Itching to get out of the cabin and see the Great Smoky Mountain scenery up close…while riding first class with a scrumptious meal, sipping wine or moonshine, or feeling the wind in your hair? Hop aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad that features scenic tours, dining options, exclusive experiences, seasonal trains, and complimentary entry into the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum!
Choose a classic ride by steam in an updated historic train (engine built in 1942) or a modern excursion on one of 5 diesel trains. Opt for first class that features a private attendant and a tasty meal, crown or coach indoor seating, or premium or regular open air seats on the gondola. You can even book a private caboose party or join the conductor for a locomotive cab ride!
Secure your railroad seats by booking your train tickets ahead of time online or over the phone at 800.872.4681. Take a little drive from your Pigeon Forge cabin in Tennessee to the Bryson City Depot in North Carolina. And depart on a beautiful train adventure with breathtaking vistas boasting water scenes, foraging wildlife, and rolling hills.
See the Smokies by railroad on scenic tours that provide incredible Smoky Mountain backdrops along the journey to stunning stops. And if you’d like a side of history with your train ride, opt for the narration car that features Great American Rails-N-Tales. Harken as Horace Kephart (a 19th century poet and writer in the Smokies) spins tales over the car-wide sound system — it’s a fun and educational addition to your Great Smoky Mountains Railroad excursion.
- Tuckasegee River | 4 hours | 32 miles round trip — Venture East through the Cowee tunnel to Dillsboro where you can explore a mountain town with country chic shops and restaurants before returning to the city.
- Nantahala Gorge | 4 ½ hours | 44 miles round trip — Head West along the Nantahala and Little Tennessee Rivers, eventually crossing an adventurous bridge, to the Nantahala Gorge to play and visit the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC).
Dining Options + Exclusive Experiences
What’s a train ride excursion without a little something to eat? Refuel with first-class options (most popular) like Cajun seasoned pulled pork, pot roast, or baked cod with mashed red skin potatoes, a carrot soufflé, and rice pilaf. You’ll also find vegetarian options and other dishes for the kiddos. Go for a picnic style lunch with a Choo Choo Chew boxed lunch with a barbecue sandwich, hot dogs, or a superfood salad wrap. Or opt for snacks and light fare choices you can purchase on the train for a little pick-me-up.
Interested in something extra special with your meal? The Smoky Mountains Railroad offers exclusive experiences and sips for train passengers.
- BBQ & Brews — Offered on all adult and family friendly cars, knock back local brews with fresh barbecue as you head for the sunset at the Fontana Trestle.
- Carolina Shine — Available on the first class moonshine car, enjoy authentic shine samples with a meal and take home a Mason jar souvenir!
- Uncorked — Open to first class cars, elevate your scenic train ride with fine wine from the South.
When the holidays roll around, board seasonal trains that feature traditional on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.
- Easter Bugle Express | Easter weekend — Join PEANUTS characters, like Snoopy and Charlie Brown, plus adorable Easter bunnies on the Tuckasegee River scenic tour where you’ll stop for classic Easter fun that includes an egg hunt and crafts.
- Freedom Train | July 4 — Celebrate our nation’s independence with a barbecue meal and Uncle Sam as you embark on a journey to the beautiful Fontana Trestle before returning to the city for a dazzling fireworks display!
- Pumpkin Patch Express | October — PEANUTS characters make their second appearance aboard this festive train that takes you to the Pumpkin Patch where you can participate in fall traditions, like pumpkin picking and trick-or-treating.
- The Polar Express | November & December — Let the Christmas magic (and hot cocoa) whisk you away to the North Pole where Santa and his elves are readying for the holidays, singing carols all the way home.
Model Train Museum + Gift Shop
All excursion tickets receive complimentary entry into the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum, which is a great addition to your scenic train ride. Steps away from the Bryson City Depot, this museum features one of the largest private collections of Lionel trains in the country. Plus, it houses a massive (24’ by 46’) and detailed display with running model trains throughout the Appalachian Mountains. From the miniature buildings to the quaint topiaries, it’s quite the mesmerizing sight!
Before heading back to enjoy your Smoky Mountain cabin, be sure to stop by the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Gift Shop for souvenirs. Grab a few tees, hats, toys, magnets, keychains, tumblers, mugs, books, and much more!
Choo Choo! All Aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad for stunning scenery, tasty meals, wine and shine, plus seasonal experiences — with loves ones.