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Smoky Mountain Rail Adventure

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9 days From $3,495 per person
5.0 stars(2 reviews)
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Whether amidst the vibrant greenery and blossoms of spring or the rich, warm hues of fall, explore the finest destinations in Tennessee and the Smoky Mountains.

Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager

Mobility Rating 2

2024 Tour code: SMA24

About the tour

Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains: A region of scenic landscapes and iconic cities, and incredible sites that enrich the mind and the soul. During our time here, you will visit legendary sites, some of Tennessee and North Carolina's most beloved cities and one of the most grandiose homes in the country. Your journey begins in Music City, U.S.A - Nashville, TN - where incredible musical history comes to life. Moving onto Chattanooga, enjoy time in the city and out in the vast wilderness, as you embark on the first of several steam train rides throughout the mountainous landscape. From Chattanooga, Pigeon Forge awaits your exploration. Your days here are spent surrounded by the beauty of nature, with a steam train ride along the Nantahala River and a half-day tour through Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The tour presses on as you arrive in Asheville, NC. With a tour of the Biltmore Estate and free time to peruse the shops, art galleries and unique eateries throughout the town, your tour is sure to end with just as much excitement as it began.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive Nashville

Arrive in Nashville and transfer independently to your hotel. After check-in, the remainder of the day is free to get acquainted with this vibrant city. Overnight Nashville, TN.

Day 2 - Nashville/Grand Ole’ Opry

Some of the most intriguing locales in Nashville lie ahead this morning, as you embark on a guided tour of the city. Enjoy glimpses at sites such the Historic Downtown District, Riverfront Park and "Honky Tonk Row," and learn little-known facts from your local guide. Following your tour, spend the afternoon sightseeing on your own before meeting with the group for dinner. This evening we visit the world renowned Grand Ole' Opry for a backstage tour of this country music gem followed by a performance. Overnight Nashville, TN.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - RCA Studio B & Country Music Hall of Fame/Chattanooga

Follow in the footsteps of some of the world's greatest recording artists with a tour of RCA Studio B this morning - Nashville's oldest remaining recording studio. Immerse yourself in the sounds of history as you hear the stories of some of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century. Elvis, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison and Waylon Jennings are just of few of the many artists who recorded some of their top hit songs here and we see the studios where this amazing history was recorded. Next, we visit the Country Music Hall of Fame. This iconic museum is filled with exhibits highlighting artists and musicians, both new and old, which helped to put Nashville on the map. Following lunch at leisure we continue onto Chattanooga, our base for the next two nights. Overnight Chattanooga, TN. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Tennessee Valley Railroad

Set out into the lush mountainous landscape of southern Tennessee aboard the Tennessee Valley Railroad. This railway was constructed in 1898 to ease the journey between Georgia and Tennessee, and the resulting line is a marvel of engineering. Settle into your seat for a five-hour round-trip journey through the famous Hiwassee Loop on the line's most interesting stretch. This loop is one of only six of its kind in North America and the only one east of the Mississippi. Marvel at the forested mountains and stunning scenery as the tracks cross over themselves and wind up the mountain. You are returned to Chattanooga by coach following your excursion, with the remainder of the afternoon at leisure to enjoy the local amenities. After a long day of train travel, perhaps walk along the riverfront or pop in some of the Bluff View Art District galleries. Overnight Chattanooga, TN. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 - Incline Railway/Pigeon Forge

Look out over Civil War sites, picturesque forest scenery and more from the Incline Railway on Lookout Mountain this morning. This century-old funicular railway offers a leisurely 1-mile ride to the summit, as well as stunning views along the way from large, panoramic windows. Once at the top, enjoy breathtaking views from the observation deck, or shop at the gift shop. This afternoon, our motorcoach takes us on an easterly journey through the state to Pigeon Forge. You have the remainder of the day to explore the sites of this mountain town upon arrival. Overnight Pigeon Forge, TN.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 6 - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Ready yourself for stunning mountains and the serenity of nature as we embark on a half-day tour through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo opportunities are bountiful as the tour winds through the park. Enjoy a look at the Rockefeller Memorial at Newfound Gap, and keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife. The remainder of day is at leisure in Pigeon Forge. Overnight Pigeon Forge, TN.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 7 - Great Smoky Mountains Railroad/Asheville

