Skunk Train in Fort Bragg, California

Skunk Train100 W. Laurel StFort Bragg, CA 95437
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Overview

Hop aboard the historic Skunk Train in Fort Bragg and journey through majestic redwood groves, scenic trestle bridges, and fascinating tunnels that lead into the heart of the Noyo River Canyon. Initially constructed to transport logs from the hinterlands to the coast, this train offers pristine views that have stood the test of time for over a century!

up to 2 hrs 1 or more people

Good To Know

  • Skunk Train leaves promptly. Please arrive at least 30 minutes prior to departure.
  • Trains run rain or shine. Dress in weather-appropriate comfortable clothing and footwear.
  • Enjoy a fun-filled train adventure for all ages. Lap children are admitted for free.
  • Dogs are allowed on board for a fee.
  • Concessions are available on the train.
  • This historic train features an onboard full bar.
  • Wine from Mendocino County and Skunk Beer bottled by Anderson Valley Brewing Company are available for purchase.
  • Train is wheelchair accessible, but some cars might require switching from a chair to a coach seat.

Description

from Skunk Train
Step back in time for a magical ride through the redwoods on the world-famous Skunk Train. Since 1885 the historic Skunk has made its way through old-growth redwood groves, over scenic trestle bridges, through spectacular tunnels, and into the heart of the Noyo River canyon. Today’s riders enjoy the same pristine views that have remained largely unchanged for well over a century.

Days of Steam
Experience the Chiggen, an authentic steam locomotive, on the Redwood Route this summer! On weekends in August and September, this historic steam engine will be running for a one-of-a-kind journey through the redwoods.

Fully restored and a steaming beauty, the #2 will be running on Saturdays and Sundays from August 3rd through September 8th. Expect these trains to sell out, so do book early if you'd like to join everyone aboard a historic steam engine!

An American Legacy
In the early 1880s, lumbermen C.R. Johnson, Calvin Stewart, and James Hunter joined together to expand timber operations in Mendocino County. By 1885 the Fort Bragg Railroad was formed to make transporting lumber easier. This would form the foundation of what would eventually become the California Western Railroad, more commonly known as The Skunk.

The train played a vital role during this time in transporting families and workers who set up the various logging camps along the route and in doing so, became an entirely different type of line. It played an important part not only in the area's industrial life, but also in its social and cultural activities. No other logging railroad in America has made the deep impression on American life that was created by the line from Fort Bragg – first by the natural beauty of its route and later, by the distinctiveness of its equipment.

A Train Called Skunk
The nickname “Skunk” originated in 1925, when motorcars were introduced (today sometimes referred to as railbuses or railcruisers). 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, and the old timers living along the line said these motorcars were like skunks, “You could smell them before you could see them.” Although the smell is now much reduced, we still like to think of ourselves as that little Skunk running through the redwoods.

Caretakers in Time
California Western Railroad was initially operated as a division of the Fort Bragg mill (Union Lumber Company, Boise-Cascade). In the mid-1960s, Arizona-based Kyle Railways began managing the railroad and purchased it in 1987. In August 1996, a group comprised entirely of local Mendocino Coast investors purchased California Western, marking the first time in its 111-year history that the line would be operated as an independent business.

Today the Skunk Train is owned and operated by Mendocino Railway.
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Skunk Train is located at Skunk Train100 W. Laurel StFort Bragg, CA 95437
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Frequently Asked Questions about Skunk Train

Why the name “Skunk Train”?

The nickname “Skunk” originated in 1925 when motorcars were introduced (today sometimes referred to as railbuses or railcruisers). These single-unit, self-propelled motorcars had gasoline-powered engines for power and a pot-bellied stove burning crude oil to keep the passengers warm. The combination of the fumes created a very pungent odor, and the old timers living along the line said these motorcars were like skunks, “You could smell them before you could see them.” The railroad’s historic name is California Western Railroad.

Are pets allowed on the train?

Dogs are the only pets permitted on board. Be considerate of your canine though, they simply may not like trains. Please bring whatever they need to be comfortable (food, water, dishes, a leash, etc.). Tickets for dogs are $10.95, subject to change without prior notice. Reservations are suggested.

Is the train wheelchair accessible?

Yes, but there are limitations given that the railcars were built in the early 1900s. Switching from your chair to a coach seat may be necessary. The train conductor will work closely with you for boarding, seating, and assisting with storage of the wheelchair during your journey.

Can we bring food on the train?

Only if you have dietary restrictions or are traveling with a child. Concessions are available on the train.

Can we bring alcohol on the train?

Outside alcohol is not permitted on board the train. The Skunk Train offers a great selection of wine and beer from Mendocino County including their own Skunk Beer (bottled by Anderson Valley Brewing Company), plus a full bar on board the train.

Do the trains leave on time?

The Skunk Train tries to maintain their schedule without question. If you miss a train they will issue you a gift certificate for a future ride or book you on the next available departure. They will not, however, issue a refund because you’ve missed your scheduled departure.

How should we dress?

Comfortable and casual layered clothing is suggested to keep warm in the chilly months. If you plan on riding the Open Air Observation Car then dark clothing is best because sometimes lighter clothing can get soot spots on it.