You don’t have to travel far for a picturesque train ride that will leave you in awe of the surrounding beauty. Nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is not only famous for its stunning landscapes but also for its charming scenic train rides. Step aboard the vintage trains and embark on a journey through breathtaking valleys, alongside glistening rivers, and into the dense forests that make this area so enchanting. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply seeking a unique and relaxing experience, these scenic train rides near Gatlinburg are sure to be an unforgettable adventure.
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Great Smoky Mountains Railroad – A Great Scenic Train Ride Near Gatlinburg
If you’re looking for a memorable and picturesque train ride near Gatlinburg, look no further than the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. This iconic train journey takes you on a scenic tour through the stunning landscapes of the Great Smoky Mountains. Hop aboard the vintage train and get ready to be transported back in time as you chug along the historic rail line.
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers several different excursions to suit all preferences. One popular option is the Nantahala Gorge Excursion, which takes you on a 44-mile journey through the beautiful Nantahala Gorge. As you ride along, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and the stunning Nantahala River.
Another exciting choice is the Tuckasegee River Excursion, a 32-mile round trip that immerses you in the picturesque landscapes of the North Carolina mountains. This journey takes you through quiet countryside, over impressive river gorges, and past charming small towns.
Onboard Comfort and Amenities
As you embark on your scenic adventure, you’ll find that the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers a comfortable and enjoyable experience onboard. The vintage coaches are beautifully restored and provide ample seating, so you can relax and soak in the stunning scenery.
For a truly luxurious experience, consider upgrading to the First Class or Crown Class cars. These premium cars offer enhanced comfort, spacious seating, and even a delicious catered meal. It’s the perfect way to indulge yourself and make your train ride even more memorable.
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Venture just a short distance from Gatlinburg and you’ll find yourself at the charming Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. This enchanting train ride takes you on a delightful journey through the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.
The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway offers a variety of excursion options to suit different interests. One of the most popular choices is the “Toccoa River Adventure.” This 26-mile round trip takes you on a scenic route along the Toccoa River, offering breathtaking views of rolling green hills, charming farms, and picturesque small towns.
If you’re interested in immersing yourself in the region’s rich history, the “Hiwassee River Rail Adventure” is the perfect choice. This 55-mile round trip takes you through the unspoiled beauty of the Hiwassee River Gorge, showcasing the area’s diverse flora and fauna.
The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is known for providing a family-friendly experience that both kids and adults will enjoy. During certain times of the year, special themed rides are available, such as the popular “Easter Bunny Express” and the ever-magical “Santa Express.” These rides offer additional entertainment, including visits from beloved characters and festive decorations.
Regardless of the time of year you visit, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway ensures a memorable and enjoyable trip for the whole family. With friendly staff, comfortable seating, and stunning views, it’s an adventure not to be missed.
Tennessee Valley Railroad
For a unique and historic train ride near Gatlinburg, look no further than the Tennessee Valley Railroad. This renowned railway takes you on an unforgettable journey through scenic Tennessee landscapes while showcasing the fascinating history of rail transportation.
The Historic Experience
Hop aboard the vintage train at the Tennessee Valley Railroad and prepare to be transported back in time. The railroad offers a variety of excursions that provide a glimpse into the region’s rich railway heritage. One of the most popular choices is the “Summerville Steam Special,” a 100-mile round trip that takes you through the picturesque countryside of Tennessee and Georgia.
During this memorable adventure, you’ll have the opportunity to ride in a magnificent steam locomotive and experience the sights, sounds, and smells of a bygone era. The train even stops at the quaint town of Summerville, where you can explore the charming streets and historical sites before hopping back on board.
Special Events and Experiences
In addition to its regular excursions, the Tennessee Valley Railroad offers a range of special events and experiences throughout the year. Train enthusiasts will delight in the “Railfest,” an annual celebration of all things trains, featuring interactive exhibits, model train displays, and even the chance to ride in vintage rail cars.
If you’re visiting during the holiday season, don’t miss the “North Pole Limited” experience. Hop aboard the festively decorated train and embark on a magical journey to the North Pole, where Santa and his elves await. It’s a truly enchanting adventure that the whole family will treasure.
Prepare for a wild and wonderful adventure at the Tweetsie Railroad, a one-of-a-kind train ride near Gatlinburg that combines scenic beauty with thrilling entertainment. Located in the picturesque North Carolina mountains, this family-friendly attraction offers a unique blend of history, nature, and excitement.
