Day Trip: Polar Express, Great Smoky Mountains


A popular holiday book (and movie- Tom Hanks fans) by Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express tells the story of a magical train ride on Christmas Eve, taking a young boy to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa himself. The story comes to real life when families board the board The Polar Express for a journey over the river and through the woods to the North Pole (or…through the Great Smoky Mountains). 

The 1 hour 10 min round-trip excursion is set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack; guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while reading along with the magical story.

Upon arrival at the “North Pole” (ahem), the good little boys and girls will be beside themselves when the man himself—the one, the only, Santa Claus—boards the train, greeting each and every child and presenting them with their own special gift: a silver sleigh bell. If all of that doesn’t put you in the holiday spirit, then singing Christmas carols all the way back to Bryson City should do the trick. (And if it doesn’t, you should probably get that three-sizes-too-small heart checked out.)

The Polar Express begins November 10 and operates through December 31. On most days, trips begin at 5:00, 6:40, and 8:20pm, with additional daytime trips most weekends in December.  All departures are from the Bryson City Depot in Bryson City, NC.  Purchase tickets EARLY in the season to snag the best dates, times and seats on the train (at the time of writing this, the Saturday before Christmas is already sold out but there are still plenty of seats to see the magic of Christmas come to life!) 

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Bryson City, NC