The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Things To Do In The Smoky Mountains

Photo credit The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Train Ride Through The Smokies from the heart of Bryson City, NC

The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers a unique and picturesque journey through the Western North Carolina countryside. The historic train depot, situated in the heart of Bryson City, serves as the starting point for a variety of scenic train excursions. These journeys provide unparalleled views of natural landmarks such as Fontana Lake, the historic Fontana Trestle, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Nantahala National Forest, and the Nantahala and Tuckasegee Rivers. The train rides, ideal for family outings, offer a special way to explore extraordinary places inaccessible by car, allowing passengers to witness the region’s historical structures and stunning foliage from a unique vantage point​​​.

The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is not just a means of transportation, but a portal to the past, evoking a sense of nostalgia and wonder. The railroad features an array of locomotives, including both steam-powered engines, known as the “Steam of the Smokies,” and modern diesel locomotives. This variety caters to different preferences and adds to the overall charm of the experience. The railroad offers a diverse selection of passenger round-trip train options and special event trains. Among these are thematic and seasonal excursions like THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride, a holiday-themed journey that brings joy and magic to the mountains. These rides are perfect for creating lasting memories and experiencing the true essence of railroading​​​.

One of the signature excursions is the Nantahala Gorge Excursion, which departs from Bryson City. This 4½-hour roundtrip takes passengers on a 44-mile journey to the Nantahala Gorge, showcasing the beauty of the Nantahala River. The trip is an excellent opportunity for passengers to immerse themselves in the natural splendor of the area as the train winds through the scenic landscapes, offering breathtaking views and a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life​​.

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