Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

USA Today: “Top 10 American Train Rides”

Oprah Magazine: “12 Most Scenic Train Rides in the US”

Based in Bryson City, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad operates rail excursions with on board dining through our remote corner of North Carolina, traveling through tunnels, across rivers and lakes, through mountain valleys and into a deep river gorge. Destinations include the small town of Dillsboro, NC, and the Nantahala 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.

In 2020, face masks are required. Free face masks will be available. Car capacity is limited and social distancing is encouraged. Learn more

Enjoy the fall color from one of the coach cars or the open-air car during daily “Leaf Looker” excursions to the Nantahala Gorge a. Schedule and Tickets.

Lands Creek Cabins

Polar Express

In 2019, more than 94,000 people rode the Polar Express Christmas excursion making it one of the most popular holiday events in the Smokies. This is the trip to make memories and start a family tradition. Enjoy the depot decorations. On the train sing some Christmas carols, and enjoy warm cocoa and a treat, while listening to this magical children’s story. Santa is waiting at the North Pole, where he’ll board the train, greeting each child, giving them their own silver sleigh bell. (1-1/4 hour round trip). Don’t forget to wear your pajamas! November 8 – December 31. Schedule and Tickets

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 a zip line excursion, or rafting trip or a back roads jeep tourSchedule and Tickets

Tuckasegee River  (currently unavailable) This 4-hour excursion makes a 32 mile round trip to the quaint village of Dillsboro, passing by the train wreck set from The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford and through a tunnel. There is a 1-1/2 hour layover in Dillsboro with an option for a beer tasting at a brewery. 


In Bryson City, Three People Pushed a 177-ton Locomotive

On some rail excursions you can watch – or join – this super-human event.

Dining With a Unique Perspective

See the Smokies by train and enjoy a meal along the way.

Are you riding in Crown Class, Coach Class, or the Standard Open Air Gondola? Save money by planning ahead and ordering a boxed lunch, packaged in a picnic style, boxed, and ready to enjoy on the train or during the layover. Offerings include BBQ, hot dog, vegetarian, and ham or turkey sandwiches. There are hot dog & PBJ options for the kids. All are served with a bag of Ms. Vicki’s kettle chips, Grandma’s cookies, and a large 25 oz. sport cap bottled water.

Are you riding in First Class or Family First Class? Upon boarding, meals will begin with a complimentary 6oz Mimosa or orange juice and an appetizer of mild cheddar cheese, green seedless grapes & crackers. Then you have a choice of pulled pork or chicken salad sandwich, turkey bacon flatbread or kale crunch salad. All meals are served with a side.

Are you riding in the Premium Open Air Gondola? Enjoy a pulled pork sandwich or vegetarian sandwich – both served with a side.

Model Train Museum

Rail excursion tickets include same-day admission to Smoky Mountains Museum, with its collection of 7,000 Lionel engines, cars and accessories, impressive operating layout and children’s activity center.

Bryson City - Swain County
Chamber of Commerce

210 Main Street
P.O. Box 509
Bryson City, NC 28713

Karen Proctor
Executive Director



Free Travel Guide to the Smokies — Includes the Official All Aboard for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.




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