Hiwassee River Rail Adventure


Ride with us on the historic Hiwassee River Rail Adventure scenic rail excursion through the unspoiled Cherokee National Forest, along the beautiful and scenic Hiwassee River, and through the secluded Hiwassee River Gorge. All trips include riding around an engineering marvel: The Great Hiwassee Loop. At the top you'll be passing over a bridge 62 feet above the tracks on which you've just traveled, as the rails negotiate a spiraling formation.

The Loop track has been known by many names, Great Hiwassee Loop and Bald Mountain Loop to name a few, but you'll call it amazing! All trips begin at the restored L&N Depot & Museum in Etowah, Tennessee. Passengers take a short shuttle ride to the train boarding location before transferring to the train. Once on board, the trip begins with a ride along the river until crossing in Reliance. Thus begins the circuitous route nestled between hillsides and the scenic river. 

In warm weather you’ll enjoy waving at recreationalists riding in canoes, kayaks, rafts, and tubes as they drift with the current. When autumn arrives, the forest bursts forth in orange, yellow, and red hues. To round out the seasons, as the leaves fall from trees, the scenic vistas are opened up allowing views of the surrounding country as well as a glimpse of Apalachia Dam which is situated just across the North Carolina border.

For those riders choosing a trip to Copperhill, the route continues beyond Farner, through Turtletown and Ducktown to the border towns of Copperhill, Tennessee and McCaysville, Georgia. Aboard the Hiwassee River Rail Adventure, you’ll enjoy traveling on one of the Southeast’s most scenic railroads. Trips are scheduled March through November. For more information on the Hiwassee River Rail Adventure call the Historic Etowah L&N Depot at (423) 263-7840

HRRA Fall Colors 2016
Train 111607 047
engine under loop

Hiwassee Loop

Enjoy a 50-mile round trip up the beautiful lower Hiwassee River gorge. This 3-1/2 hour trip will take you to the top of the famous "Hiwassee Loop" where the tracks cross over themselves as they corkscrew up the mountain near Farner, Tennessee. 

Shuttle buses depart from Etowah at 1:30 PM. (A few dates include an early trip on which shuttle buses will depart Etowah at 9:15 AM and 1:30 PM.) Ticket prices vary by season and date. Coach Seats are $40 adult and $30 children age 3-12. The Family 4-Pack is $99. Children under 3 ride free if not occupying a seat. Prices are slightly higher during the peak Autumn season. All trains run rain or shine. 

Ticket sales are final.


Call today to Book your Excursion



You can also purchase tickets at the L & N Depot or by calling 423-263-7840

Copperhill Special  - 710

Take an extended day-trip excursion through the lower Hiwassee River Gorge, over the Hiwassee Loop, and on to the joint cities of Copperhill, TN, and McCaysville, GA. Total 94 miles roundtrip. Have lunch on your own during the layover before returning to Etowah. Departure time is 9:15am and return is generally around 5:45pm.

The "Copperhill" route is the same as for “Loop” trips, but after traversing the river gorge and negotiating the spiral near Farner, the train continues a longer distance through Turtletown and Ducktown to the former mining town of Copperhill.  

Ticket prices vary by season and date please call for exact dates and ticket costs

Additional Information 

    • Snack items are available for sale on the train including: soft drinks, coffee, water, chips, crackers, and candy bars.
    • Souvenirs are sold onboard including: t-shirts, caps, and books.
    • Restrooms are located on each train car.
    • Trains consist of enclosed, climate-controlled coaches pulled by a vintage diesel locomotive.
    • All seating is general admission onto the train.