Gatlinburg SkyLift Park vs Anakeesta: Comparing Adventures

The skylift bridge from the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park
The skylift bridge from the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park – Photo Credit : Adobe Stock Images

Nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, the enchanting town of Gatlinburg is home to two awe-inspiring attractions that have captivated locals and visitors alike – Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and Anakeesta.

As a long-time resident with an adventurous spirit, I’ve had the opportunity to immerse myself in the distinct experiences offered by both parks, each providing its own unique blend of breathtaking views, adrenaline-pumping activities, and unforgettable memories.

In this friendly face-off between Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and Anakeesta, I’ll guide you through the unique offerings of each destination, providing an insider’s perspective on what sets them apart and makes them beloved by both visitors and fellow residents.

Come along as we embark on a thrilling journey through the heart of the Smokies, discovering the unparalleled beauty and excitement that awaits at these must-visit attractions.


In this post, we’ll explore the differences between Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and Anakeesta, examining their features and experiences as well as pricing for admission and activities.

I will compare pricing for general admission and additional activities at both parks to help you make an informed decision based on your budget.

I will also address accessibility concerns for visitors with mobility limitations or families with young children.

Furthermore, this guide includes time considerations for visiting each attraction along with tips on nighttime experiences that should not be missed.

Last but not least, I offer recommendations on parking options near both parks as well as accommodations nearby to ensure a seamless visit to either Gatlinburg SkyLift Park or Anakeesta.

Relax and let me help you decide which amazing journey to take in the grand Smoky Mountains.

Gatlinburg SkyLift Park: A Thrilling Adventure in the Great Smoky Mountains

Located in downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park offers breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains and unique experiences for visitors of all ages.

The park’s main attraction is the 680-foot-long SkyBridge, North America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge, which provides an exhilarating experience for thrill-seekers with a glass-floored section at its center.

For even more panoramic views, climb up to the newly built observation tower called AnaVista Tower, standing tall at over 60 feet high, providing unparalleled 360-degree vistas of downtown Gatlinburg and beyond into Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

  • Souvenirs: Before leaving, stop by the gift shop for exclusive souvenirs like t-shirts or hats featuring designs inspired by your visit.
  • Snacks & Refreshments: Grab a bite to eat at the SkyCenter, which offers an array of snacks and beverages for you to enjoy while taking in the beautiful scenery.

Overall, Gatlinburg SkyLift Park promises unforgettable memories during your visit to downtown Gatlinburg, whether you’re conquering your fear of heights on the suspension bridge or simply soaking in panoramic views from AnaVista Tower.

Anakeesta Theme Park Overview

Anakeesta Theme Park
A must visit Anakeesta Theme Park

Located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, Anakeesta is a true mountain theme park that offers various activities for visitors of all ages.

From the scenic Ridge Rambler ride to the summit to the Treetop Skywalk exploration, Anakeesta offers breathtaking views of the Gatlinburg Skylift Park and the surrounding mountains.

Thrill-seekers will love the Dueling Zipline Adventure and Rail Runner Mountain Coaster, while those seeking relaxation can enjoy Firefly Village’s shops and dining options.

Don’t miss out on this unique destination in downtown Gatlinburg.

Pricing Comparison: Gatlinburg SkyLift Park vs. Anakeesta

Both parks offer breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains, but Gatlinburg SkyLift Park is generally cheaper than Anakeesta.

Admission to Gatlinburg SkyLift Park includes the chairlift ride, SkyBridge, and observation tower, with prices ranging from $17.95 to $27.95.

Anakeesta’s general admission starts at $21.99 and goes up to $31.99, with discounts for seniors and military personnel, but some attractions like Dueling Zipline Adventure require an additional fee of $49 per person.

Consider looking for package deals that combine admission to both parks or investing in a multi-attraction pass like the Smoky Mountain Pass to save money here.

Don’t forget to check out other downtown Gatlinburg attractions like Ripley’s Aquarium and Ober Mountain.

Accessibility Concerns at Both Parks

When planning your trip to Gatlinburg SkyLift Park or Anakeesta, it’s essential to consider accessibility concerns for each park.

Anakeesta offers better wheelchair access compared to Gatlinburg SkyLift Park, but wheelchairs are not permitted on Treetop Skywalk & AnaVista Tower due to safety reasons.

Anakeesta has an edge over Gatlinburg SkyLift Park in terms of family-friendliness, with various attractions like gem mining, Rail Runner Mountain Coaster, and Dueling Zipline Adventure specifically designed for kids’ enjoyment.

  • Gatlinburg SkyLift Park: Provides breathtaking views from North America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge and a shopping center experience, but fewer kid-specific activities available here compared to Anakeesta.
  • Anakeesta: This true Smoky Mountain theme park caters well to both adults and children alike with numerous fun-filled activities such as Treetop Skywalk Exploration and Ridge Rambler Ride alongside shops selling souvenirs and a variety of dining options.

Both parks are suitable for families, but Anakeesta offers more activities specifically designed to entertain younger visitors.

  1. Contact the park ahead of time to inquire about specific accessibility concerns or requirements.
  2. If you require wheelchair access, consider visiting Anakeesta as it provides better facilities in this regard compared to Gatlinburg SkyLift Park.
  3. Plan your trip around peak hours when crowds are smaller – this will make navigating through attractions easier and provide a more relaxed experience overall.
Time Considerations for Visiting Each Attraction

When planning your visit to the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and Anakeesta Theme Park, it’s essential to consider the time you have available.

Both parks provide extraordinary experiences and magnificent sights of the Great Smoky Mountains, yet they contrast in terms of how much time is necessary to relish their attractions.

Gatlinburg SkyLift Park Timeframe

If you’re short on time or looking for a quick adventure, Gatlinburg SkyLift Park may be a better option.

