Choo choo! The nostalgic sound of a train rings a bell in most of us. In North Georgia, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway (BRSR) runs March – December and offers the chance to take a ride through a national forest, alongside a rushing river, and past Appalachian foothills in the Blue Ridge Mountains. At Georgia Cabins for YOU, we’re all about making memories, and a Blue Ridge train ride is a great way to spend quality time with your partner, the whole family, or a bunch of friends — and take in stunning views along the way.
A Brief History
With a rich history dating back to the early 1900s, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway was once simply a means of transportation of goods and people. This heritage railroad was built in 1905 and carried on its work for decades. In 1990, Blue Ridge citizens saw the value in the forgotten railroad and began a restoration project that resulted in the scenic railway we know and love today.
Opening for business in 1998, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway served 17,000 passengers, eventually beckoning 78,000 as the years went on. Patriot Rail purchased the scenic railway in 2015 and continues to uphold Blue Ridge tradition to this day, keeping the authentic vintage cars and promoting family-friendly train rides for all ages.
The Train Ride
Your scenic train journey begins at the historic depot nestled in downtown Blue Ridge. Choose to ride in an open-air car (our personal favorite) or an indoor car. There’s even a premier option with reclinable seats! Once seated, the train follows the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway along the beautiful Toccoa River (known as the Ocoee River in Tennessee) and through the Chattahoochee National Forest, where you can spot wildlife and gorgeous scenery.
After 1 hour, you’ll reach McCaysville, GA, and Copperhill, TN — sister mountain towns tucked away in the beautiful Appalachian foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There is a 2-hour layover here so you can stretch your legs, go shopping, grab a bite to eat, and snap a photo with one foot in Georgia and your other foot in Tennessee on the blue state line.
After exploring the area, you’ll board the train and head back to the train station in Blue Ridge. The return trip lasts about 1 hour through a picturesque forest. It’s a great opportunity to check out the concession car that offers snacks, like popcorn, pretzels, candy, and soda.
In total, you’ll travel 26 miles roundtrip across 4 hours, including the 2-hour layover in McCaysville and Copperhill. Before heading back to your North Georgia cabin rental, stop by the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway gift shop for a souvenir, like a conductor hat or t-shirt. You can also purchase souvenirs at their McCaysville gift shop during the layover.
Offered Train Rides
- Seasonal — vibrant spring, lush summer, fall foliage & winter views
- Express — 2-hour ride with no layover
- Firework Special — fireworks during the layover for 4th of July
- Holiday Express — 1-hour ride with hot chocolate, festive music, and a reading of The Night Before Christmas + kids get an activity packet, jingle bell, and candy cane!
- Holiday Pavilion — decorated pavilion to enjoy during layover + everything offered on the Holiday Express
Reservations are encouraged to secure your spot with Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. You can pick up prepaid Blue Ridge train tickets at the ticket window up to 2 hours before departure. Or you can purchase tickets at the ticket office, open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m (EST). Parking is $5 around the depot, with handicap spots available.
Open-air, Indoor, or Premier
Along with open-air rail cars and indoor cars that offer enough comfort to enjoy the ride, you’ll have the option to book premier class — only offered to those 18+ to provide a quieter ride just for adults. As mentioned, premier seating offers reclinable seats plus a small fresh meal (delivered every morning), sweet treats, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, 1 canvas tote bag, and a complimentary group photo. Wheelchair seating is also available. Keep in mind prices vary by the train ride selected.
- Open-air/indoor cars — $38-59
- Premier class — $80-92
Discounts & Gift Certificates
For most rides, Blue Ridge Scenic Railway offers discount tickets for seniors, military, first responders, teachers, and children 2-12 years old. Group discounts are also available for 15+ people. Keep in mind prices vary by the train ride and discount selected.
- Discounted open-air/indoor cars — $23-41
- Discounted premier class — $76-87
For gift certificates or season passes, call the ticket office at 877.413.8724. Keep in mind gift certificates and season passes can only be used for regularly scheduled rides and cannot be used for charter/holiday trains.
Boarding starts 45 minutes before departure, so you should arrive at least 1 hour before your train is scheduled to leave. Keep in mind they won’t hold the train if you’re late, so be sure to double-check your departure time.
There are no assigned seats, but you will be assigned to a train car. If you want to sit together with your group, arriving early is your best bet. On your return trip, all passengers must change sides so everyone gets equal opportunities to check out the views.
Service animals are allowed to board, but no pets are allowed. Smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages are prohibited. And you’re encouraged to wear closed-toe shoes, so no heels or flip-flops.
More questions? Check out their FAQ.
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
241 Depot Street
Blue Ridge, GA 30513
Where to Stay
When you’re ready to plan your Blue Ridge getaway, opt for Georgia Cabins for YOU. We are growing every day with more vacation rental options for YOU and even have a cabin right on the Toccoa River! Families and friends will enjoy spending quality time together at a log cabin in Blue Ridge or nearby Ellijay in the North Georgia Mountains.
You can soak in the steamy hot tub, chat by the fireplace, sip coffee overlooking the river, shoot pool, cook out on the grill, and watch movies on a big screen TV. Plus, you’ll be near downtown attractions, shops, and restaurants, where you can take in the local scene. Plan your memorable cabin stay with Georgia Cabins for YOU online or at 1.800.580.5524 today.
Wake up to river views at your log cabin, venture to the train depot, and hop aboard the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway for a memorable time in the Blue Ridge Mountains!