Taking a Train Through the Great Smoky Mountains Needs to Be on Your Bucket List

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Photo: Adam Jones/Getty Images

There’s no better place to see the majestic beauty of fall than the Great Smoky Mountains.

The Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society is sponsoring a train excursion on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in North Carolina, on November 3, 2019. Tickets for this special ride go on sale on June 3 on the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and Museum website. The tickets typically sell out quickly, so mark your calendars.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Scenic Train
Bob Pool/Getty Images

The route follows along the former Southern Railway's “Murphy Branch Line,” established in 1891. While this excursion is not movie themed, these particular tracks have been made famous in films, including the famous train wreck scene in The Fugitive, as well as featured in movies like My Fellow Americans and Forces of Nature (starring Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck).

The entire trail, which takes you across some parts of the historic Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, has gorgeous mountain views, including vibrant forests, historic bridges, and rushing rivers including the Tuckasegee, Little Tennessee, and Nantahala, as well as Fontana Lake. If you’ve ever wondered why Dolly Parton sang about the Smoky Mountains so much, this is why.

Passengers may either drive themselves to Dillsboro, North Carolina for their departure or take tour buses from Johnson City, Tennessee (from the Liberty Bell Middle School) or the Asheville/Weaverville, North Carolina Walmart. If you do take a tour bus, you’ll be able to enjoy lunch at one of the many local restaurants, see local monuments, shop, and of course, pick up their tickets at the Dillsboro Town Hall. The Great Smoky Mountains train leaves Dillsboro at 1 p.m. local time. More information on the itinerary can be found on the website.

In addition to enjoying the mountain views, guests will also enjoy dinner aboard the train, with a choice of pulled pork Boston roast, fire-braised chicken salad, a veggie-lover salad, or pot roast. Concessions and box lunches are also available, and guests may bring their own, properly stored food.

Passengers may choose to ride in Coach, Crown or First Class, and all seating is within a restored vintage passenger train. Adult tickets range from $85 to $158 and kids tickets from $69 to $79.

And this isn't the only way to see the Smokies by rail. Get more info on available routes and schedules from the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.

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