The Wild West Experience
Step back in time and immerse yourself in the charm of the Wild West as you ride through the beautiful landscapes of Tweetsie Railroad. This renowned attraction features a 3-mile ride on a historic steam locomotive, taking you on a journey through the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains.
Along the way, you’ll encounter various Western-themed attractions, including live shows, antique amusement rides, and even an animal park. Get ready to be entertained by cowboys, Native American performers, and the famous Tweetsie Railroad “hold-up,” where bandits attempt to rob the train!
Family Fun and Entertainment
Tweetsie Railroad is a popular destination for families, offering a variety of attractions and entertainment suitable for all ages. Younger visitors will love the whimsical rides, such as the classic carousel and the iconic Ferris wheel. Animal lovers will enjoy visiting the Deer Park, where they can feed and interact with gentle deer, goats, and other cute critters.
Don’t miss the live performances that take place throughout the day, featuring talented actors who bring the Wild West to life. With plenty of shopping and dining options, as well as exciting seasonal events, Tweetsie Railroad is a fantastic destination for a day of family fun and adventure.
Bryson City Scenic Railroad
Nestled in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, the Bryson City Scenic Railroad offers a truly breathtaking train ride near Gatlinburg. This scenic railway takes you on a journey through the stunning Nantahala Gorge, showcasing the natural beauty of North Carolina’s mountains and rivers.
The Scenic Delights
Embark on the Bryson City Scenic Railroad and prepare to be amazed by the natural beauty that surrounds you. This 44-mile round trip takes you through the Nantahala Gorge, known for its striking cliffs, lush forests, and rushing rivers. Marvel at the vibrant colors of the changing seasons, from the vibrant green of spring and summer to the fiery red and gold of autumn.
During your journey, keep an eye out for wildlife native to the region, such as black bears, deer, and a variety of bird species. With knowledgeable guides providing interesting commentary along the way, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the area’s ecological importance as well as its rich history.
Choose Your Adventure
The Bryson City Scenic Railroad offers several different excursion options to suit different preferences. If you’re seeking a shorter journey, the “Tuckasegee River Excursion” is a fantastic choice. This 32-mile round trip takes you through picturesque countryside, offering breathtaking views of rolling hills and the scenic Tuckasegee River.
For an unforgettable dining experience with a view, consider the “Nantahala Gorge Excursion with Lunch.” During this excursion, you’ll enjoy a delicious meal while surrounded by the magnificent beauty of the Nantahala Gorge. It’s the perfect way to treat yourself and create lasting memories.
No visit to Gatlinburg would be complete without experiencing the Dollywood Express. Located within the famous Dollywood theme park, this train ride offers a delightful and nostalgic journey through the scenic Smoky Mountains.
Explore Dollywood Park
Before hopping aboard the Dollywood Express, take some time to explore the incredible Dollywood park. This world-renowned theme park offers a wide variety of thrilling rides, live entertainment, and delicious food options. From roller coasters to shows featuring talented performers, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
As you wander through the park, don’t miss the opportunity to sample some of Dollywood’s famous Southern cuisine. Indulge in mouthwatering barbecue, freshly baked treats, or sample a variety of regional specialties. With beautiful gardens and charming shops, Dollywood is a destination that truly has it all.
All Aboard the Dollywood Express
Once you’ve experienced all that Dollywood has to offer, it’s time to embark on the Dollywood Express itself. Sit back and relax as the nostalgic steam train takes you on a 20-minute journey through the breathtaking foothills of the Smoky Mountains.
As you chug along the tracks, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding countryside, including rolling hills, dense forests, and picturesque valleys. Listen to the rhythmic sounds of the steam engine, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and feel the gentle sway of the train as it transports you back in time.
Lookout Mountain Incline Railway
For a truly unique train ride experience near Gatlinburg, make sure to visit the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. Located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, this historic railway offers a thrilling ascent up the mountainside, providing panoramic views of the surrounding area.
The Incline Railway Experience
Step aboard the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway and prepare for an exhilarating journey. This inclined railway boasts the steepest passenger railway in the world, ascending over 1,200 feet up the side of Lookout Mountain. As you ascend, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of Chattanooga’s skyline and the picturesque Tennessee River.
Once you reach the top, take some time to explore Lookout Mountain, a destination that offers a wide range of attractions and natural wonders. Visit the renowned Rock City Gardens, with its stunning rock formations and panoramic views. Or, immerse yourself in the rich Civil War history of the area by exploring the historic Point Park.
