For an extra special treat, take the Carolina Shine Moonshine Experience on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, departing in Bryson City. On this "shine and dine" rail excursion, ride in a renovated, swanky first class fleet car. Enjoy tastings of famous NASCAR legend Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon family of spirits, featuring Apple Pie, Blackberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Cranberry and Strawberry moonshine and take home a souvenir shot glass. And be served a delicious barbecue lunch with all the fixings.
2018 Moonshine Rides
- May 24-Sept 29: Thursday-Saturday 10:30 AM (plus Memorial Day Monday, July 4th and Labor Day Monday)
- October: Mon-Sat 9 AM & 2 PM, Sunday 2 PM
The Carolina Shine all-adult car rides along the regular Nantahala Gorge excursion. The 4.5-hour trip departs Bryson City and carries you 44 miles along the Nantahala River, Fontana Lake and plenty of scenic mountain views. Included is an one-hour layover at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC).
As you ride, read about the history of moonshining bootlegging in the North Carolina mountains on displays along the copper lined walls. You can also buy some special cocktails featuring the triple-distilled, Midnight Moon moonshine. Each jar is handcrafted and authentically infused with real fruit, the way moonshine was meant to be made.
Your lunch begins with sweet honey-butter cornbread topped with warm honey and butter drizzle. Your fresh pulled pork BBQ plate includes country sides and several sauces. During October for the 9 AM train, enjoy quiche or ham hash brown casserole. Your mason jar drinking glass is refillable with tea, coffee and soda during the entire trip. And don’t forget dessert: Moonshiners Mud Chocolate Pie! You'll even get a souvenir GSMR tote bag to remember the day.
Tickets: $99 for Adults (21+) May - September and $105 for Adults (21+) during the month of October. Steam trains are $110-$116/person. Smoky Mountain Trains Museum admission is included with all train excursion tickets. Fares subject to 7% historic preservation fee and 6.75% sales tax.
- The train runs no matter the weather! If you see rain in the forecast for your trip, you can reschedule at least 48 hours in advance for $6/ticket fee.
- Seats on the left side (facing the depot at station) of the train have the best views along the river.
- You should arrive at least 30 minutes before departure. Or arrive even earlier to explore downtown Bryson City a bit.
Directions: From downtown Asheville, it's 65 miles to the depot in Bryson City (for GPS, use 45 Mitchell St. Bryson City, NC for parking area). It's also convenient to stay in the Sylva or Cherokee areas.
Advance reservations highly recommended! For more information and tickets, visit their Web site.
Other Excursions: See our Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Guide for more train rides!