You can see this ancient redwood forest preserve only by riding the historical Skunk Train.
HIGHLIGHTS: There’s only one way to see this stunning 426-acre forest: by rail. Or more specifically, by the Skunk Train, the historic narrow gauge little choo-choo that regularly plies the rugged coastal mountains between the towns of Willits and Fort Bragg. This parcel of ancient trees is too remote and inaccessible to allow for public visitation by foot or car.
Saved from logging through a joint effort of Save the Redwoods League and the Mendocino Land Trust, the 426-acre Noyo River Redwoods forest contains about 30 percent of the ancient forest remaining in the Noyo River watershed.
ACTIVITIES: Mendocino Land Trust, the owners of Noyo Redwoods, hope to construct a trail in the future. For now, the Skunk Train provides a good overview. While visitors can’t hike among these giants, they are still well worth seeing – and a ride on the Skunk needs no real justification. It’s a sheer joy, combining a venerable transportation technology with some of the most beautiful scenery in the West.
VISITOR CENTER: None.
CAMPGROUNDS: Embark on the Skunk Train and spend the night in the rugged Noyo River Canyon, 17 miles east of Fort Bragg. Originally a logging camp along the famed route of the Skunk Train, Camp Noyo is a remote wilderness area with eight private campsites and a river view chalet that is only accessible via train.
MUST-SEE UNIQUE FEATURE OR SEASONAL HIGHLIGHT: The forest’s stately trees are a highlight of a trip on the Skunk Train. The Skunk Train offers holiday-themed rides.
FEATURES ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Train, midpoint lunch stop, bathrooms
DOGS: Not allowed.
ENTRANCE FEE: The cost of a ticket on the Skunk Train.
MORE INFORMATION: Visit the Skunk Train’s website for reservations and more, or call 707-964-6371.
PLACES TO STAY: The Skunk Train partners with these lodging properties.
STOP: Regan suggests stopping at the Solar Living Center (external link) in Hopland. You can take a walking tour of the 12-acre working demonstration of renewable energy, permaculture, and sustainable living.
FAVORITE PARK ATTRACTION: Riding the historic Skunk Train (external link). Grab the train from Willits and take a ride through the Noyo River Redwoods and stop for a picnic at Northspur before heading back.
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Acres Protected by the League: 426
Getting There: Driving Directions
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