One of the most memorable experiences you can have on the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway is witnessing a stunning sunset from the observation deck at the top. As the daytime fades into dusk, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking display of colors, with the skyline bathed in golden hues.
As the sun dips below the horizon, the city lights of Chattanooga begin to twinkle, creating a magical atmosphere. It’s the perfect moment to snap some photos, take in the beauty of nature, and reflect on the incredible journey you’ve just experienced.
Smoky Mountain Trains Museum
Immerse yourself in the rich history of train travel in the Smoky Mountains by visiting the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum. Located in Bryson City, North Carolina, this fascinating museum offers a treasure trove of exhibits and artifacts that transport you back to the golden age of rail travel.
A Journey Through History
Step into the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum and embark on a journey through time. The museum showcases an extensive collection of vintage locomotives, passenger cars, and cabooses, allowing you to see firsthand the evolution of train travel over the years.
Learn about the pivotal role that trains played in the development of the Smoky Mountains region, from their use in the logging industry to their impact on tourism. Explore interactive exhibits that provide insight into the lives of railroad workers and the challenges they faced.
Model Train Extravaganza
One of the highlights of the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum is the impressive model train display. Marvel at the intricate detail of these miniature landscapes, complete with meticulously crafted buildings, landscapes, and train tracks. Watch as tiny trains wind their way through tunnels, over bridges, and past charming towns, bringing the scenes to life.
Be sure to take some time to watch the museum’s train simulator in action. This interactive display allows visitors to experience the thrill of driving a train, giving you a taste of what it would have been like to be at the helm of these iron giants.
North Carolina Transportation Museum
Discover the fascinating world of transportation at the North Carolina Transportation Museum. Located in Spencer, North Carolina, this sprawling museum offers a comprehensive look at the history of various modes of transportation, including trains, automobiles, and airplanes.
Explore the Exhibits
Step into the North Carolina Transportation Museum and prepare to be amazed by the range of exhibits on display. Marvel at the vintage trains, including steam locomotives, passenger cars, and cabooses. Explore the meticulously restored workshops and roundhouse, where you can see firsthand the craftsmanship and dedication that went into maintaining these massive machines.
Learn about the history of automobiles as you peruse the vintage car collection, which features classic models from various eras. Discover the evolution of flight as you explore the aviation exhibits, showcasing aircraft that have shaped the course of history.
At the North Carolina Transportation Museum, it’s not just about looking; it’s also about experiencing. The museum offers a range of interactive exhibits and activities that allow visitors to get a taste of what life was like for those involved in transportation.
Kids and adults alike will delight in the opportunity to ride on a real steam train, feeling the power of the engine and imagining what it would have been like to travel by rail in times past. The museum also offers special events throughout the year, including train rides, vintage car shows, and even air shows. It’s the perfect place to let your imagination run wild and make memories that will last a lifetime.
The Polar Express Train Ride
Experience the magic of the holiday season with a ride on the Polar Express Train. This festive train ride, inspired by the beloved children’s book and movie, takes you on an enchanting journey to the North Pole, complete with hot cocoa, caroling, and a visit from Santa Claus himself.
A Magical Adventure
Hop aboard the Polar Express Train and get ready to embark on a magical adventure. As you settle into your seat, you’ll be transported to the world of the storybook, surrounded by dancing elves, cozy pajamas, and Christmas decorations.
During the journey, the conductor will punch your golden ticket, just like in the book. Sip on delicious hot cocoa and enjoy a sweet treat as the train makes its way to the enchanting North Pole. Listen to carolers singing holiday favorites, and keep an eye out for Santa’s workshop as you approach your destination.
Santa’s Special Visit
The highlight of the Polar Express Train Ride is, of course, Santa Claus himself. As the train arrives at the North Pole, Santa will board and make his way through the carriages, greeting each passenger and spreading holiday cheer. Feel the excitement in the air as he gives out special gifts and takes the time to talk with each child.
This unforgettable journey is the perfect way to create lasting family memories and celebrate the magic of the holiday season. Don’t forget to wear your favorite cozy pajamas and be ready to join in the festive spirit with singing, laughter, and joy.
In conclusion, Gatlinburg and its surrounding areas offer a wide range of scenic train ride near Gatlinburg that provide breathtaking views, fascinating history, and family-friendly fun. Whether you choose to embark on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, or any of the other fantastic options, you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience. So grab your ticket, hop aboard, and get ready for an adventure you’ll cherish for years to come.