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“Great 4 hour train for the entire fanily”
Review of Skunk Train

Skunk Train
Ranked #2 of 7 Tours in Fort Bragg
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Attraction details
Owner description: Trips departing from both Fort Bragg, CA and Willits, CA on the historic Redwood Route of Mendocino County. The Pudding Creek Express departs from Fort Bragg, on which your train will travel along the Pudding Creek Estuary to Glen Blair Junction on this short and scenic 1-hour, 7-mile roundtrip. You will be traveling over some of the first tracks laid down by the California Western Railroad in 1885. Once the train stops it will immediately return to Fort Bragg. The Northspur Flyer departs from Willits, on which your train will climb the Eastern slope of the Coastal Mountain Range and cut through it at Tunnel #2 (the Summit) before descending down into the redwood-thick Noyo River Canyon. This 4-hour, 40-mile roundtrip allows you to explore the wondrous forest where the world’s tallest trees take you back in time. Once you arrive at Northspur, the midpoint of the railroad, you will disembark for an opportunity to walk around, purchase lunch, and breathe the pristine mountain air.
Reviewed 30 July 2007

My wife rode the skunk train when she was a small girl, so it was time to pack up the family and re-live some past glories. The Skunk Train is operated out of Fort Bragg, CA which is just a few miles north of Mendocino- both towns give you plenty of sightseeing opportunities for a weekend.

The train is a steamer with plenty of seating, a snack car, and a convertible car (where you're outside.) It takes about two hour to the destination with several short stops along the way - it's a beautiful and slow ride through the Northern California forest.

After 2 hours, you'll stop and have great BBQ outdoors with live music in a beautiful park. This is where the steam engine moves to the back of the train to take it back to Fort Bragg. Plenty of photo opportunities here.

On the 2 hour journey back, many on the train (including my two kids) took naps.

I have to say - if you're interested in slowing things down a bit in your life - this is a very relaxing tour to take. It felt long, but it was nice to not to feel rushed. Open a window, enjoy the scenery, and take a nap. This is not to be missed if you ever find yourself in Fort Bragg.

End the day at a dining destination in Mendocino and watch the sunset.

-Eric

6  Thank altaskr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"open car"
in 61 reviews
"steam engine"
in 47 reviews
"open air"
in 44 reviews
"halfway point"
in 15 reviews
"observation car"
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"pudding creek"
in 39 reviews
"lunch stop"
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"his guitar"
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"hour trip"
in 21 reviews
"fun trip"
in 15 reviews
"longer trip"
in 8 reviews
"redwood trees"
in 13 reviews
"noyo river"
in 23 reviews
"nice ride"
in 8 reviews
"great adventure"
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"unique experience"
in 8 reviews
"four hours"
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Reviewed 11 July 2007

I would definitely recommend NOT taking the Skunk Train. The best part is free. Look at the depot and the cool steam train (the Skunk #45 steam engine), maybe take your picture with it.
For free, you can drive through all the windy roads of 1/101 and surrounding state and national parks and see majestic old redwoods.
The Skunk Train goes from nowhere to nowhere (Ft. Bragg to Northspur to be exact) on an old logging route. The trees were clearcut so this is a "new-growth" forest, about 60-70 years old. The views were not as spectacular as one would hope for the money.
There was a singer with a banjo. His song about the Skunk Train was charming. Songs 3-10 (or so) just made me wish I could leap from one of the bridges the train crosses going over the Noyo River. If you really like it, though, you're welcome to buy his CD.
If you like $4 hot dogs and $2 sodas, this is the trip for you.
Just for fun, our train stopped a couple of times (unscheduled) to grease the hideously screeching bearings. The biggest excitement came when we stopped suddenly because a 10-12" tree fell across the tracks and had to wait for rescue crews to arrive with chainsaws so we could continue.
DO stop by Mendocino and Ft. Bragg because they are lovely. DO enjoy the forest and ocean views. Just skip the Skunk Train.

9  Thank AllAmericanGirl30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 July 2007

The skunk train - over priced at $70 a person - didn't set the steam engine and dinner didn't come with a drink of any kind - pay up or water.

I know ir costs a lot to maintain the tracks - so if you go - consider half of it a donation - and expect to receive half in value.

People were nice!

6  Thank sreins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 June 2007

We rode the Skunk train in 2001. We had a lot of fun, and this year (2007) decided to do that once more. Big mistake.
Yes, the scenery is still the same, but...
The price under new management went up 30% immediately, but that's the smallest of the problems.
What used to be back in 2001 (and still supposed to be now in 2007) a pleasant 3.5 hrs trip, turned out to be 5.5 hrs nightmare.
Back in 2001, Northspur station (turning point of the trip) was full of gift shops and food stands. Now, in 2007 - nothing.
Just think about that for a moment - and you'll figure out how hungry (and angry) we were.
Yes, there was some food on the train - hot dogs and popcorn
(yuck!), but even that was sold out in the middle of the trip.
One more thing - they used to have a much better train singer back in 2001.
So... If you can tolerate all the stuff I've mentioned, you going to have a lot of fun. Otherwise - just stay away.

10  Thank batya0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 December 2006

Before you criticize the price imagine how much it costs to maintain this railroad. I dont see how they make any money at all. It has gone bankrupt and was revived by new owners who also operate the Sierra Railroad. Ride it while it is still running, that is my advice. The scenery on the Ft Bragg side is just spectacular, redwood forests, fern lined canyons, the beautiful Noyo River where you can catch a glimpse of an occasional trout even from the noisy train as it crosses over numerous bridges. I have ridden 3 times and will do it many more times. The steam train is not to be missed, but the diesel (an old GP 9) isnt so bad. The open car gives you an up close look at the incomparable beauty of a North Coast forest. It is a relaxing nostalgic trip and I highly recommend it. The train cars are old and squeaky but thats part of the nostalgic appeal. The best family trip is to leave from Ft Bragg, go to the North Spur stop and then come back down. While you are up at North Spur take a very short walk down to the river, it is just beautiful and you might even see Coho Salmon fingerlings swimming around. I have done the whole trip from Willits to Ft Bragg and back. I loved it but its too long for non train fans. I am a big fan of the Skunk Train. Best train ride for the bucks anywhere in my opinion.

10  Thank 377
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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