East Sierra Valley
Chamber of Commerce
Tonys Boca Loyalton Railroad Trail
HIstoric hiking railroad trail runs on the old B&L, Boca and Loyalton, Railroad Bed. The Boca and Loyalton Railroad ran this route from 1901 to 1915. ESVCC Chamber Member and mason man,Tony Fender, has been cleaning and pruning this trail for many years. Walk it! Enjoy! … read more
Enter the trail through a historic, pedestrian or crossing bridge, After crossing the bridge, the trail heads 1 mile north, or 4 miles south. To get there, go up Smithneck Road, off Hwy 49, outside Loyalton, CA to the Loyalton Rotary Park Grounds.
The Boca & Loyalton Railroad, never more than sixty miles long, and with a life span of about twenty years, was largely the result of the development of the lumber industry of Sierra and Plumes Counties in Eastern California. About 1886 the three Lewis brothers joined forces with two Peck brothers and built the Lewis Mill in Sardine Valley, using lumber from old ranch houses. About a year later, after the Pecks had withdrawn from the partnership, a box factory was establish-ed. Finished lumber was teamed through the Sardine Valley and over the Dog Valley Grade to the lumber yard at Verdi. A few years later, a river captain, John Roberts of the Sacramento Transportation Company, brought his steam wagons to Verdi from the River country, where they had been used to haul freight and produce to connect with the steamers. A man working for Captain Roberts, named Doan, is credited with having invented the steam wagon. The first weighed fifteen tons, and the other four or five weighed thirty tons. A partly dismantled one is on a ranch near Sierraville at this time. Its driving wheels are over six feet high. See also issue 189 for similar steam wagon on McCloud Lumber Company. Joining the Lewises, Captain Roberts put his steam wagons in service in 1891-92, and while they were satisfactory for hauling lumber, the farmers disliked them because they frightened their horses. The lumber company proposed and built a new road on the opposite side of Sardine Valley, but still there was a good deal of feeling against them. So W. S. Lewis had a big picnic and invited all the farmers and told them of his aims to build up the area by providing year-round employment and helping the farmer market his produce. The farmers were appeased by Lewis’s words and a change in the schedules whereby the steam wagons were run at night when there were no horse teams on the roads. About 1897, a standard gauge railroad was built from Boca,on the Southern Pacific, to the Lewis Mill, about 17 miles. Again there was opposition from the farmers, and, because a picnic had worked so well before, Lewis had another picnic topped off by a free ride on flat cars for all attending. Again success crowned his efforts. About 1900 gradual extensions had pushed the railroad northward another nine miles to Loyalton, and the sawmill was moved from Lewis Mill to Loyalton. Formal incorporation of the Boca & Loyalton Railroad took place on September 24, 1900, with some San Franciscans joining Roberts and Lewis on the Board of Directors.