Update: The Moonshine Experience train is running all through the Fall for 2023

Moonshine: it’s that notoriously illicit drink derived from unaged whiskey marked by its clear color and outrageously high alcohol content. But these days, moonshine remains a cornerstone of southern culture and has even blossomed into an expertly distilled, craft industry.

Sticking true to this legacy, Great Smoky Mountain Railroad (GSMR) is offering a Carolina Shine Moonshine Experience. According to the company’s website, guests will “learn about the proud tradition that the Appalachians established when bootlegging was an acceptable way of life.” Departing from Bryson City, N.C., the four-and-a-half hour excursion is a dedicated train ride along the stunning Nantahala Gorge, historic bridges, and lakes of the Appalachian mountains.

Carolina Shine Moonshine Experience
Credit: Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

The all-adult experience offers a selection of Moonshine samples with classic flavors like Apple Pie, Blackberry, Cherry, and Peach. Additional Moonshine-infused cocktails are available for purchase including Copper Cola and Moonshiner’s Mimosa. Everything is locally crafted in North Carolina, made with real fruit in a nod to the bootleggers of the past.

To honor the Southern culture aboard the First Class ride, guests can also enjoy a variety of meals from a Cajun seasoned Pulled Pork BBQ sandwich to Cheesy Shrimp & Grits. Meals and tastings are included in the ticket ($114 for a Diesel ride and $126 for a steam engine during the month of October). Tickets are available for purchase online or at the depot when you arrive all month long.

If Moonshine just isn’t your thing, GSMR also offers a Wine Excursion along the same scenic route.