1 North and 101 North
The Skunk Train was founded here in 1885 as a division of the Union Lumber Company. The tracks are standard gauge, 4’ 8½”. The line was extended east to harvest trees for milling and arrived in Willits in 1911. The railroad took 26 years to build and was once used to deliver mail along the way. The train gets its name from the fact that the original logging trains emitted unpleasant odors from their gasoline engines. Loggers said they “could smell ‘em before they could see ‘em.” It is an interesting factoid that the nickname and logo character was created in 1925, 3 years before Mickey Mouse arrived on the scene. Today, a few vintage motorcars are still used in winter, but most trains are pulled by steam or diesel engines as they travel through dense redwood forest, through deep mountain tunnels, and over many bridges and trestles. The Pudding Creek Express is a 1-hour, 7 mile round-trip excursion, turning at Glen Blair Junction.
|family gets ready to board Skunk Train in Fort Bragg, California|
299 E. Commercial St., Willits, (707) 964-6371. Year-round. $84/$109, 2-12 $42/$67, infants & dogs $10/$10. Reservations advised.
The Northspur Flyer makes a 40-mile, 4-hour round-trip to Northspur. The journey includes plenty of switchbacks, and you’ll go through a tunnel and see ancient groves of magnificent redwoods. A BBQ Dinner Excursion chugs along the same route, and traveling to remote Camp Noyo to spend the night camping is also an option.
|Skunk Train depot in Willits, California|
|passenger boards Skunk Train in Willits, California|
|riding through the redwoods on Skunk Train in Willits, California|
More things to do in Fort Bragg.
More things to do in Willits.
More ideas for exploring Northern California.
images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers