Roam the Redwoods on an Electric Railbike

The Skunk Train, a Mendocino County classic, has several outdoorsy adventures in the woodsy works.

Brendan McGuigan

What to Know

  • The Skunk Train in Fort Bragg
  • "Railbikes on the Noyo" give duos the chance to pedal electric railbikes through the spectacular woods of Mendocino County
  • Music, movies, and traditional Skunk Train trips are also on the summertime schedule

IF YOU'RE ON THE RAILS, and you're rolling along courtesy of an easy-moving conveyance, what can you expect to experience? You might say "the blow of the whistle" or "the vintage creak of an antique locomotive" or the sorts of stirring sounds and sights associated with a train. But there's a way to take to the rails without boarding a train, and it involves slipping on a helmet and taking a seat on a railbike. Finding these storied cycles isn't all that simple nowadays, and though we might see them featured in films from decades ago, knowing where to go to locate a railbike today takes a bit of sleuthing. But if you let your sleuthing lead you to Fort Bragg, and straight to the celebrated Skunk Train, you'll find one of the attraction's newest offerings.

RAILBIKES ON THE NOYO... is the Skunk Train's "most immersive experience," giving duos the chance to take the Redwood Route while savoring a breezy, scenic, and out-in-the-open adventure. The right-on-the-rails bikes? They're electric, and "virtually silent," too. You'll cruise near the Noyo River, through some of the majestic forests of Mendocino County, with your partner helping move the cycle forward (keep in mind that the trip is described as both "strenuous and lengthy"). A picnic is part of your ticket, and beverages, too, and an hour to unwind at Camp Noyo. The cost? It's $495 per railbike, with part of the fee going to the Historic Preservation Assessment. There's plenty to know about this robust, rail-quirky outing — you will get wet, is the intriguing promise — so read all before booking.

SKUNKIE SUMMER: There are other adventuresome avenues should you want to connect with this colorful California classic in a different way. Traditional train rides on the Skunk Train, Cinema in the Redwoods, and Music in the Redwoods are all on the warm-weather schedule, giving travelers plenty to ponder. Whatever you choose to do, roaming among the redwoods, via a train or railbike, is truly a step into a storybook. The trills of birds, the loamy scents, the chugga-chugga of the rails, the dappled sunlight: It all adds up to a picturesque pursuit with much more "yore" than many modern events boast.

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