Located in Fort Bragg about 20 minutes north of the village of Mendocino, is the Skunk Train and Railbike Experience. These two completely different experiences are based at the same location and offer all ages a unique adventure through the redwood groves.
This redwood train route has been carrying passengers and cargo since the late 1880s through Mendocino County. It was essential to the lumber industry and was nicknamed the Skunk in 1925 because of its smell. At that time, the train had gasoline powered engines and pot-bellied stoves burning oil were also used inside to keep passengers warm and cook food. The combination of the fumes created an odor much like a skunk and families who lived in the area always said they could smell the train coming before they could see it.
Skunk Train: This tourism train from the late 1800s chugs along the historic tracks through redwood groves and across trestle bridges. The round-trip, 7-mile train ride is narrated and there are concessions and alcohol sold onboard. The train ride lasts about an hour and there are several train cars, both indoor and outdoor, that you can walk between to get the full view and experience.
Kids will love the holiday train rides such as the Magical Christmas Train, where you can meet Santa, and the Pumpkin Train, where you can choose a pumpkin at the pumpkin patch. Dogs are welcome on the train as well. We recommend the Skunk Train experience for younger children.
Railbikes: This unique experience takes folks along the same tracks as the Skunk Train (the two experiences alternate using the tracks) on a two-person, pedal-powered electric rail bike. The rail bikes look more like a cart with four wheels and two chair-like seats and they feature a power pack so not much pedaling is necessary. Families can pedal or push a button to make the bike move along the train tracks through the redwood groves and over train trestle bridges. The round-trip experience takes about an hour and only one or two people can fit on a railbike. We recommend the Railbikes experience for big kids, tweens and teens.
Skunk Train offers fares two or three times daily year round; the Railbikes offer fares from March through November, three times daily.
Things to Know/Bring
Reservations are recommended. A restroom and gift shop can be found at the Train Depot. There are no restrooms onboard the train.
Concessions, including snacks and alcoholic beverages, can be found onboard the Skunk Train.
Free parking is available in a large parking lot at the Train Depot.