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“Beats A Sharp Stick In The Eye!”

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Ranked #7 of 36 things to do in Bryson City
Certificate of Excellence
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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 April 13, 2008

Tuckasegee River-April
Please don't let the title scare you away from this excursion. This excursion does not portray itself to be a movie set or a staged facade . (although there is a movie set included for free) we will get to that further in the review.
Our ride began in the center of Dillsboro, NC. Arrive early to explore Dillsboro prior to departure.
I purchased our tix in advance in March and not knowing what the weather was going to be like in April, we chose the climate controlled cars instead of the open cars. $12.00 p/person upgrade.
We spent most of our ride in the open car because the weather was beautiful. So take your chances when booking in advance. :)

This rail system was a true freight line prior to it becoming obsolete then being taken over by the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad.
This excursion follows the tuckaseegee River on one side and the side of a mountain through portions of the ride, through winding fields, panaramic mountain views, over three bridges, and a tunnel that leaves you in total darkness for one full minute..

(This would be a good time to throw momma from the train lol)

You will pass the train and bus accident scene from the movie The Fugitive with Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. They have left the scene intact where it was filmed. One Take was all they got.

It may have been the timing of our trip but we had beautiful views from both sides of the train and some not so beautiful views of homeowners backyards. Most of the homeowners' did come out and wave to the passing train. This ride includes a 1.5 hour layover in the town of Bryson. A very nice little town worthy of exploring for more than the alotted time. The Depot again is situated in the center of town with all of the restaurants, ice cream shop, and real estate agents. Your ticket includes admission to the toy train museum..A must see for any age.

The conductor was very well spoken and VERY prompt (he sounds a lot like Hank Hill from King of the Hill)...you will want to pay verrrry close attention to your time in Bryson or you will walk 16 miles back to Dillsboro or camp out in Bryson for a week :) which didn't sound so bad.

Upon your arrival back in Dillsboro, they have rolled up the sidewalks near the depot except for the gift shop and the mercantile.

If you are in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge and have run out of things to do and need some relaxation. An approx. 30 mile drive over the mountain; which will take you about an hour. That drive in itself is awesome and breathtaking especially the curves into NC.

Let the pics speak for themselves.

8  Thank krdotson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,552 - 2,556 of 2,569 reviews

Reviewed March 9, 2008

I went last summer to the Great Smoky Mountain railroad with
my husband, father-in-law and my 10 yr. old daughter. My daughter
was ill before the trip. We attempted to get a refund, and the
management was not only rude, but refused, even though they
could see she was ill. My husband and father-in-law went on
the trip. They said they mostly saw trees, but very little scenic
view. I would not recommend this railroad to anyone. Try Cass
in WV, much better quality ride.

7  Thank slimzeeguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2007

I would definitey recommend doing this excursion at night! I could see where it would be a little more magical at night, when you can't see the majority of the scenery. Otherwise, you see one dilapidated trailer after another on a ride to the "North Pole" which is nothing more than a cluster of run down houses.

2  Thank 5tigerZs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2007

We booked this excursion about a month and a half in advance, and judging from the crowd, I'd suggest doing the same thing.

A short preface to explain the ride: This ride is based on the book and movie "The Polar Express". In the book, the main character is a young boy who is beginning to doubt about Santa. The Polar Express arrives at his house in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve and takes him and other children to the North Pole to meet Santa. Santa gives the boy a bell from his sleigh as a reminder.

We arrived in Bryson City, NC a couple hours early for our 8:00pm excursion. It was already dark and in the upper 30's. The area around the train depot is beautiful with Christmas lights everywhere. There were children everywhere dressed in their pajamas for the ride, just like the children in the book.

We walked around, had dinner, took a hundred pictures and finally boarded the train promptly at 8:00pm. Very soon, we were underway. The train travels for about a half hour while waiters bring out hot chocolate and chocolate/marshmellow treats for the kids. We came to an area that had lots of outside Christmas lights. The train slowed, most if the interior lights were turned out, and the theme music to the Polar Express movie was played. It was a nice touch. Soon we saw Santa on his sleigh outside. The waiters said that if we sing Jingle Bells really loud, he might come on the train for a visit. The kids screamed Jingle Bells and finally Santa boarded. He gave each child a Christmas bell, going from car to car. We were given Christmas song words and sang Christmas carols on the return trip. Santa came back by, signing books for those who had bought them, and having his picture taken with families.

The trip lasted about 90 minutes, maybe a little less, and the kids LOVED it. We'll always remember this. We HIGHLY recommend this excursion.

62  Thank BradMac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 17, 2007

This is a rewarding experiance sadly I got spoiled on my first tourist train experiance the White pass in Skagway Alaska number one so far. The one thing the Great Smokey Mountain railway offers is pampering. Go to the extra expence ride in the coach car they serve finger food free sodas champange on return trip you pay extra for alchol way to much. All first rate this car rocks you get a bit of the ritzy days of rail travel. This car is decorated with fine wood comfy couches and captains chairs I will even brag about the bathroom. I can not brag about the rest of the train I found it dingy the car where food was prepared for those in other areas reminded me more of a convience store a very unkept one at that. All in all if the tree line that lines the track where maintained well you could see the views you are paying for. Would I recomend this most without a doubt. Do I see room for vast improvment without a doubt. Could this one be world class yes with work. Would I say your trip to the smoky mountains would not be complete without taking this trip yes it would

2  Thank merlinvision
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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