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(800) 866-1690

Skunk Train


The view from our restored rail cars remains largely unchanged since the late 1800s. Regardless of your departure point, you'll see nature, virtually un-tamed, getting a sense of Northern California's natural beauty, even before humans arrived to develop the land.


Departing from Fort Bragg, the first few miles run alongside the Pudding Creek estuary, where common wildlife sightings include blue heron, egrets, osprey, ducks, and the occasional lounging turtle. After passing through Tunnel No. 1, the Skunk Train snakes its way along the Noyo River, zig-zagging through the redwood-thick Noyo River Canyon.


Departing from Willits and traveling to Northspur, your train will climb the Eastern slope of the California Coast Range, cutting through it at Tunnel No. 2 (Summit) before descending into the Noyo River Canyon. This is the mountainous part of our railroad line, in which 8.5 miles of track cover a straight-line distance of less than one mile.


Come see the Skunk in its natural habitat. 

Our beginning

Built as a logging railroad in 1885 by Charles R. Johnson, the “Redwood Route™” was a logical vehicle for moving massive redwood logs to Mendocino coast sawmills from the rugged backcountry. The train played a vital role during this t ime in transporting families and workers who set up the various logging camps along the route and in doing so, became an entirely different type of line. It played an important part not only in the area's industrial life, but also in its social and cultural activities. No other logging railroad in America has made the deep impression on American life that was created by the line from Fort Bragg – first by the natural beauty of its route and later, by the distinctiveness of its equipment. Skunk Train's Motorcar M80 in the 1950s


“Smells like a skunk!”

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


The caretakers

California Western Railroad was initially operated as a division of the Fort Bragg mill (Union Lumber Company, Boise-Cascade). In the mid-1960s, Arizona-based Kyle Railways began managing the railroad and purchased it in 1987. In August 1996, a group comprised entirely of local Mendocino Coast investors purchased California Western, marking the first time in its 111-year history that the line would be operated as an independent business. Today the Skunk Train is owned and operated by Mendocino Railway.

Skunk Train — Fort Bragg Depot

Foot of Laurel Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437


Skunk Train — Willits Depot

299 East Commercial, Willits, CA 95488

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Boarding Information

West Sacramento Boarding

Our boarding location is a ½ mile North of the West Sacramento IKEA shopping center. We board at 400 North Harbor Blvd., sharing a parking lot with a water facility.


400 N. Harbor Blvd

West Sacramento, CA  95605

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Frequently Asked Questions

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General FAQ

Are the rides round-trip?

Yes! No matter where we board, your evening on the Sacramento RiverTrain will always end right back where it started.



Where are my tickets?

The Sacramento RiverTrain is a ticket-free operation. To board the train on your event date, all you’ll need to provide us is the last name of the person who purchased the reservations.



What happens if my date is cancelled?

Occasionally, due to circumstances beyond our control, we may be forced to cancel an event date. If this happens, we will contact you to make alternative arrangements. First, we’ll try to get you into the same experience on another trip date. If your schedule cannot accommodate another trip date, we will refund you your ticket purchase price.



Can I cancel or reschedule my trip?

You may call to cancel or reschedule any trip up to 72 hours prior to departure. The number for our ticketing office is: (800) 866-1690. 



Can I bring outside food or drinks onto the train?

No, in keeping with health and safety regulations, we cannot allow outside food or drink on the train. We do have soft drinks, water, and snacks available at our concession and many trips have the option of purchasing light meals or snack boxes ahead of time.



Is the Sacramento RiverTrain affiliated with the Railroad Museum?

The Sacramento RiverTrain is a family-owned and operated business that is not affiliated with the California State Railroad museum.  If you want to learn about trains and the history of California’s railroads, the California State Railroad Museum is the place to go. If you’re looking for a unique venue for a variety of memorable experiences, look no further than the Sacramento RiverTrain.



Does the Sacramento RiverTrain run any trips using steam-powered engines?

