Photo courtesy of Richard Weisser
This historic train offers train rides through the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is a spectacular trip with 53 miles of track, two tunnels and 15 bridges. Choose from a variety of excursions ranging from half day to full day round trips: steam or diesel, gourmet dinner trains, mystery theatre dinner trains, raft/train combos, and various seating options.
Guests ride in comfortable, reconditioned coaches, crown coaches, club cars, dining cars, and open cars that are ideal for viewing the scenery and taking pictures.
The club cars and dining cars have a historic past, having been beautifully restored from the Seaboard and Atlantic Coast Lines. The Silver Meteor car ran from New York to Miami. The Dixie Flyer was the gathering place on the Cincinnati-Atlanta-Tampa route. The Champion operated from New York to Tampa. [official site]
You may select from several train rides, including:
Gorge Combo Excursions:
•Departing from the quaint village of Dillsboro, travel past The Fugitive movie site, through the Cowee Tunnel, pass over the Tuckasegee River to Bryson City and on the the Nantahala River Gorge with lunch stop at the NOC Depot.
•Departing the historic mountain town of Bryson City, travel along the Tuckasegee River, cross over the Fontana Lake Trestle and along the Nantahala River Gorge with lunch stop at the NOC Depot.
• Tuckasegee River Excursions
Travel from Dillsboro to Bryson City. This relaxing train trip travels through the historic Cowee Tunnel, crisscrosses the Tuckasegee River, passes through old railroad towns and scenic meadows on its way to Bryson City's historic depot for a short layover before returning.
• Nantahala Gorge Excursions
Depart Bryson City and travel to the Nantahala Outdoor Center and return. This magnificent trip offers highlights like the Horseshoe Curve, Fontana Lake Trestle, Tennessee River, and the Nantahala River Gorge. Be sure to try the Relia's Garden luncheon option at NOC.
• Photo Specials
Enjoy a full day of steam train adventure along the entire route of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. This train trip begins in Dillsboro and runs all the way to the Andrews depot. There will be photo run-bys and a box lunch is provided.
• Santa Express
Kids of all ages will enjoy holiday treats and a warm reception from Santa himself. Entertainment on board, holiday carols and the enchanting story of "The Polar Express."
• Gourmet Dinner Train
First class seating. Four-course gourmet meal with cocktails and wine available.
• Wines of the World Gourmet Dinner Train
An elegant journey in grand style that has made railroad dining a cherished tradition. Featuring a four-course gourmet meal paired with a selection of premium wines to compliment the meal.
• Mystery Theatre Dinner Train
Entertaining and suspenseful. Participate in solving the mystery on board. Enjoy a three-course dinner during your train trip and a hilarious and rousing three-hour performance. Cocktail and wine service available on board.
• Private Caboose Parties
Charter your own private caboose to run on one of the regularly scheduled trips. These magnificent cars will accommodate up to 15 passengers.
Train & Raft Combos:
* Raft 'n' Rail
Perfect for first-timers of seasoned paddlers, Travel 22 miles by rail along the foothills of the Smokies and up the Nantahala River Gorge. At the top-of-the-line join the professional team of Wildwater LTD. Rafting for a 2 hour whitewater trip down the 8 miles of the Nantahala River. A picnic lunch, changing rooms with hot showers and transportation back to the depot are all included. A full day of excitement experiencing two of the most popular activities in the Smokies.
• Rapid Transit
Two great ways to see the Nantahala River! NOC's Rapid Transit package includes a fully-guided whitewater raft trip and a thirty- mile scenic train ride. Enjoy breathtaking scenery and incredible river views as your train travels from Bryson City through the Nantahala Gorge and back to NOC. Watch the river antics of rafters and kayakers while you eat a tasty lunch at Slow Joe's Riverside Café. After lunch, raft eight miles of the family friendly Nantahala. This full day excursion includes lunch, all equipment, and transportation back to Bryson City.