Railway adventures beckon as you board the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad for a 4 1/2-hour round-trip journey from Bryson City. Enjoy scenic vistas from the comfort of fully restored rail cars as the train ventures toward the Nantahala Gorge. Each moment of the 44-mile route is steeped in beauty as you pass through charming mountain towns, cross Fontana Lake on the historic Fontana Trestle Bridge, and traverse serene mountain landscapes. Enjoy an hour-long layover at the Gorge to wander along the river or sightsee at leisure, then settle back into your seat for a second viewing of North Carolina's incredible vistas. As the train arrives back in Bryson City, enjoy downtown's quaint charms at your own pace before boarding your motorcoach bound for Asheville. Overnight Asheville, NC.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 8 - Biltmore Estate/Asheville

This morning visit America's largest home, the Biltmore Estate. The family home of George and Edith Vanderbilt, this estate covers more than 8,000 acres in beautiful Asheville. Your tour of the property includes a look at the stunning home, complete with 16th century decor, a library with over 10,000 books and original art by Renoir. We also have a chance to explore the gardens, winery and equestrian center - all of which are located on the grounds of the estate. While at the Biltmore Estate, join your Tour Manager and fellow travelers for a Farewell Lunch. This remainder of the day is at leisure to enjoy the endless offerings of vibrant Asheville. World-class restaurants meet funky art galleries, stunning architecture meets the simple beauty of nature, and your opportunities are endless. Overnight Asheville, NC.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 9 - Tour Conclusion

Your tour concludes today as you are transferred to Asheville's Airport for your return flight home. Included group transfer accommodates flights departing after 10:30 a.m.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Asheville - Biltmore

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Asheville - Biltmore

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Courtyard Chattanooga Downtown

Courtyard Chattanooga Downtown

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Dollywood's DreamMore Resort, Pigeon Forge

Dollywood's DreamMore Resort, Pigeon Forge

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Hyatt Place Nashville Downtown, Nashville

Hyatt Place Nashville Downtown, Nashville

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Trains

Great Smoky Mountain Railroad
Lookout Mountain Incline Railway
Tennessee Valley Railroad

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Reviews

5.0 stars5.0 / 5 · 2 reviews

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John Bielot

5 stars

Submitted 16 May 2024

What an amazing trip! The train rides were super. Our tour guide, Ed, was very knowledgeable and helpful. Our bus driver, Vic, was beyond words - I don't know how he drove that bus on some of the streets, especially in Nashville. The included meals were fine. I really liked the location of the Nashville hotel as it was within walking distance to many restaurants and museums. Dollywood's Dream More Resort was beyond words! The Biltmore Mansion is a sight to see; I've been to the Newport mansions ("summer cottages") many times, and they are very tiny compared to the Biltmore. I would highly recommend a Vacations by Rail trip, and plan to do one again, hopefully next year.

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customer

5 stars

Submitted 13 May 2024

Lovely excursion through the Tennessee Valley! Our Tour Guide Ed S. was excellent, thoughtful, professional and committed to our comfort and knowledge of the areas we visited. Nashville was busy and so exciting! The back stage tour of the Grand Ole Opry and the show, visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame, visit of Studio B were favorites. In Chattanooga we walked the river front and although we were rained out of our Lookout Mtn was rained out, Ed arranged a visit to Ruby Falls! Great guy! Our train ride along the Hiawassee River and the history and information about the trains was great. Dolly's Dream More Resort, the tour of the Biltmore Estate and our Great Smoky Mountain Rail tour at Bryson City were amazing and just lovely! The weather was beautiful as was the scenery. Our coach driver Vic R. is safe, skilled and considerate. We can't say enough about how relaxing and comfortable this tour was for us. We have wonderful memories and beautiful photos to remember this tour.

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