Traveling along lush valleys, over sparkling lakes, and through echoing tunnels in the North Carolina mountains, The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Scenic Train offers so many exciting train excursions:
Holiday & Seasonal Experiences
Bunny Hopper Express—Newly added in 2021, the scenic trail will travel along the Nantahala Gorge River to a picturesque layover destination for Easter-themed festivities that include an Easter egg hunt with prizes, a giveaway bag with activities to enjoy during the train ride, and a yummy Easter treat for junior railroaders to enjoy at the layover. Also, be on the lookout for train-hopping bunnies who you can snap pictures with throughout the ride!
Winter Gorge Excursion—Newly added in 2020, this excursion takes you on a cozy and festive ride through the Smoky Mountains to Nantahala Gorge in November and December. Train cars will be decorated with holiday spirit, and there will be a special appearance from Santa Claus!
Polar Express—A favorite holiday tradition of locals and tourists alike, the Polar Express Train excursion typically transports more than 90,000 passengers each year! Roughly 1.5 hours round trip, this is a journey over the river and through the woods to the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, riders can enjoy hot cocoa and cookies and experience the magical story come to life. Once the train arrives at the “North Pole,” Santa Claus will board the train and present each child with a silver sleigh bell of their own, just like the story. Embrace the holiday cheer, and sing Christmas carols on your ride back to the depot.
Peanuts™ The Great Pumpkin Patch Express—The ultimate family-friendly fall activity, this train adventure winds through the vibrant color-changing foliage that can be enjoyed during the month of October in Western North Carolina! Guests will hear a narration of Schulz’s “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” as the train travels to the Pumpkin Patch. Upon arrival, passengers will have a photo opportunity with Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Snoopy. During your 1.5 hour layover, you can enjoy campfire marshmallows, trick or treating, wagon rides, and more. Each child will also have the chance to select their own pumpkin from The Great Pumpkin Patch to take home. Don’t forget to wear your Halloween costumes!
The standard Tuckasegee River Excursion and Nantahala Gorge Excursion offer additional opportunities for rafting, ziplining, and waterfall jeeping in select packages so you can enjoy an exciting outdoor adventure along with your open-air ride. If you’re traveling around meal times or just want an accompanying snack, there’s boxed lunches, packaged picnic-style, and beer & tasty bites that provide a beer flight and local fare you can enjoy during your trip’s layover.
During your trip, be sure to check out the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum (complimentary admission with any train ticket purchase) with its collection of 7,000 Lionel engines, cars and accessories, impressive operating layout, children's activity center, and toy shop.
Offering a variety of trips and special event trains, The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Scenic Train provides a truly unique and memorable experience that is a must for any family vacation year round!