We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.


Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Ranked #7 of 38 things to do in Bryson City
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: A 52-mile rail journey through valleys, inside winding tunnels and across spectacular gorges of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Reviewed September 22, 2017

This train has several trains to ride. One goes to the town of Dillsboro, NC and the Other to Nantahala Gorge. I have ridden both. I expected more from the Natahala train ride and was some what disappointed. Maybe great in late October and later.

Thank Bobby g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (2,627)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
All reviews
"open air"
in 303 reviews
"first class"
in 473 reviews
"nantahala gorge"
in 325 reviews
"train ride"
in 596 reviews
"the polar express"
in 197 reviews
"open car"
in 103 reviews
"crown class"
in 104 reviews
"tote bag"
in 71 reviews
"dining car"
in 63 reviews
"steam engine"
in 58 reviews
"north pole"
in 127 reviews
"pulled pork"
in 47 reviews
"switch sides"
in 41 reviews
"return trip"
in 83 reviews
"the nantahala outdoor center"
in 145 reviews
"carolina shine"
in 38 reviews
"coach class"
in 26 reviews

358 - 362 of 2,628 reviews

Reviewed September 21, 2017

We took the ride from Bryson City to the NOC (Nantahallah Outdoor Center) and really enjoyed it. The weather was perfect and the scenery was lovely. I booked the tickets online (very easy). There were several types of tickets and eating options and we opted for the open air car with the seats facing outward. We decided that we would eat where we had the hour stopover so didn't buy any food in advance. If the weather isn't going to be good, I would opt for one of the closed cars as I think it would have been uncomfortable if it had been cold or rainy. I'm not sure what they do if it rains but if the other cars are full I'm not sure where you would go. We were fortunate to sit on the river side on the outbound trip which is the left side of the train. This turned out to be a good decision as the scenery is best on that side and the train goes more slowly on the outbound. When we got to the place where we dropped off the Wildwater Center people (you can book another trip fro the Wildwater Center like whitewater rafting, zip lining, jeep tour etc), then you had to switch seats to the other side of the train on the return which I think was a nice idea. There were two resttaurants at the stopover place at NOC.....Riverside and BBQ. We had to eat pretty quickly as by the time we walked to the restaurant from the train we only had about a half hour before we needed to start walking back again. Personally, if I would do it again I would either bring my own food (you aren't allowed to eat your own food on the train but you can eat it at the NOC) or I would just buy a meal from the train or preorder it. There was a nice trail from NOC to the lake which we didn't have time to take as we only had enough time to eat. Although we enjoyed it immensely, I don't think kids would enjoy it that much as it is mainly for the scenery and I think they would get bored after a while.

2  Thank Jacana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 19, 2017

A group of 10 adults took the 4 1/2 hour trip to Nantahala Gorge in one of the first class cars. We all had a great time! The train was cool, the food was great, and Steve our guide was funny and informative. Bryson City was only about a 90 minute drive from Gatlinburg, and was well worth the trip for a fun day in the train and exploring this cool little town.

Thank Karen V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 19, 2017

We called this weekend outting our "Smokey Mountain Wine & Shine Adventure!" We Love Wine and did the Rocky Top Wine Tour in Tn. but also decided to adventure out to The Carolina Shine package onboard The Great Smokey Mountain Railroad. This rail tour was 1st class all the way, complete with beautiful rail car, comfy seating, a BarBQ lunch w/ Sweet Tea, Moonshine samples, a wonderful Chocolate desert, fun & lively entertainment & a whole bunch of stuff to bring home as wonderful forever memories (GSMR Drinking Jars, Moonshine Shot Glasses & A Nice GSMR Travel Bag for the ladies)!

There is nothing to complain about on this 3 1/2 hour train adventure. The good was good, the staff were friendly, The music was fun and the story telling was entertaining. This is a great trip for couples on their honeymoon, anniversary or just looking for a touch of romantic adventure. Each train car has it's own theme, some offered lunch, some offered beer, and some cars were open air viewing cars which looked really cool. The Carolina Shine car was beautifully decorated and it took you back to nostalgic era in time. The trip was scenic with a little history thrown in (There is a Pre-Civil War House still standing and the beautiful Fontana Lake has numerous old towns underneath it). Banjo player Issac & Fiddle player Alma are AWESOME! They take request and are fun & friendly!

There is a 1-hour layover at the Nantahala Outdoor Center where there is white water rafting, kayaking and a lot of fun adventures to be had. There are places to eat & drink or just hang out by the water (which is clear and cool) I will return here next summer and take part in the fun! During the layover Issac & Alma play outside the train as well.

I Highly recommend the train ride to all ages & The Carolina Shine Tour for couples. We are NOT Moonshine drinkers but this is good for an Adventure. And....As an added bonus, we were able to purchase a bottle of Wine that came with a pair of wine glasses that were were able to bring home.

I will write more about this amazing train ride in adventure blog on my website

1  Thank AdventuresByWayne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
See more reviews
Reviewed September 18, 2017

It was awesome, we rode the open air gondola, served a bbq sandwich, chips and pie. Food was average. Our train hostess was very well educated on the area as she grew up in the area. Her name was Renee, if possible request her train. They offer closed air cars but had several people wander into our open air car because the view was a lot better. Would highly recommend this to others, and families.

Thank Scot A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Great Smoky Mountains Railroad also viewed

Bryson City, North Carolina Mountains
Bryson City, North Carolina Mountains
Bryson City, North Carolina Mountains
Bryson City, North Carolina Mountains

Been to Great Smoky Mountains Railroad? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing