We would like to thank The Skunk Train for having us along for the ride. We were given tickets in exchange for our honest review. As always, opinions are completely our own.

We had tickets for the 1 pm Skunk Train in Fort Bragg, which is about 20 minutes from Little River Inn. The train is located midway through town on the west side of the main road. Tickets are located inside the station which is also a gift shop. You board the train just outside of the station. They really try to maintain the history of the train. The conductor and the other employees wear traditional uniforms and they even loudly announce “all aboard” when it’s time to board the train. As a result, you truly feel taken back to another time.

The train has 3 cars, two with seating, one with a concession stand (that is cash only BTW), and one open car in the middle that allows you to stand and see the views along the way. The trip lasts about an hour and goes 7 miles round trip, so it’s not a fast train. The back of the seats is really cool, you can simply push the backs front to back to change the direction you are seated. It amazes me that this is found on a hundred-plus-year-old train but you don’t see anything like it in more modern trains. It’s so cool and easy.

The leisurely ride gives you plenty of history of the train and the area and views of the redwoods. A musician plays train-themed music and a photographer captures the train goers. It is a wonderful way to see the Redwoods and the Pudding Creek Estuary. It is a great little ride for families especially, though we like fun little tidbits of history so we enjoyed it as adults as well. 

Model Train Exhibit

If you are into model trains there is a model train exhibit next to the station. It has mini versions of the skunk train along with several other trains in a tiny little town. The attention to detail on these things is pretty incredible.

 Model train at the Skunk Train station

History of the Skunk Train

In the early 1880s, 3 lumbermen (C.R. Johnson, Calvin Stewart, and James Hunter) teamed up to expand timber operations in Mendocino County.  The Fort Bragg Railroad was formed in 1885 to make transporting lumber easier. This was the foundation of what would eventually become the California Western Railroad, more affectionately known as The Skunk.

The Skunk Train Station in Fort Bragg

So Why “Skunk” Train?

In 1925 motorcars were introduced (sometimes referred to as railbuses or rail cruisers today). They are single, self-propelled units that 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. As a result, the old-timers living along the line said these motorcars were like skunks, “You could smell them before you could see them.” A reporter mistakenly referred to the train by the name and it just stuck. 

View of fort Bragg from the skunk train

To learn more about the history of the Skunk Train visit their about page.

Pudding Creek Express

We rode on the Pudding Creek Express. It’s a scenic 7-mile round trip along the beautiful Pudding Creek Estuary and over the first tracks laid down by the California Western Railroad. This trip departs from Fort Bragg depot and takes one hour round trip. It’s a great way to spend the morning or early afternoon.

January – March
Adult – $27 
Child (2 to 12) – $16.20
Infant (2 and under) and Dogs- – $10.80

April – May
Adult – $28.95
Child (2 to 12) – $18.95
Infant (2 and under) and Dogs- – $10.95

June – December
Adult – $41.95
Child (2 to 12) – $25.95
Infant (2 and under) and Dogs- $10.95

They also have special holiday runs for Easter, Halloween and Christmas. 

The world famous skunk train.


The rail bikes looked like a ton of fun, a very unique way to see the world-famous Redwood Route on a two-person Railbike. They are pedal-powered vehicles that were crafted especially for The Skunk Train and will take you on a roughly one-hour roundtrip along the Pudding Creek Estuary. It looked like an awesome excursion for couples and families although because of the nature of these bikes, they aren’t recommended for younger children.

$79.00 per person. 

Wolf Tree Turn

You can also take a ride from that departs from Willits called Wolf Tree Turn. Its a two-hour round trip that runs from Willits valley to the highest point of the rail with a brief stop at Crowley. 

Adult – $49.95 
Child (2 to 12) – $29.95
Infant (2 and under) and dogs – $10.95

us on the skunk train

The Skunk Train is a charming ride into the Northern California forest. Therefore, I recommend seeing The Skunk Train should you find yourself in Fort Bragg. It is a wonderful piece of history and a very pretty ride.

To read more about the train visit their website: https://www.skunktrain.com

Read more about our trip to lovely Mendocino County!

Have you been on the skunk train? heard of it? Are you planning a Fort Bragg trip? Let’s chat in the comments.  

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Show 21 Comments


  1. Lisa Manderino

    My kids love train rides! It is fun history!

  2. The Skunk Train caught my attention as we had a skunk go through our yard just yesterday.

  3. Great blog post. I’ve never heard of the Skunk Train. Very informative with true and fun facts.

  4. I’ve never heard of the Skunk Train. This is so cool! I would love to do this, and my family would love it, too!

  5. I’ve never heard of the skunk train before. My boys would have a blast there. Thanks for sharing.

  6. kmf

    This looks so fun and a great way to take in all the beautiful scenery…and I think I’d like to try that railbike.

  7. Jen

    What a cool way to see a new place!

  8. Nicole Cruze

    Ive always wanted to do this with my kids!

  9. We have a Fort Bragg here in North Carolina so at first I was quite confused! This looks like fun and if I ever get to Fort Bragg, California, I’ll check out the Skunk Train!

  10. I was also confused about Ft. Bragg haha I was ready to jump in the car and go on a train ride! When we get to CA, we will have to check this out. My girls would love it.

  11. Skunk train is a funny name, story is interesting behind it. Haven’t heard about this train but enjoy scenic rides

  12. alison

    I have not heard of the Skunk Train, but looks like a fun interactive adventure. I would love to take my kids on this for a day out.

  13. My son would absolutely love this! He loves trains! Thank you for such a great post.

  14. How fun! My husband would love this. We have done rail bikes before. Its so much fun to pedal along the tracks.

  15. We have not been on that train but it looks like one we should explore!

  16. Clara

    That is legit. How cool you got to ride in a real, and awesome, train!

  17. I’ve never heard of it but it looks amazing. My family would love this.

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