The scenic Highway 20 corridor from Highway 101 in Willits is the choice of most modern travelers headed for the little coastal city of Fort Bragg today; however, the trek to reach this outpost in the mid-nineteenth century was quite a struggle.
In 1857 Lieutenant Horatio Gibson was dispatched to the North Coast to establish a military base one mile north of the Noyo River on land that had once been Mendocino Indian Reservation. He named the outpost Fort Bragg. This seaside town is often confused with the active U.S. Army Fort of the same name in North Carolina; but the name is the only thing these two places have in common. This Fort Bragg is a "good time" kind of place!
Fort Bragg is the home of the Skunk Railway, a narrow gauge railroad which travels through splendid scenery of the redwood forests and is a "must" for coastal visitors. Many hometown celebrations such as Paul Bunyan Days, The World's Largest Salmon Barbecue, and the Whale Festival delight locals and visitors throughout the year. There are also museums, theaters, galleries, inns, and a local microbrewery and coffee roaster to enjoy.
Nearby, Noyo Harbor is alive with the bustle of fishing boats as they ply the waters of this quaint seaport. Huge California Sea Lions entertain visitors with their antics and announce their presence with their loud barking. Restaurants offer mesmerizing views and local, fresh seafood specialties. If you want a glimpse of this local color check out the Kurt Russel/Goldie Hawn movie Overboard which was filmed here.