9 Scenic Train Rides In Tennessee, USA

scenic train rides in tn
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Tennessee is the 36th largest and the 16th most populous of the 50 United States. We all know that Nashville has created and been home to many amazing musicians. Did you know that Tennessee also has fantastic original scenic train rides? Riding a scenic train through Tenessee is the perfect way to explore the local area. Some of the trains focus on showing you the beautiful parks and woodlands of the areas. Others will take you from city to city and show you the urban-side of Tenessee. Whichever you prefer, we think that all of these train rides are a great way to create special memories. You could even stay in one of the cabins with hot tubs before you take on one of the best train rides of your life. As you traverse the beautiful surrounding you’ll be able to see many trees and wildlife. If possible we would recommend going once during the spring and once during the winter months. You’ll be surprised by just how much the landscape can change. From crystal clear white snow-covered tree tips to blooms of colorful flowers, we know that you won’t be disappointed. Who knows, you might even spot one of the glamping spots in Tennessee during the ride. It’s also a great opportunity to create a unique Instagram photo, and we never want to miss that opportunity. So, let’s not wait any longer and instead dive straight into exploring the top scenic train rides in Tennessee, USA.

1. TN Wine Train

The TN Wine Train in Tennessee offers a unique and immersive experience for wine enthusiasts and travelers alike. Operating in various regions such as Chattanooga and Nashville, two of the best places to visit in Tennessee, this scenic train journey combines the charm of vintage rail travel with the pleasures of wine tasting.

As you journey through picturesque landscapes, passengers have the opportunity to savor a selection of local wines, each thoughtfully paired with gourmet cuisine. The train’s elegant interiors and panoramic windows provide a comfortable setting to enjoy the rolling countryside while sipping on fine wines. With knowledgeable guides sharing insights about the region’s winemaking history and the landscapes passing by, the TN Wine Train offers a blend of education, relaxation, and indulgence.

TN Wine Train

Address: 4119 Cromwell Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37421

Website: TN Wine Train

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2. Missionary Ridge Local Ride

Missionary Ridge Local Ride offers a nostalgic and scenic journey that harks back to the golden age of rail travel. Departing from Chattanooga, this heritage train ride takes passengers on a captivating expedition through the historic Missionary Ridge route. The experience is steeped in history as it traverses the same tracks that played a significant role during the Civil War’s Battle of Missionary Ridge.

Passengers can relish the vintage ambiance of restored rail cars while enjoying the breathtaking views of Chattanooga’s lush landscapes and the surrounding mountains. The informative narration provided onboard imparts insights into the region’s past and the role of the railway in shaping its history.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply seeking a leisurely ride with a touch of nostalgia, Missionary Ridge Local Ride offers an enchanting escape into Tennessee’s rich heritage and natural beauty.

Missionary Ridge Local Ride

Address: 4119 Cromwell Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37421

Website: Missionary Ridge Local Ride

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3. Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

Southern 4501 at Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, October 4, 2014
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user JKlear used under CC0

There are several special and unique train rides which all begin at the Grand Junction Station. The route will take you along the original railroad line and through an interactive historical experience, you’ll step back in time. You’ll cross over four bridges as you gaze across the countryside, Some of the railroad experiences are short while others may take six hours or more.

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

Website: Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

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4. Music City Star

Music City Star
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Reading Tom used under CC BY 2.0

The Music City Star offers a great way to explore additional local towns and cities. The train is inexpensive and runs every weekday. The track itself is 32 miles (51 km) long. There are six stations along the route - Riverfront, Donelson, Hermitage, Mt. Juliet, Martha and Lebanon. The most popular station is Riverfront but, we think, that the most scenic is Mt Juliet. Known as the ‘city between two lakes’ you’ll soon see why.

Music City Star

Website: Music City Star

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5. Tennessee Central Railway Museum

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Tennessee Central Railway Museum on Thursday, July 1, 2021

These special trips offer a wonderful way to see Tennessee. As a moving museum, history is brought to life for all guests. There are lots of different train journeys that you can choose from. Sitting inside a traditional passenger train, you’ll enjoy the passing Tennessee countryside. We particularly like the trips during fall on this train ride in Tennessee, as you can see the colors of the leaves changing.

