One of our favorite times of the year is almost here! We are eagerly anticipating the wonderful fall views of Western North Carolina’s majestic mountains filled with the dramatic hues of fiery sugar maples, buttery poplars, and crimson oaks. The cool, crisp autumn air is best experienced from one of our open-air gondolas or even better aboard the Nantahala, Our premium open-air car! Here at GSMR, we consistently strive to offer you the finest seating options, ensuring an memorable roundtrip journey that provides the ultimate viewing experience!

Look ahead for this year and plan to take in ALL the colors of autumn canvas masterpiece in 2023! Our popular general excursions will be operating daily!

Excursion Routes

Nantahala Gorge Excursion

This 4 ½ hour roundtrip westbound excursion carries you 44 miles to the
Nantahala Gorge and back again. Travel the Little Tennessee and Nantahala
Rivers across Fontana Lake and into the magic of the Nantahala Gorge. Onboard dining is available by selecting First Class Seating or by pre-purchasing one of our boxed lunch options, a unique moving dining experience! There is a one hour layover in the heart of the Nantahala Gorge, perfect for sightseeing by the river and just plain relaxing. A fantastic passenger train full of fall photo opportunities!

Tuckasegee River Excursion

The mountain countryside comes to life with new color on your way to small-town USA in western North Carolina. Departing from Bryson City, this
4-hour excursion travels 32 miles round-trip to Dillsboro and back again. Experience a ride through the famous man made Cowee Tunnel. Pass by the famous movie set of The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford! The trip includes an hour-and-a-half layover in the historic town of Dillsboro, where you’ll find unique shops, tasty restaurants, and plenty of space for relaxing. There is
time to shop, snack, and visit the many unique shops before returning to Bryson City.

Foliage Color Change Guide

Elevation, seasonal temperatures and weather conditions are biggest factors in our leaves changing colors. But every year is a little bit different, so check out this guide to help determine the time you’d like to visit the area and what colors you want to see most! 

“October is peak time to catch the stunning display. With picture windows and open-air cabins, passengers can get unobstructed views of breathtaking scenery with daily options available.”

Southern Living Magazine

Press on Fall in the Smokies at GSMR

Southern Living

A Great Smoky Mountains Train Ride Has the Best Views of Fall Color

The Travel

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad: What Makes This The Most Scenic Fall Train Ride


This Boozy Train Ride Through The Smoky Mountains Has Stunning Fall Views & It’s Adults-Only