Bored Panda works better on our iPhone app
Continue in app Continue in browser
BoredPanda Add Post

The Bored Panda iOS app is live! Fight boredom with iPhones and iPads here.

You Can Pedal Through California’s Redwood Forest On A Railbike, And The Trip Looks Absolutely Stunning
209points
20.6K
Travel2 years ago

You Can Pedal Through California’s Redwood Forest On A Railbike, And The Trip Looks Absolutely Stunning

In the early 1880s, lumbermen C.R. Johnson, Calvin Stewart, and James Hunter joined forces to expand timber operations in Mendocino County, California. By 1885, the Fort Bragg Railroad was formed in an attempt to make transporting lumber easier. Essentially, this was the foundation of what would one day become the California Western Railroad, more commonly known as The Skunk.

The Skunk got the nickname in 1925 when motorcars were introduced (today sometimes referred to as railbuses or railcruisers). These self-propelled motorcars 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 distinct odor, and the old-timers living along the line said these motorcars were like skunks, “You could smell them before you could see them.”

More info: skunktrain.com | Facebook | Instagram | vimeo

Image credits: skunktrain

Initially, California Western Railroad was operated as a division of the Fort Bragg mill (Union Lumber Company, Boise-Cascade). In the mid-1960s, however, Arizona-based Kyle Railways began managing the railroad and purchased it in 1987.

In August 1996, a group of local Mendocino Coast investors bought California Western, marking the first time in its 111-year history that the line would operate as an independent business.

Image credits: skunktrain

People can enjoy the historical tracks in quite a few different ways, from sharing their cookies with Santa Claus aboard the Magical Christmas Train throughout December to celebrating fall by hopping onto the Pumpkin Express. But recently, a Fort Bragg excursion on railbikes has become more and more popular. After seeing the photos, it becomes quite clear why.

Image credits: skunktrain

The custom-built electric railbikes are virtually silent and fit two people. Peddling along the historic tracks, groups wend their way along scenic Pudding Creek, cross over majestic wooden trestle bridges, and journey into the heart of the ancient redwoods of Mendocino County.

“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”, 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.”

Image credits: skunktrain

Pinoli highlighted that redwoods only grow naturally in one small slice of the world, from Big Sur to the California-Oregon border, and only about 12 air miles inland. “These trees are hundreds of feet tall and are each a unique monument to the very forest they make up. The tracks of the Skunk Train date back to 1885 and trains have been running over them continuously for 135 years.”

Image credits: skunktrain

Without needing to steer, people are able to look around at all the wonders of the natural world. “Common sightings are otters, egrets, a lounging turtle, deer, and on the early morning trip, an occasional bear too,” Pinoli explained.

Image credits: skunktrain

The rate is $250 per bike and includes the 8% Historic Preservation Assessment.

At first, the company thought of the railbikes as a way to entice more millennials to come to experience the route of the Skunk Train, but quickly found out that folks who are older were also drawn to the trip because the bikes allow people with mobility issues to complete the journey without much fuss as well.

Image credits: skunktrain

Image credits: skunktrain

Image credits: skunktrain

Image credits: skunktrain

Image credits: skunktrain

Image credits: skunktrain

Image credits: skunktrain

Image credits: skunktrain

Image credits: skunktrain

Image credits: skunktrain

A stopover at Glen Blair Junction features picnic tables and a redwood loop trail (with both casual and intermediate difficulty options)

Image credits: skunktrain

Image credits: skunktrain

Image credits: skunktrain

Here’s what people have been saying about the trip so far

Share on Facebook
Popular on Bored Panda
Hey pandas, what do you think?
Aria Whitaker
Community Member
2 years ago

Good idea, but they really should bring the price down a bit. Especially now, $250 is a big cost for a family of four...they would require two bikes....$500 for ONE bike trip through a forest...ugh.

G Bruce Chapman
Community Member
2 years ago (edited)

https://www.revrail.com/ in New York does the same thing much cheaper. 2-2.5h trip. Double Railbike (Sits 2): $80 Quad Railbike (Sits 4): $140

Load More Replies...
bryguy
Community Member
2 years ago

Great idea, but the only downside is you can't really stop to enjoy the area, people would start building up behind you

So Ro
Community Member
2 years ago

Please correct your title - it's "pedal," not "peddle." I was wondering why people would be selling things along historic tracks! :) Great article though, and I love the pics!

Load More Comments
Aria Whitaker
Community Member
2 years ago

Good idea, but they really should bring the price down a bit. Especially now, $250 is a big cost for a family of four...they would require two bikes....$500 for ONE bike trip through a forest...ugh.

G Bruce Chapman
Community Member
2 years ago (edited)

https://www.revrail.com/ in New York does the same thing much cheaper. 2-2.5h trip. Double Railbike (Sits 2): $80 Quad Railbike (Sits 4): $140

Load More Replies...
bryguy
Community Member
2 years ago

Great idea, but the only downside is you can't really stop to enjoy the area, people would start building up behind you

So Ro
Community Member
2 years ago

Please correct your title - it's "pedal," not "peddle." I was wondering why people would be selling things along historic tracks! :) Great article though, and I love the pics!

Load More Comments
Popular on Bored Panda
Popular on Bored Panda
User Submissions
Also on Bored Panda
Also on Bored Panda