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

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Hiwassee Loop

Enjoy a 50-mile roundtrip through the beautiful lower Hiwassee River gorge. This 5-hour round trip takes you to the top of the famous Hiwassee Loop, where the tracks cross over themselves as they corkscrew up the mountain near Farner, Tennessee. There are only 6 of these loops in North America and this is the only one ever East of the Mississippi River. There is no layover on this excursion so you will be on the train for the duration of the trip.

The railroad over which Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum trains travel on its Hiwassee River Rail Adventures was formerly part of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad’s Atlanta Division stretching between Etowah, Tennessee, and Marietta, Georgia.

Book a Hiwassee Loop Trip

Copperhill Special

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.

Book a Copperhill Special Trip


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