North Carolina June 12, 2017
You’ll Absolutely Love A Ride On North Carolina’s Majestic Mountain Train This Summer
With abundant warm weather, a mountain excursion is even more possible and plausible. While many first think of exploring by hiking trails or a drive on the Blue Ridge, another fun way to see some of the most beautiful spots in the Smoky Mountains is hopping on board.
Based in Bryson City, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad operates several different excursions throughout remote and scenic sections of the Smoky Mountains. With abundant greenery and perfect mountain weather, this is the perfect season to try one of the excursions offered.
On your ride you'll weave through tight tunnels, soar above rivers, flow through flat countryside with towering mountains in the distance and even through deep river gorge. The stunning scenery paired with instant relaxation meets adventure transports you to a simpler time when rail travel was how people made grand voyages. This year the Steam of the Smokies returns after an 11-year hiatus. The steam train will be operating on both the Nantahala Gorge Excursion and Tuckasegee. Aside from the two main excursions, GSMR also offers themed excursions like the 'Moonshine Experience,' 'Uncorked,' and this year the returning Wizard of Oz Train Ride.
The Nantahala Gorge Excursion traverses you along the Nantahala River. On the four and a half hour, loop ride, you'll be treated to delightful views of the the river and also getting a chance to ride across the historic Trellis Bridge taking you across Fontana Lake and into the Nantahala Gorge. You'll have a one hour break at Nantahala Outdoor Center before departing back to Bryson City.
For information on what to do at Nantahala Outdoor Center, read our guide here.
The Tuckasegee River gives you something a bit different. The 32 mile round-trip journey takes you through the small mountain town of Dillsboro. This 'countryside' drive is a voyage through tight tunnels and abandoned movie sets. For one, you'll pass through the famous 'Cowee Tunnel' and then the movie set from Harrison Ford's The Fugitive. You'll then have an hour in Dillsboro where you can shop, snack, eat or just stroll around and enjoy the small town vibes.
What an amazing journey, just in time for summer! Have you done this before?
While you’re in the area, make a whole trip out of it and follow our
two-day Land of Waterfalls itinerary.