About the Train
The Skunk Train is located in beautiful Mendocino County, in Northern California. We are approximately four hours from the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento regions. Our line spans 40 miles, with a depot at either end in Willits and Fort Bragg. Regardless of your departure point, the train follows the coastal “Redwood Route” as it has since 1885, and your journey on “one of the most scenic railroads in North America” will allow you to leave the rest of the world behind during your time with us.
Once a booming lumbering and fishing town, Fort Bragg has transformed into a quaint coastal village on the spectacular and rugged Mendocino Coast. The historic depot is located at the Foot of Laurel Street in downtown Fort Bragg, where you’ll find ample parking adjacent to the depot. Fort Bragg offers multiple fine dining and lodging opportunites, in addition to fantastic shopping for art, clothing, and unique gift items. Please check Fort Bragg.com for more information and to plan your stay.
The first few miles of our trip out of Fort Bragg are along the Pudding Creek estuary, where common wildlife sightings include blue heron, egrets, osprey, ducks, and the occasional lounging turtle. After passing through a dark, 1,122-foot tunnel, the Skunk Train snakes its way along the Noyo River and zigzags through the redwood-thick Noyo River Canyon.
Willits, too, was a booming lumbering town, and since 1911 has been the hub for two railroads, the connection for the Skunk Train to the transcontinental railroad system via the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. A town rich in history with beautiful scenery, from rolling hills to picturesque ranches dotting the landscape, Willits is known as the “Gateway to the Redwoods”. Willits offers many festivals celebrating pioneer and steam travel history. More information can be found at Willits Chamber of Commerce.
From this side of the Skunk Train’s route traveling to Northspur, your train will climb the Eastern slope of the California Coastal Mountain Range and cut through it at Tunnel No. 2 (the summit of the trip) before descending down into the redwood-thick Noyo River Canyon. This is the mountainous part of our railroad: 8.5 miles of track were laid in to cover a straight line distance of less than one mile!
Northspur is the mid-point of the line and is located 21.3 miles east of Fort Bragg and 18.7 miles west of Willits. This is the turn-around point for every train. If you are on a one-way or The Overnighter trip, you will be transfering trains here.
During the logging days, Northspur was one of the busiest logging camps in the Noyo River Canton, housing a store, post office, and the Noyo River Apple Company. Set on the banks of the Noyo River, this large redwood grove and concession area has been welcoming passengers for more than a century.