We talked recently about how the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is utilizing abandoned U.S. railroads to create a 4,000-mile transcontinental bike trail. They’re not the only ones making good use of the country’s old railroad tracks, however.
Skunk Train is another fantastic organization that is doing great work repurposing U.S. railway lines and turning them into adventurous tour routes. For an example of their work, you can check out what they’ve done with the railroads going through the famous Redwood Forest route in northern California.
With a bit of ingenuity and some work, Skunk Train has turned this abandoned railroad into a tourist attraction that allows you to pedal through the Redwood Route on a two-person electric-powered railbike!
The scenic bike ride starts from Fort Brag and takes about 2 hours. It passes through Pudding Creek, across the wooden trestle bridges, and through the captivating Mendocino County and its ancient redwood trees. There’s also a nice 50-minute “pitstop” at Glen Blair Junction where you can rest your legs, have a picnic, or walk around the woods.
Skunk Train has made the railbikes work with a combination of an electric motor and pedaling. This allows for an easy ride for people of most ages and physical conditions while still giving you a bit of physical exercise. And, because the bikes are four-wheeled and are attached to the railroad, there’s no risk of falling over and no need for steering at all – all the tourists need to do is pedal at a leisurely pace and enjoy the scenery.
“You’re unbound, able to look around at the wonder of this untouched stretch of the natural world,” Skunk Train says, “spotting blue herons, osprey, an occasional lounging turtle, perhaps a playful river otter, a deer munching on the foliage, and during peak berry season maybe even a bear.”
This is far from the only unique experience Skunk Train offers either. They also some fascinating train rides for train-loving tourists such as their Pudding Creek Express, the Wolf Tree Run, the Magical Christmas Train, and others. You can check them out on the company’s website. Skunk Train has been working on the Redwood Route since 1885 and they’ve had plenty of experience creating memorable tours for their visitors.