If your family is looking for a unique holiday experience and day trip, especially for smaller children, here is why a trip on the Jingle Bell Trolley on the Craggy Mountain Rail Line is a fun and memorable option.
Media tickets were given for this review but the opinion of the experience is solely that of the author.
I stumbled across the Craggy Mountain Railroad when looking for holiday things to do that I haven’t tried and the second I saw it, I knew the Jingle Bell Trolley ride would be something my kids would go crazy for. And they did. But there is more to this little railroad than initially meets the eye.
This review was written during the 2019 season and well, COVID happened since then so things have changed. We’ve updated the piece to include what the railroad is doing for 2022.
Craggy Mountain Line
The Craggy Mountain Line is actually a non-profit that encompasses a little more than three miles of the railroad of the same name, a historic stretch in Buncombe County, North Carolina, right outside of Asheville. The non-profit does track rehabilitation and restores equipment to operating conditions. The small area where the trolley operates is a little train village that is inviting, cozy, and oh-so-cute.
The Jingle Bell Trolley is one of the many rides the Craggy Mountain Line operates throughout the year. In the fall, they deck out the trolley cars with hay for a hayride down the tracks. In July, they have a Military Appreciation Ride. And in the summer and into early fall, they have Dino Day Jurassic Park rides, which are wildly popular.
Jingle Bell Trolley – What to Expect
The Jingle Bell Trolley is decked out with garland, lanterns, and jingle bells. It is open-air so be sure to dress warmly and wear hats, gloves, and maybe bring a small blanket. The trolley doesn’t go very fast at all but it’s better to be prepared.
The ride is a seven-mile round trip journey through the old wooded railroad line where you’ll stop once you find Santa’s lost jingle bells. The conductor hands out little jingle bells to all the kids and then you ride back to the station.
We went at night so the train cars lit up were so beautiful and festive. I can only imagine how it would all look during a snowfall – magical and enchanting to say the least.
Back at the train village, guests can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus in a train car that has more garland and lights than most homes I’ve seen decorated for the holidays. Kids will get little gifts.
Next, head to the train car across the way where more festivities await, namely delicious hot chocolate and cookies. This could have been my kids’ favorite part of the whole experience.
There is also another train car that is painted in red that has a Christmas movie playing and small trains for sale.
There is a bathroom on site that kids should certainly use before getting on the trolley, which is bathroom-less. While the bathroom is a porta-john, it’s the most decorated and cleanest porta-john I’ve ever seen, with lights on the inside and baby wipes. I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention how great this bathroom is.
As you may well imagine, the Jingle Bell Trolley is very popular. It’s just an hour and 20 minutes from Greenville so an easy holiday day trip. Tickets are being sold both individually and as the entire train as a private ride.
They have a handful of dates and run through December 23, 2022, which you can see here. Individual tickets are $19 each and kids 3 and under are free. Rides start at 10 am and the last one is at 6 pm on the days they are running.
Tickets include the 25-minute train ride, a visit with Santa, and hot chocolate and cookies.
For the most up-to-date information, follow the Craggy Mountain Line on Facebook as that is where they will let guests know if they are adding more rides.
Have you been on the Craggy Mountain Rail?
Craggy Mountain Line
111 Woodfin Avenue, Asheville