No. All of our trains are diesel-powered locomotives. If you want to see vintage trains in action, consider making a weekend trip to our sister railroad in Mendocino County, the Skunk Train.



Is the Sacramento RiverTrain dog-friendly?

We offer two dog-friendly experiences, so you can spend an afternoon rolling through the countryside with your four-legged friends. Our Beer Train and The Old Vine Express each accommodate up to five dogs per trip. Please use your good judgement when making reservations for your dog: they will need to be able to remain on the train for three hours among crowds, live music, and horn sounds. Bear in mind that they also need to remain on-leash, attended, and in the outdoor, open-air cars throughout the duration of the trip. You may want to consider bringing at least two human companions to accompany your dogs, to allow one of you to duck into the indoor areas for beer or wine tastes, food runs, and restroom breaks.



Are there restrooms available on the Sacramento RiverTrain?

Yes. The Sacramento RiverTrain has several small, airplane or bus-style restrooms available for guest use.



Is smoking allowed on the Sacramento RiverTrain?

No. Federal regulations and regional fire codes prohibit smoking, even in the outdoor cars. 



What factors determine the ticket prices?

The Sacramento RiverTrain is dedicated to preserving a piece of American history and provides a unique venue for family entertainment. Each of our events take place aboard our train and includes a leisurely ride along the Old Garden Highway between Sacramento and Woodland. Our ticket prices allow us to operate and maintain our diesel locomotives and passenger cars, maintenance of rail, as well as pay for the required train engineer, conductor, dispatch, and event staff. Ticket prices also vary based on event specific additions such as 3-course meals on our Sunset Dinner Train or craft beer selections and live music we feature on our Beer Train. Additionally, Sacramento RiverTrain offers experience options for the budget-conscience including our upcoming excursion train. We also hold various online giveaways and promotions throughout the year to offer our social fans the opportunity to be our guests.



What is that 18% Staff Service Charge?

From wait staff to cleaners, the Sacramento RiverTrain has a lot of staff ensuring each train ride offers the best experience possible. In the past, we included an 18% gratuity in the ticket price but soon found that many guests were still tipping the staff, which caused them to spend more money than necessary. To avoid this confusion, we removed the gratuity from the ticket price and added the separate 18% Staff Service Charge for greater transparency.



Are discounts available for large groups?

Yes! Groups of 20 or more are eligible for significantly discounted rates. Call our reservations office at 1 (800) 866-1690 to inquire about group events.



Can I host my child’s birthday party on the Sacramento RiverTrain?

Yes! Kid-friendly events are one of our specialties, and any of these can be a great way to spend your child’s birthday. Great Train Robberies, for example, are the most economical option for little Wild West enthusiasts. However, any trip can be a great celebration: from the Zombie Train to the Christmas Train, there is always something fun rolling down the tracks. Contact our group sales and special events manager to plan a great day, and secure special discounted pricing for parties of 20 or more — Call our reservations office at 1 (800) 866-1690 to inquire about group events.



Can I have a corporate event on the Sacramento RiverTrain?

Absolutely! Large company parties can schedule a special train trip to show employees appreciation, celebrate the holidays, or work on building up that team mentality. For smaller groups, consider reserving a private car for one of our already-scheduled trips. Call our reservations office at 1 (800) 866-1690 to inquire about group events.



Can I rent out the entire train?

Yes, private charters may be arranged, upon request, for any day of the week depending upon availability.



Is the Sacramento RiverTrain wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the Sacramento RiverTrain is wheelchair accessible. Due to the historic nature of the train cars, however, there are some unique challenges for anyone with mobility restrictions to be aware of. Some of our cars have narrow hallways with 90 degree turns, and we cannot guarantee that personal chairs will fit. Additionally, some of our cars are upper level and have steep stairs at either end. That being said, we will make every effort to accommodate anyone wishing to ride the train. Please give us a call at 1.800.866.1690 to discuss further.



How many guests can the RiverTrain accommodate?

The train has a maximum capacity of 300 guests. The maximum capacity may vary based on the experience.



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