Fall Foliage

We are eagerly awaiting the mountains of Western NC’s impressive display the dramatic scenery of fiery sugar maples, buttery poplars and crimson oaks. The cool crisp air of fall is perfect in one of our Open Air Gondolas or one of our First Class Cars. The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad always strives to provide you with the best seat in the house with an exciting roundtrip ride!

Look ahead and BOOK AHEAD for this year and plan to take in ALL the colors of autumn canvas masterpiece in 2021! Our popular general excursions will be operating daily with additional trips added for all 5 weekends of October!

Our Premier Fall Foliage Excursion : The Nantahala Gorge Excursion

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!  2021 Nantahala Gorge Excursion Trip Departure Times



Our Mountain Town Fall Excursion : The 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.  2021 Tuckasegee River Excursion Trip Departure Times