If you want to spend your weekend reconnecting with nature, a trip to California’s majestic redwood forest might just be the adventure you’re looking for.
The best way to enjoy these famous redwoods is to ride a railbike, a two-person, pedal-operated vehicle that sits steadily on the train tracks. This allows passengers to breeze along the legendary Redwood Route in electric-powered and virtually silent bikes.
The railbike departs from the Skunk Train Depot in Fort Bragg and will take you on a one-hour round trip ride through the majestic redwood forest along the Pudding Creek Estuary.
“The Redwood forest is a dreamlike place, particularly on a rainy or misty day, it’s like a scene from Jurassic Park,” Robert Jason Pinoli, “The Chief Skunk” at Skunk Train, told Bored Panda. “With the railbikes traveling along the Pudding Creek Estuary, you can’t help but think that a brontosaurus might be around the next corner.”
The Skunk Train is a heritage railroad that has been operating since 1885. Some of the trees on this route are more than 1,000 years old and stand over 300 feet tall. The greenery has been preserved on this scenic stretch of track, thanks to the visionary forest stewardship implemented in the area.
The nickname Skunk originated in 1925 when motorcars were introduced. These vehicles had gasoline-powered engines and pot-bellied stoves with burning crude oil meant to keep passengers warm. This combination of fumes produced a very foul odor, which old-timers compared to that of skunks.
“You could smell them before you could see them,” they said.
Railbike riders traversing the redwood forests leave in small groups with a trained guide leading the way along the track. This track is owned and operated exclusively by the Skunk Train, so there’s no need to worry about trains or other traffic disrupting the 7-mile journey.
The bikes are extremely easy to ride and operate, making them ideal for all ages and mobility levels. They also come with an electric-assist if you want to take a break from pedaling or need a bit of help making your way up the gentle grade on the return trip.
Along the way, you will likely spot many animals such as blue herons, osprey, egrets, deer, and river otters.
The end of the line is at Glen Blair Junction, which is 3.5 miles along the Redwood Route. This site has been transformed into a beautiful stop with picnic tables and easy-to-hike trails into the redwoods. It’s also where the railbikes are lifted off the tracks and faced the other way for the return trip.
This experience is an excellent excursion for families who want to do something healthy and active on their weekend in California.
The two-person railbikes allow an adult to travel with a little child, and with the electric assist, even small kids and people with mobility issues can make their way up the gentle slope of the line.
If you have a large family, you can also rent multiple bikes and take the trip as a group, remaining close to each other while still being able to move forward at your own pace.
If you’re interested in going for a ride, you’ll need to shell out $250 to rent a bike and includes the 8% Historic Preservation Assessment. There is no discount for single riders, so be sure to visit with a partner.
The minimum age to ride is 6, so this experience can be enjoyed even by the youngsters in your family.
If you want to learn more about this adventure or book a reservation, you may visit the Skunk Train website or call (707) 964-6371.