Great Smoky Mountain Train Tours

The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad offers a variety of scenic excursions through the mountains of western North Carolina. The following are some of the most popular excursions that Carolina Outfitters can book for you:

Nantahala River Gorge Excursion

This 4 ½ hour round trip excursion departs from Bryson City and travels 44 miles to the scenic Nantahala River Gorge. This trip crosses Fontana Lake on a 100 foot high Trestle Bridge that spans almost 800 feet across the Lake. It winds through the scenic western North Carolina mountains into the Nantahala Gorge. There is a 1 hour layover at the Nantahala River depot for lunch, sightseeing, shopping and relaxing. Guests can enjoy the scenic splendor of the Nantahala Gorge and view the fun and exciting whitewater rafting activities on the Nantahala River on this trip! The train goes along the river through the Nantahala Gorge giving guests a great view of the high cliffs and rugged terrain that the Cherokee called "The Land of The Noonday Sun".




Tuckasegee River Excursion

Trains depart from the historic Bryson City depot. This 4 hour, 32 mile round-trip travels along the Tuckasegee River, through the historic Cowee Tunnel, and past
The Fugitive film site. Arrive in the quaint village of Dillsboro for a 1 ½ hour layover for shopping and dining.



Nantahala Rafting and Railroading Options:

We suggest one of the following:

Option A: We will book your whitewater rafting with Carolina Outfitters and your scenic railway trip with Great Smoky Mountains Railroad on two seperate days. Both are major adventures! (You enjoy the full train trip both to the Nantahala Gorge and then back to Bryson City, and you raft the full river on the Nantahala on two separate days.)

Option B: We will book your scenic railway trip with Great Smoky Mountain Railroad in the morning and your whitewater rafting with Carolina Outfitters in the afternoon. You enjoy the full railway trip from Bryson City into the Nantahala Gorge and then back to Bryson City. (The return trip from the Nantahala Gorge to Bryson City is a very enjoyable part of the trip, and this way you won't miss it!) You then drive from Bryson City to Carolina Outfitters Rafting (about a 30 minute drive) and go on a (full river) whitewater rafting trip down the Nantahala River with Carolina Outfitters!

The Polar Express™

Bring the magical story of the Polar Express™ to life as you depart Bryson City for an imaginary journey to the North Pole on The Polar Express™. Enjoy the enchanting lights, decor and atmosphere of the Christmas Season. Guests on board will enjoy hot chocolate and a snack while listening to and reading along with the magical Polar Express Story. Children will be delighted when the train arrives at the "North Pole" where Santa Claus and his reindeer will be waiting. Santa will board the Polar Express™ where he will greet each child and give them their own sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung on the return trip to Bryson City.

*All ticket fares subject to 7% Historic Preservation Fee, premium rates apply to premium dates.

Smoky Mountain Trains Museum admission is included with all train excursion tickets. Without train excursion admission is $9 for Adults and $5 for Children.

Peanuts™ The Great Pumpkin Patch Express

Trip departs Dillsboro Depot on selected dates in October. Meet Snoopy, Charlie Brown & Lucy, and select your own pumpkin. Enjoy hayrides, live musical entertainment, storytelling, hay bale maze, bouncy house, apple cider, peanuts gift shop, face painting and trick or treating. Kids wear your costumes!


Nantahala and Tuckasegee River Excursions
Adults Children
(age 2-12)
(under age 2)
Coach Class: $51.00 $29.00 Free
Crown Class: $66.00 $38.00 $10.00
First Class 21+: $94.00 N/A N/A
Family First Class: $94.00 $54.00 $20.00
First Class Open Car: $77.00 N/A N/A
Coach Class (open/enclosed): $55.00 $31.00 Free
Crown Class: $66.00 $38.00 $10.00
First Class 21+: $94.00 N/A N/A
First Class Open Car (Nantahala): $79.00 N/A N/A
First Class Open Car (Tuckasegee): $94.00 N/A N/A
Other Trains      
Polar Express™      
Coach Class $40.00 $26.00 Free
Coach Class Premium $46.00 $31.00 Free
Crown Class $49.00 $36.00 $10.00
Crown Class Premium $50.00 $36.00 $15.00
First Class $60.00 $41.00 $15.00
First Class Premium $69.00 $46.00 $20.00
Peanuts™ The Great Pumpkin Patch Express: $55.00 $31.00 Free

Rates for October and special trip dates are higher. Change fee is $6.00 per seat Cancellation fee is $14.00 per adult ticket and $7.00 per child ticket and requires a minimum 48 hours notice prior to departure time. No refunds will be issued within 48 hours of departure. 72-hour cancellation notice is required for Special Event or Dinner Trains.


Prices and schedules are subject to change


Special discounts are available for School Groups and Scout Groups at $13.00 per person on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. For every 10 in the group 2 staff members will receive the $13.00 per person discount price, and additional adults would pay only $22.00 per person. (ie: for 20 in the group 4 staff members could go for $13.00 each and additionals at $22.00 etc.) Bus drivers for schools always get a complimentary ticket.


First Class* 21+

  • Champion, Mac Neil, Dixie Flyer & Silver Meteor Cars

Travel in comfort and style in 1940s-era bar, lounge and dining cars that feature seating at well-appointed tables and lounge/restaurant style chairs.
First Class passengers receive an all inclusive, delicious lunch served by the car's private attendant, a souvenir tumbler with a fountain soda and an embroidered tote bag gift from GSMR. These First Class Cars are climate controlled with restrooms available. Age 21 and over only. *Cocktail and bar service available for purchase.

Family First Class*
June, July & August

  • Champion, Mac Neil, Dixie Flyer & Silver Meteor Cars

Adults and children can ride and dine first class! First Class passengers enjoy a delicious lunch served by the car's private attendant, a souvenir tumbler with a fountain soda and an embroidered tote bag gift from GSMR. Children receive special child's meal and their own child souvenir.

Crown Class
Relax in restored coaches dating from 1925, featuring larger windows for better viewing and climate controlled for passenger comfort. Crown Class passengers receive their own souvenir tumbler to pick up and fill with a fountain soda in the Conductor's Cafe Car.

Coach Class
April - September. November & December.

Fall Foliage - October
Restored vintage coaches that date back as early as 1920, feature windows that open for fresh-air viewing, ceiling fans and heat for cooler days.

Open Air Gondola *Not available in October
April - September. November - December.
Created from retired baggage and flatbed cars, these open cars feature long padded outward-facing seats, perfect for the panoramic views. A great car for capturing the scents and sounds of the forest, or that special photo to remember your trip.

Restrooms are available at depots and on board the trains. Limited disability access is available.

(Prices are subject to change.)

We will email you a confirmation number for your train trip. (We will notify you of any change in price or availability prior to your confirmation)


We can help you fit the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad trip into your vacation schedule as well as whitewater rafting with Carolina Outfitters on the Nantahala River, gemstone mining at Nantahala River Gem Mine, bicycle rentals for a variety of scenic bike path options, and horseback riding on the scenic back-country trails of the Nantahala River Gorge or other scenic trails. In addition, we offer a variety of vacation cabin rental lodging options!