Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum offers thrilling Hiwassee River Scenic Railroad with scenic "Loop" track spiral and Copperhill day trip options
Hiwassee River Scenic Railroad from Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum trains operate from Delano, Tennessee, taking riders through the scenic Hiwassee River Gorge, through the Cherokee National Forest, and around the famous "Loop" which is a 360-degree track spiral. Two route choices depending on dates: "Loop" trips to Farner, and all-day rides to Copperhill, TN.
Explore the Scenic Hiwassee Loop by Train:
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 Scenic Railroads was formerly part of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad’s Atlanta Division stretching between Etowah, Tennessee, and Marietta, Georgia.
Hiwassee Loop trips are on Fridays and Sundays. Copperhill Special trips are on Saturdays.
NOTE: Pricing varies for Fall Premium dates (October – first two weeks of November)
Embark on a Journey Through Time with the Copperhill Special Train Ride:
Are you looking for a unique and unforgettable adventure? Join us on an 8-hour extended excursion along the lower Hiwassee River Gorge, the Hiwassee Loop, and the cities of Copperhill, Tennessee, and McCaysville, GA.
Our round trip covers a distance of 94 miles, giving you the opportunity to take in the stunning scenery and immerse yourself in the rich history of the area. Expert tour guides will bring the past to life, sharing captivating stories and fascinating facts about the region. You'll have 90 minutes for a lunch break before the return journey.
This is a rare opportunity to experience the thrill of traveling on a historic train, navigating the same routes as the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) Railroad's Atlanta Division. The departure is at 9:00 A.M. and you'll be back around 5:30 P.M. This is a journey that you won't want to miss.
Book your Copperhill Special Train Ride today and explore the breathtaking beauty of the lower Hiwassee River Gorge, the Hiwassee Loop, and the cities of Copperhill, Tennessee, and McCaysville, GA. The "Copperhill" route is the same as the "Loop" trip, but it takes you further to the former mining town of Copperhill through the Turtletown and Ducktown areas after you navigate the river gorge and the spiral near Farner. Don't miss this unique opportunity to step back in time!
Hiwassee Loop History
The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum's Hiwassee River Scenic Railroads take place on a stretch of railroad that was once part of the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) Railroad's Atlanta Division, running between Etowah, TN and Marietta, Georgia.
When the line was first built in 1890, it featured a series of switchbacks in the tracks to navigate the mountainous terrain. However, these proved to be inefficient, and the railroad soon sought a better solution. The decision was made to loop the tracks around Bald Mountain, creating one of only three points in the United States where railroad tracks loop over themselves to gain elevation in limited space, this loop was completed in 1898. This loop, coupled with a double “S” curve near Jasper, GA, earned the old line the nickname of the Hook and Eye Line.
In the early 1900s, the L&N obtained a new, more efficient right-of-way that bypassed the Hook and Eye Line. The Hook and Eye Line became the old line, but it was still used for mining operations in Copperhill, TN. When the mining business ceased in 2001, the railroad (now CSX Transportation) abandoned that portion of the tracks. In 2002, the Tennessee Overhill Heritage Association, a nonprofit organization, purchased the tracks for preservation, and the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum became the sole operator of historic passenger trains on the old Hook and Eye Line.
Passengers can enjoy views of the Hiwassee River, waterfalls, wildlife, mountains, and the ruins of historic settlements during the trip.
About Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum:
The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is a railway museum located in Chattanooga and Delano, Tennessee. It was established in 1961 to preserve and operate historic railway equipment for the education and enjoyment of future generations. The museum features a variety of vintage trains and railcars, including steam locomotives, diesel locomotives, passenger cars, and freight cars. Visitors can experience the history of rail travel through excursions, exhibits, and hands-on activities. The museum operates on a historic rail line, offering scenic rides through the Hiwassee Loop and providing a unique perspective on the region's history and culture. With its rich heritage, educational programs, and engaging events, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is a must-visit destination for railway enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
A great train excursion. Beautiful views of river, mountains, TVA power facilities and Hiawassee Loop. We rode in the observation car at the rear of the train. Conductor and staff very knowledgeable and provided almost continuous narration of history of the railroad and the surrounding area. A must for railfans and history buffs. A day long train ride and history lesson. Most enjoyable. Jeff - TripAdvisor
Great train ride copperhill Special! Great conductors ! Beautiful sites ! Lisa S. - Google Review
What a wonderful experience. We wanted to see the changing of the leaves and we were not disappointed. The scenery was like traveling through a Monet painting. The train trip was quite an adventure. We spotted a bald eagle that flew along beside the train for a short distance. The commentator was excellent. We heard all the history about the area and the building of the train tracks. Most of us brought picnic lunches since the trip was 5 1/2 hours long, round trip, non stop. The commissary car did sell limited food items and souvenirs. We had some musical entertainment about half way through the trip which was fun. I recommend this trip regardless of the time of year. The train company offers a variety of excursions with different themes, times and travel lengths. Put this one on your Bucket List for sure. Frances M - TripAdvisor
Did you know that when you purchase a ticket with the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, you are helping to preserve the history of railroads?
As a non-profit organization, it takes a lot of resources to restore and maintain our vintage trains and equipment. In fact, it can cost up to $1.5 million to completely rebuild a steam engine, which must be done every 15 years or sooner. Your support helps us to continue to share this important piece of history with the community. So not only are you enjoying a unique and memorable experience, you are also contributing to the preservation of railroad history.
Satursday - 9:00 a.m.
Eastern Time Zone
For the most up-to-date hours and information, please contact Hiwassee River Scenic Railroad directly.