Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, Bryson City, North Carolina
Thanks to its high elevations, the Smokies experience a pageant of Autumn foliage usually found only farther north. Colors are in brilliant array as the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad's half-day excursion to Nantahala Gorge unfolds. Tracing the Little Tennessee and Nantahala rivers and crossing Fontana Lake, spectacular Appalachian panoramas form a stunning backdrop.
The excursion's timetable makes time for lunch or exploring the Gorge with a one-hour layover. Open-air gondolas are a must for anyone able to shrug off Autumn's nip. A shorter Tuckasegee River round trip to Dillsboro is also a hit.