Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
One of USA Today's "Top 10 American Train Rides" (2016)
Based in Bryson City, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad operates scenic rail excursions through our remote corner of North Carolina, traveling through tunnels, across rivers and lakes, through mountain valleys and into a deep river gorge. Some rides are with the diesel engine and some are with the newly restored steam engine #1702. When the steam is running you will also have the chance to watch the people-powered engine turntable in action. The steam shed, right next to the turntable, is for servicing and storing the train between excursions.
The steam engine #1702 has returned to the mountains after and 11-year hiatus including a 2-year complete refurbishing. Rides include both the Nantahala and the Tuckasegee River routes. The #1702 will be on display for photo opportunities. Steam Schedule & Tickets
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Excursions from Bryson City
Nantahala Gorge This 4-1/2 hour excursion makes a 44 mile round trip to the Nantahala Gorge, crossing the historic Fontana Lake trestle. There’s a 1-hour layover at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), and options for packages including rafting, zip-lining and jeep tours. Many trains to the gorge also include an all-adult first class moonshine car – The Carolina Shine – featuring Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon family of spirits. Schedule & Tickets
Tuckasegee River This 4-hour excursion makes a 32 mile round trip to the quaint village of Dillsboro, passing by the famous movie set of The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford and through a tunnel. There is a 1-1/2 hour layover in Dillsboro. Schedule & Tickets
In 2015, more than 76,000 people rode the Polar Express Christmas excursion making it one of the most popular holiday events in the Smokies.
Other family-oriented excursions include two PEANUTS-themed events — the Easter Beagle Express in spring, and the Great Pumpkin Patch Express (watch video) in October. As well as the July 4 Freedom Train and the summer Wizard of Oz excursions.
Special dining events include BBQ & Brews and "Uncorked" wine experience. And enjoy hand crafted, triple-distilled Midnight Moon moonshine in our Nantahala Gorge all-adult first class moonshine car - The Carolina Shine.
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Model Train Museum
Rail excursion tickets include admission to Smoky Mountains Museum, with its collection of 7,000 Lionel engines, cars and accessories, impressive operating layout and children's activity center.