Anakeesta’s world-renowned Treetop SkyWalk in Tennessee reminds me of one of my favorite moments in literature.
In J.R.R Tolkein’s “The Hobbit”, trudging under the dark canopy of a mighty forest, the Hobbit Bilbo and his Dwarven companions are sullen and angry and nearing despair.
Seemingly abandoned by the wizard who’d promised to lead them, they are trapped in a dark, seemingly endless forest that does not allow light to enter or air to move.
Finally, they send Bilbo, the lightest and most nimble of the traveling party, to climb through the canopy and see if he can get a bearing.
Bilbo pokes through and for a few moments is allowed to soak in the sun and enjoy the breeze. Butterflies flit around the treetops and all of the weight he had felt moments before is lifted.
It’s a lesson in the importance of perspective, one that is driven home throughout popular culture. Perspective can be everything.
It’s the difference between walking through a forest and walking above it. That’s the experience offered by the Treetop Skywalk at Anakeesta.
RELATED VIDEO: A Walk Between Trees in Tennessee
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Where is a walk between trees in Tennessee?
The Skywalk, which is known as a walk between the trees, is located at the Anakeesta attraction in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Anakeesta bills itself as a mountain-top theme park.
The park offers a variety of Smoky Mountain-themed activities, but it’s the Treetop Skywalk that tends to be the real show-stopper.
Anakeesta’s Treetop Skywalk is the longest tree-based skywalk in North America.
How long is the Anakeesta tree canopy walk?
Being romantically predisposed to enjoying a Treetop Skywalk, I especially looked forward to experiencing the Skywalk despite my fear of heights. The 880-foot walkway is suspended 50 to 60 feet in the air.
I liked it immensely. It’s romantic in the idealistic sense of the word.
But the truth is I think I would have preferred to have it to myself.
Walking along the swinging ropes over the bright green canopy, my mind wanted to wander. Also, I wanted to find a spot along the course somewhere alone, where I could pull out a chair, sit and think.
It would be a great place to ruminate, to loosen a few mental shackles and exercise the mind. But, that’s hard to do in the middle of Gatlinburg’s theme park.
There are couples taking the walk hand-in-hand, families and kids running ahead of their father briefly heeding admonishments to wait and slow down.
It was a place I really wanted to be alone, but that would be a poor business model.
Not that I begrudged the others the experience. They paid for their ticket as well, after all.
But there were places built to exercise the mind, and I felt like the Skywalk really could be one.
Still, as walks through – or above – nature go, the Skywalk is a notch above.
There is a sense of joy, of wonder, in the changed perspective. It’s a sense of adventure walking from treetop to treetop on rope bridges and wooden planks. And a sense of possibility.
And there are dozens of opportunities to take great pics for the ‘gram.
Does Anakeesta have a SkyBridge?
Anakeesta’s Skywalk is sometimes confused with the SkyBridge at Gatlinburg SkyLift Park. A comparison is pictured above.
Anakeesta has the longest tree-based skywalk in North America. It’s a series of bridges where guests immerse themselves in the beauty of nature.
Located nearby, the SkyBridge is the longest pedestrian cable bridge in North America. It’s a singular long bridge that towers with a height of 500 feet above Gatlinburg.
Is the Treetop Skywalk at Anakeesta wheelchair accessible?
Unfortunately, accessibility is an issue.
There are stairs down to the Skywalk and then a couple of flights back up and out. It isn’t arduous but if stairs present an issue for you, they are worse upon exit – which is nearer the Anakeesta Chondola – than they are upon entry near the rear of the park.
At the time of this writing, while many parts of Anakeesta are wheelchair accessible, the Treetop Skywalk is not.
What if you’re scared of heights?
Of course, the Skywalk is plenty sturdy. I never felt remotely unsafe.
But it is a series of rope and netted bridges, it’s gonna jostle and sway. If you get a rowdy batch of teens, you might feel like Indiana Jones in the “Temple of Doom”.
But as long as no one is holding a giant scimitar and promising to help you meet an ancient god, you should be fine. On that note, jumping and running are not permitted.
With that said, guests who are very afraid of heights might want to skip attraction.
What is included at Anakeesta?
The famous Treetop Skywalk is included in the price of admission at Anakeesta.
Your visit to Anakeesta begins with a scenic ride on the Chondola, which is what Anakeesta calls its chair lift. Most guests ride in the 4-person chair, but there is an enclosed gondola cabin as well.
At the top, there are several fun things to do for guests.
The majority of which has to do with Anakeeesta’s majestic views of the Smokies. The included activities are the Chondola ride, the AnaVista observation tower, the Treeventure and Bear Venture challenge courses and the Vista Gardens.
The AnaVista tower now is the tallest point in downtown Gatlinburg.
Guests can also gain access to shopping and dining options. For example, one of the best places to grab a bite to eat is the Cliff Top Restaurant, which offers stunning views of the city.
What is not included at Anakeesta?
The park has a few add-on options as well for guests looking for some more outdoor adventures.
For example, the Rail Runner mountain coaster is an extra cost, as well as the Dueling Zipline.
The park also offers gem mining. Most recently, guests can purchase the Astra Lumina night walk experience, which is the first of its kind in the United States.
Can you walk down Anakeesta?
No. Once you are on the mountain, you have to take the Chondola to get to the top of Anakeesta as well as back down.
Alternatively, you can also ride the Ridge Rambler adventure vehicle, which is essentially a big truck.
How much does it cost to go to Anakeesta?
At the time of this writing, general admission tickets are $34.99 for adults, $27.99 for seniors and $22.99 for kids (ages 4-11).
Children 3 and under are free. However, you can usually find a better deal and save a couple of bucks per ticket when you book through Tripster.
Anakeesta is located in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg at 576 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN.
Have you taken a walk between the trees at Anakeesta’s Treetop Skywalk attraction on a Gatlinburg vacation? Let us know in the comments!
View the web story version of this article here.