This park can be experienced in just 2-4 hours, making it perfect for those who want to squeeze in some sightseeing between other activities during their stay in downtown Gatlinburg.

The chairlift ride up Crockett Mountain provides breathtaking mountain views, while the suspension bridge offers an exhilarating experience that doesn’t require too much time commitment.

Full Day Adventure at Anakeesta

Anakeesta, on the other hand, is designed as a full-day destination with various activities such as Treetop Skywalks, Dueling Zipline Adventures and Rail Runner Mountain Coasters that cater to both kids and adults alike.

With its wide variety of restaurants offering BBQ dishes and adult beverages along with shops selling souvenirs located within Firefly Village area; visitors can easily spend half or even a full day exploring this theme park without feeling rushed.

  • Treetop Skywalk: Stroll through treehouses connected by sky bridges suspended high above ground level – providing an immersive forest canopy experience like no other.
  • Dueling Zipline Adventure: Soar through the trees on a thrilling zipline adventure that includes multiple lines and racing your friends or family members side-by-side.
  • Rail Runner Mountain Coaster: Experience an exhilarating ride down the mountain as you control your own speed on this single-rail coaster – perfect for thrill-seekers of all ages.

Key Takeaway: 

When planning a visit to Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and Anakeesta Theme Park, it’s important to consider the time you have available.

If you’re short on time, opt for SkyLift Park’s quick but exciting experience; however, if you have more time to spare and want to indulge in various activities throughout the day, Anakeesta is definitely worth considering.

Experience the Magic of Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and Anakeesta

Visit Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and Anakeesta early in the morning or late at night for unique experiences and breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains.

At Gatlinburg SkyLift Park, witness the illuminated Sky Bridge against the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains at night.

Experience the serene atmosphere and stunning sunrise views at both Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and Anakeesta.

At night, Gatlinburg SkyLift Park transforms into an enchanting wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights on the Sky Bridge and downtown Gatlinburg below.

Anakeesta’s Firefly Village offers a magical nighttime experience with glowing lanterns, fairy lights, and live music performances by local artists.

  • Don’t miss the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park Sunrise Experience.
  • Experience the Anakeesta Firefly Village Nighttime Experience.

Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and Anakeesta offer unforgettable experiences that showcase the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Accommodation Options near Attractions

Looking for a place to stay near Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and Anakeesta?

Check out Gatlinburg Falls Resort or The Lodge at Buckberry Creek for easy access to these popular attractions and other nearby points of interest like Ripley’s Aquarium and Ober Mountain.

Gatlinburg Falls Resort: Your Gateway to Adventure

Stay at Gatlinburg Falls Resort and enjoy a variety of cabin rentals that cater to different group sizes, ranging from romantic one-bedroom cabins to spacious nine-bedroom lodges.

At Gatlinburg Falls Resort, you’ll find all the creature comforts for a perfect stay including hot tubs, game rooms, home theaters and beautiful mountain views. Plus, you’ll be just minutes away from downtown Gatlinburg and other popular attractions like Anakeesta and the Rail Runner Mountain Coaster.

The Lodge at Buckberry Creek: A Luxurious Retreat

For a more upscale experience, book a stay at The Lodge at Buckberry Creek. This elegant lodge features rustic suites with modern comforts like fireplaces, private balconies, and whirlpool tubs. Indulge in gourmet dining on-site or venture out to explore the nearby attractions, including Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and the dueling zipline adventure.

Don’t miss out on other popular points of interest in the area, like Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where you can hike, bike, fish, and take in the stunning natural beauty of the region. And if you’re visiting during winter months, be sure to hit the slopes at Ober Mountain for skiing, snowboarding, and scenic tram rides.

Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, staying near Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and Anakeesta is the perfect way to experience all that downtown Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains have to offer.

FAQs in Relation to Gatlinburg Skylift Park vs Anakeesta

Is Anakeesta the same as SkyLift Park?

No, Anakeesta and SkyLift Park are two distinct attractions in Gatlinburg, with SkyLift Park featuring a chairlift ride, suspension bridge, and observation tower, while Anakeesta is an outdoor theme park with treetop skywalks, ziplines, shops, and dining options.

Is SkyLift Park worth the cost?

For those seeking stunning mountain views from the iconic SkyBridge or enjoying panoramic vistas atop the observation tower, SkyLift Park is definitely worth the money, offering unique photo opportunities and breathtaking scenery of Gatlinburg’s surroundings.

How long do people usually spend at Anakeesta?

The average time spent at Anakeesta varies depending on personal preferences but generally ranges between 2 to 4 hours, allowing visitors to explore various activities such as treetop skywalks, dueling zipline adventures, or simply relaxing amidst nature.

Is the SkyBridge the same as SkyLift?

No, they are not. The SkyBridge, North America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge, spans across a valley offering incredible views, while SkyLift, a scenic chairlift ride, transports guests up Crockett Mountain, providing access to both SkyLift Park and its facilities, including the aforementioned SkyBridge.

For more information on SkyLift Park, visit their official website.


As the comparison of Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and Anakeesta comes to a close, it’s clear that both attractions offer their own distinctive experiences that contribute to the rich tapestry of the Smoky Mountain landscape.

As a local who has been fortunate enough to explore both parks, I can attest that each holds a unique charm that resonates with the hearts of visitors and fellow residents alike.

Whether you’re drawn to the stunning panoramas at Gatlinburg SkyLift Park or the immersive treetop adventures at Anakeesta, there’s no doubt that these attractions will leave you with treasured memories that last a lifetime.

So, to all my fellow adventurers and nature lovers, I invite you to delve into these mesmerizing attractions and uncover the extraordinary experiences that make this town a true gem in the Great Smoky Mountains.

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