A Whole New World

Railbike Adventures on the Coast…

Whether it’s your first time in the California coastal redwoods or 100th, there’s no doubt it’s a magical, calming feel that washes over you as civilization fades away.

Well, there’s a new take on exploring the tranquil forest via Railbikes that depart from Fort Bragg on the Mendocino coast. The longtime home of the world-famous Skunk Train offers two-seater, human-powered pedal cars for a unique experience and a trip back into history.

“This is the stuff that everyone wishes they could see,” says general manager Stathi Pappas. “Northern California is a special place and on everyone’s bucket list, and here we are. If you’re from Redding or Chico, it’s really in your backyard.”

First introduced in 2019, there are three separate Railbike trips, including a moonlight jaunt that offers countless stars, roasted marshmallows and perhaps a romantic stroll at the Glen Blair Bar turnaround location.

The Pudding Creek excursions depart several times each day with as many as five departures, depending on the time of year. They meander along Pudding Creek into the heart of Mendocino redwood country through ancient stands of redwoods, across stately wooden trestle bridges harkening back to days of California’s majestic logging past.

The journey to the Glen Blair Junction is a 3.5-mile track that wends its way up the Pudding Creek Estuary. With no need to steer, you’re free to gaze at the untouched beauty of a forest a million years in the making. Along the guided route you might even spot a river otter, deer grazing, turtles soaking in the sun, blue herons, osprey or even a bear during peak berry picking season.

For Pappas, it’s really the canopy of trees that captures his attention on the ride. “You really get to slow down and look straight up,” he says. “You can do it in the open car (on the Skunk Train), but there’s something about the quietness on the Rail Bike. Just being able to look at the canopy is awe-inspiring. We are trained to look horizontally, but we are able to look up, that’s when the redwood forest becomes most impressive.”

The Railbikes come equipped with electric assistance, meaning you can pedal as much or as little as you desire. Pappas said many opt for a little help climbing some of the inclines on the route. They even offer a portable dog trailer so your furry friend can join the excursion.

Cost for the trip is $265 per bike and riders must be at least 18 and under 250 pounds. A liability waiver is required, as is a helmet (you may bring your own). Casual attire is suggested and close-toed shoes are required. Bringing water is encouraged. •


About Aaron Williams

Aaron is the former sports editor at the Record Searchlight. He has coached youth and high school sports for the past decade and coaches freshman football at Shasta High School. He enjoys spending time golfing or hiking with his girlfriend Michelle and their mastiff, Maui.

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