With the romance and mystique of an era gone by, guests on board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad will enjoy scenic train journeys across fertile valleys, through tunnels and across river gorges in a spectacular region called the Great Smoky Mountains. This section of western North Carolina offers a wide array of ever changing vegetation and fantastic landscapes.
The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad is truly spectacular with 53 miles of track, two tunnels and 25 bridges. Choose from a variety of round trip excursions departing from depots in Dillsboro and Bryson City. For a unique dining experience enjoy a romantic evening aboard the Gourmet Dinner Train departing every Saturday evening or participate in an entertaining and suspenseful performance aboard the Mystery Theatre Dinner Train departing on select Friday evenings May through September with additional departures in October and November.
The Carolina mountains border the entire western edge of North Carolina, comprising some 52 percent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This beautiful area also includes the southern crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Pisgah, Cherokee, and Nantahala National Forests. Hundreds of years ago, glacial and volcanic movement left etchings still visible on the land. In more recent times, roads and flood controls have added accessibility, stimulating the growth of commerce and then tourism. Early in the century the railway played a major part of the story of the development of the region. Today the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad provides visitors a way to enjoy the mountains and the scenery.
The coming of summer heralds rosebay rhododendron and an almost endless variety of wildflowers. In the fall, many of these plants show their bright berries, and of course the trees glow in all shades of red, russet, yellow, and orange. A nature lover can enjoy over 1,000 species of flowering plants, 200 birds, and over 100 species of fish and animals.
This delightful Carolina mountain vacationland is like a nature conservancy in which small towns, rushing rivers, and ancient mountains reside. Great Smoky Mountain Railroad depots are located in three historic towns; Dillsboro, a village of shops and crafts; Bryson City, located on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; and Andrews, a scenic valley in the Snowbird Mountains. All were founded in the 1800s and have retained some of their original character, adding to their historic charm.