Grizzly Peak is notorious for its greenery and quiet charm, with a number of different pathways providing views of the landscape. If you take the main walkway by Grizzly River Run toward Paradise Pier, you may notice a plaque along the fence. The plaque marks a great viewpoint of California Adventure’s likely least famous hidden gem: The Steam Donkey!
The Steam Donkey is a real steam engine, once used to move massive redwoods in the late 19th century. Though the engine has since retired from its grueling duties, it stands in pristine condition hidden within the trees of Grizzly Peak.
The text reads: How the Dolbeer Donkey steam engine got its name is one of the real mysteries of the West. Some folks say it was called a “donkey” because loggers thought it was too puny to merit a horsepower rating. Invented by John Dolbeer, this portable steam engine first appeared in the redwoods near Eureka, California in 1881. The tiny, but mighty machine could be hauled to remote mountaintops and equaled the power of many horses, mules and oxen to reel in huge logs. A few steam donkeys still stand in north coast towns as a tribute to the ingenuity of California’s early inventors.
Next time you’re walking through Grizzly Peak, stop to check out the Steam Donkey. This hidden gem is a piece of California history, much like Frontierland’s Petrified Tree!