October 23, 2020

Now You Can Take A Ride Through The Majestic California’s Redwood Forest On A Rail Bike

One of the most peaceful and breathtaking adventures you can take is found in the Redwood Forests of Northern California.

California’s majestic redwood forests are as beautiful as they are famous, and a not-to-be-missed experience when visiting Mendocino County! Railbikes are an amazing new way to take in these legendary redwoods.

Whether you want to see the redwood forests of California or are a cycling enthusiast looking for a new adventure, you may want to check out this unique biking trip.

This ride is not on a path or trail. It’s on the historic California Western Railroad track in Fort Bragg and the only way to ride the track is on a rail bike. The pedal powered locomotives are operated by the World Famous Skunk Train.

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Image credits: skunktrain

Featured here is a unique attraction that allows adventurers to explore the majestic redwood forest like never before. Thanks to these rail bikes, you can completely immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of the redwoods, and you’re bound to love every minute of it. Try something different and consider a ride on these rail bikes for a memorable outing!

Northern California’s historic Skunk Train is a popular train ride that departs from Fort Bragg. This scenic train ride follows the very first tracks that were laid down by the California Western Railroad in 1885, but the train isn’t the only way to experience this awe-inspiring region.

Image credits: skunktrain

Recently, the Skunk Train unveiled a new way of exploring the vast beauty of Fort Bragg’s world-famous Redwood Route. The experience allows visitors to roam through the forest on the train tracks via a two-person pedal-powered contraption called a rail bike.

Each custom-made rail bike seats two per bike and literally whispers through the forest with pedal power. The bikes are safe on the tracks with no trains or other traffic to disrupt the journey, guaranteed! Low noise electric motors fitted to the bikes give tired legs running low on ‘steam’ to take a recharge break, without disrupting the peaceful surroundings.

Image credits: skunktrain

Initially, California Western Railroad was operated as a division of the Fort Bragg mill (Union Lumber Company, Boise-Cascade). In the mid-1960s, however, Arizona-based Kyle Railways began managing the railroad and purchased it in 1987.

In August 1996, a group of local Mendocino Coast investors bought California Western, marking the first time in its 111-year history that the line would operate as an independent business.

Image credits: skunktrain

These unique little vehicles will lead you on a 1.5-hour-long trip with a half-hour stopover at Glen Blair Junction. Unlike the train, these rail bikes allow you to explore at your own pace.

The Skunk Train rail line follows the Pudding Creek Estuary for many miles from the mouth of the river in Fort Bragg inland through the redwoods. The trip is beautifully scenic, with a large waterway that still features old wooden pilings from long-forgotten trestle bridges.

A bounty of wildlife calls the estuary home as well, and these railbikes are quiet enough that you’ll likely see many animals, including blue herons, osprey, egrets, deer and river otters.

Image credits: skunktrain

The end of the line is Glen Blair Junction, 3.5 miles along the Redwood Route. This historic site has been transformed into a wonderful stop, with picnic tables and miles of easy-to-hike trails into the redwoods. It’s here that the railbikes are lifted off the tracks and turned around for the return journey.

“This railroad was finished in 1911, it ran 40 miles and this train line went to Willits and what’s behind me is tunnel number 1, which was taken out by a huge land slide,” says tour guide Rick Hinman.

The rail bike ride is just a seven-mile roundtrip. Thankfully, Hinman turns the rail bikes around on the way back so you can have a second chance at taking pictures you may have missed.

Image credits: skunktrain

A Historic Railway Route

Located in the redwood forests of Northern California’s Mendocino County, the Skunk Train is a heritage railroad that has been operating on the north coast since 1885.

The views on this scenic stretch of track are nearly the same as they would have been more than a century ago! This is the result of visionary forest stewardship and a dedication to the natural wonder of the redwoods. Some of the trees along this route are more than 1,000 years old and reach more than 300 feet tall. They have awed passengers both young and old taking train rides for generations.

The nickname Skunk – by the way – originated in 1925 when motorcars were introduced. These single unit self-propelled motorcars had gasoline powered engines for power and pot-bellied stoves (burning crude oil to keep the passengers warm). The combination of the fumes created a very pungent odor. Old timers living along the line said these motorcars were like skunks, “You could smell them before you could see them.”

Image credits: skunktrain

The rate is $89.95 per bike (for two people) and includes an 8% Historic Preservation Assessment. There is no discount for single riders. The minimum age to ride is 6, so this is a very family friendly activity!
For more information or to book a reservation, visit the Skunk Train website or call (707) 964-6371.

Image credits: skunktrain Image credits: skunktrain Image credits: skunktrain Image credits: skunktrain
Image credits: skunktrain

A stopover at Glen Blair Junction features picnic tables and a redwood loop trail (with both casual and intermediate difficulty options)

Image credits: skunktrain Image credits: skunktrain

Image credits: skunktrain

Here’s what people have been saying about the trip so far