hot cocoa and enjoy cookies. The trains glow in holiday lights, making it a truly magical experience. Check the website for dates and times in November and December. Seating options include both fully enclosed cars, a partially open car and a historic 1910 dining car.


About The

Jen Anderson
Jen Anderson is a longtime journalist and travel writer/editor who is now Travel Oregon’s Content & Community Manager, helping to align content for visitors via social media, print and web. She’s called Oregon home for 25 years and loves finding the latest places to eat, drink and play around the state with her husband and two boys. Brewpubs, beaches and bike trails top the list.