Ride ‘Railroadings Golden Age’ aboard the Tennessee Valley Railroad’s restored vintage trains. It’s a trip into history on a rolling time machine! Missionary Ridge Local trains run daily from mid-March through October and on weekends only in November. Additional services offered throughout the year include Chickamauga Turn trains to Chickamauga, Georgia on summer weekends, Dixie Land Special excursions into northwest Georgia, and North Pole Limited trains during the holidays. Grand Junction Station is located near I-75 at Highway 153 North at Exit 4. All Aboard for a family adventure in Chattanooga!

Tennessee Central Railway Museum

Website: Tennessee Central Railway Museum

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6. Three Rivers Ramble

three rivers rambler
Source: Photo by Flickr user Joel Kramer used under CC BY 2.0

Grab a ticket and hop onboard The Three Rivers Rambler (3RR). Get your camera ready and you’ll go past the unique sights of Knoxville. With scenic farmlands, historically important grounds, and the meandering river you’ll be snap-happy from the start of the journey. Alongside the countryside sights, you will also be able to see a number of important landmarks such as Neyland Stadium, Thompson-Boling Arena, the 3RR Steam Engine House and a number of trestles.

Three Rivers Ramble

Website: Three Rivers Ramble

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7. Hiwassee River Rail Adventure

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Hiwassee River Rail Adventure on Thursday, August 8, 2019

There are two main routes on the Hiwassee River Rail Adventure. Both start at the newly rebuilt L&N Depot & Museum in Etowah and travel along the pretty meandering river. The first route is the Loop Trip which, at its highlight takes in a 62-foot (18-meter) bridge above the railway tracks which you can see from below. It is a great photo opportunity as it is a scenic railroad in Tennessee!

The second is the Copperhill Special Trip which continues onto Farner, Turtletown, and Ducktown to name just a few stops. This is a great option for those of you who are looking to explore a little further afield and discover other small towns and villages.

Hiwassee River Rail Adventure

Website: Hiwassee River Rail Adventure

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8. Lookout Mountain Incline Railway

Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, above Chattanooga
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user The old perfesser used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Boasting amazing views from the top, we can see why this incline railway has become so popular. This particular funicular is over 100 years old and covers one mile (1.6 km) of hilly terrain. The 72.7% incline will provide you with the perfect view across the mountains and valleys from Lookout Mountain. At the top, there are many small eateries, shops and an observation tower so you can relax before repeating the same ride down. Make sure to have your camera ready for that perfect Insta-shot. This route is best enjoyed on a sunny day where you will be blessed with views over the horizon.

Lookout Mountain Incline Railway

Website: Lookout Mountain Incline Railway

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9. Dollywood Express Train

DollyWood Express 2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Edward C. Denny used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Featuring an original coal-fired steam engine, this train ride in Tennessee allows you to enjoy a fantastic 20-minute railway trip. We think that for many people, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel on such a unique train. Throughout the 20 minutes, you’ll traverse 5 miles (8 km) through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. The times for the trains change often so we would recommend checking the website before you plan your trip.

Embarking on a short ride on this express train is certainly one of the pleasant things to do in Tennessee for families and is a perfect recreation for children.

Dollywood Express Train

Website: Dollywood Express Train

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Create memorable moments on these amazing trains

DollyWood Express 3
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Edward C. Denny used under CC BY-SA 3.0

From all of these train excursions in Tennessee, we’re sure that you’ll find your perfect trip. Whether you are looking for a short ride to enjoy some of the natural sites in the area or are looking for a romantic getaway to explore further afield, our list covers everything. Due to the route and the weather, the times of the trains may vary so please check online for full details. Remember to tag us in your photos if you do choose one of these special routes. You’ll create fantastic photos and we would love to share these memories with you.

Frequently asked questions about the top scenic train rides in Tennessee, USA

  • Which train rides are suitable for families in Tennessee?

    For a fun day out with the kids, be sure to check out these train rides ideal for an enriching time with the entire family: i) Tennessee Central Railway Museum, ii) Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, iii) Music City Star, and iv) Dollywood Express Train.

  • Which are some of the historic train rides in Tennessee?

    Apart from sweeping vistas, you’ll also immerse in insightful history and chronicles when you take these train rides: i) Missionary Ridge Local Ride, ii) Three Rivers Ramble, iii) Hiwassee River Rail Adventure, and iv) Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Katie is a committed full-time global wanderer and volunteer. She possesses an unerring compass that guides her to the obscure and distant corners of the Earth, where she explores jungles,...Read more

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