If you don’t happen to have a time machine, the next best thing is a trip on the famous Skunk Train. From the restored historic rail cars to the dramatic views of majestic redwood forests, scenic upland meadows, and the pristine mountain waters of Northern California, what you will experience is largely unchanged from the way things were in the late 1800s.
The Skunk Train offers a wide selection of rides, including half-day trips, overnight trips, a sunset BBQ excursion, trips that include camping or kayaking, and even — if you make your reservations promptly enough — a chance to ride in the engine’s cab with the engineer and the fireman! There are also special event trips, some of them holiday-themed. Excursions begin in Willits or Fort Bragg, and depending on which one you choose, will either bring you back to your starting point or all the way to the end of the line. Departing from Willits and traveling to Northspur (the midway point), your train will climb the Eastern slope of the California Coast Range, cutting through it at Tunnel No. 2 (Summit) before descending into the Noyo River Canyon. This is the mountainous part of the railroad line, in which 8.5 miles of track cover a straight-line distance of less than one mile. If you continue through to Fort Bragg, your train will take you through the Pudding Creek estuary, where you might sight blue heron, egrets, osprey, ducks, and the occasional lounging turtle.
Next Up: #91 – Scenic Drive to Covelo