All Aboard! Chug along with Thomas, Charlie Brown and Santa in Dillsboro NC (magical Great Smoky Mountains train rides near Franklin)

While you’re trying your luck rock hunting and gold panning at the ruby and sapphire gem mines around Franklin why not stop in Dillsboro and reward your loved ones with some fun-packed train rides on the romantic Great Smoky Mountains Railroad?

Scenic Tuckasegee River Excursion – departs daily from Dillsboro at 1 PM. Here is the custom Google Map with the Depot and some of the gem mines
See the remnants of the colossal train wreck scene from “The Fugitive” and experience complete darkness through the historic 836-foot Cowee Tunnel, dug by hand with only pickaxes and shovels. Lose your gaze in the blue Lake Fontana waters stemming from a 480-foot dam built in the 1940s where scores of settlers and Native Americans, such as the Cherokee martyr Tsali, are buried beneath the lake. Hold your breath as you pass over the rugged Nantahala Gorge the “Land of the Noonday Sun” and finally enjoy a one hour layover at the Nantahala River Depot, home to NOC, a famous water sports and recreation adventure extravaganza.

Train model at Dillsboro Depot

Train Ride Prices and Seating
Coach or Open Car seating: July through December (except October): adults $49, children (2-12) $29. October: adults $53, children $31. Upgrade seating to Crown Coach (air conditioned) or Club Car it’s available for extra $12 and $20 respectively. See website for details.

There is an extra $4 parking fee and $6 cancellation fee per seat with advanced notice (no refund is allowed within 24 hour of departure).

Food: $9 deli-style sandwiches or $8.50 hot dog combos (chips, cookie, and beverage in a souvenir cup).Child servings available for about $3 less.

Fun Themed Train Rides Just for Kids – Tip! book online 7 days in advance to get more discounts and even free tickets!
July 31 – August 3 – A 25 minutes ride on Thomas the Tank Train. Meet Sir Topham Hat, have fun building with Lego, listen to live music and stories. Train departs from Dillsboro every 45 minutes from 9 AM till 3:15 PM Thu and Fri (4 PM Sat and Sun). Tickets: Tickets: $18 per person ages 2 years and up (includes parking and shuttle).

October weekends 10-12, 17-19 and 24-26 – Trick or treat with Charlie Brown, Lucy and Snoopy on the Peanuts The Great Pumpkin Patch. Select your own pumpkin and enjoy hayrides, storytelling, a bouncy house, petting zoo and much more. Departs Dillsboro at 3:30 PM on Fri and 1:30 PM and 5 PM Sat and Sun. Tickets: $53 adult, $31 children over 2. Ticket sales are final; rides are on rain or shine.

November 9 – December 23 – Experience the magic of The Polar Express, meet Santa and treat yourself to hot cocoa and special treats. Kids are encouraged to wear pajamas. Departs Bryson City. Tickets $38 adults, $26 children over 2. The Polar Express Dining Trains adds a 3 course meal on-board and departs from Dillsboro. Tickets $61 adults, $36 Children over 2 and $13 children under 2 (no meal).

For reservations call (800)-872-4681 enter code A2 or go online.

As you wait for the train ride to start have a laugh watching the cute train model layout based on Thomas the Tank Engine characters.

Choo, Choo!

6 Responses

  1. Do you still have the Mystery Train ride? If so, what is price and date?

  2. Looking at their website ( it doesn’t seem they still run the mystery theatre rides. That page looks empty:

    and the calendar page doesn’t list any either (

    Call 1-800-872-4681 to be sure.


  3. I was wondering what all is included with the Charlie Brown train ride since it is considerably higher than Thomas and Polar Express.

  4. Charlie Brown Pumpkin patch includes live music and kids fair like entertainment:
    -hay rides and maze
    -select your own pumpkin
    -petting zoo
    -bouncing house, trick or treat

    If you look at the Polar Express is $38 regular adults yet if you add 3 course meal Dining it goes up to $61.

    I suggest to call GMSR company and get exact details, 1-800-872-4681


  5. Hi – is there no Thomas the Train ride around Thanksgiving time? Does the Dillsboro Depot close the weekend of Thanksgiving?

  6. Thomas was a special event excursion end of July and early August.

    Dillsboro Depot is open the Thanksgiving week, but NOT on Thanksgiving Day. Based on the brochure I got in June looks like you may have 2 rides options

    1. Tuckasegee River fare on Friday and Saturday departing at 10:30 AM

    2. The Polar Express with Dining special event fare ($61 adult, $36 child) every day except Nov 24 and Nov 27 (Thanksgiving Day). Departs 7:15 PM during the week and also at 4:15 PM on Fri, Sat and Sun.

    NOTE! The Polar Express Dining does not show up on the GSMR’s calendar web page. Maybe they pulled it off.

    Please CALL the company 1-800-872-4681 to confirm.


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