Anakeesta vs. Ober Mountain: Which Attraction Is Better?


Anakeesta and Ober Gatlinburg are popular attractions in Gatlinburg (left photo by Daniel Munson/; right photo submitted by Greg and Laura Akens)

Anakeesta vs. Ober Mountain: Which is better? This is one of the most common questions we receive. But as with most things in life, the answer is subjective, so it is not always simple. Let’s take a look at the differences between Anakeesta and Ober Mountain in Tennessee.

Anakeesta vs. Ober: The similarities

Let’s start with the basics. Why are these two attractions often compared to one another? Well, for starters they are both located on top of a mountain in the heart of the Smokies in downtown Gatlinburg TN. Both Anakeesta and Ober are family attractions. Both of them offer mountain coasters, fun things to do for kids, aerial views of the city, as well as shopping and dining opportunities. Okay, so how are they different?

RELATED VIDEO: Anakeesta vs. Ober Gatlinburg

The ride to Anakeesta vs Ober
At Anakeesta (left), you have to pay for admission to ride to the top of the mountain via either the chairs, the chondola (pictured) or the truck. At Ober, you can pay to ride the Aerial Tramway (pictured right) or drive up the mountain on your own (photos by Morgan Overholt/

Anakeesta vs. Ober: Getting up the mountain

One of the noticeable differences between Anakeesta and Ober Mountain is getting up the mountain. It is required that you purchase admission ($34.99 for adults at the time of this writing) to get up the mountain to see Anakeesta. You can usually find discount tickets on Tripster that make the trip even more affordable. Most guests will ride in an open chairlift, but an enclosed chondola is also available. Those who have a fear of heights typically prefer the Ridge Rambler (a big truck).

At Ober Mountain, while you may purchase an Aerial Tramway ticket to get to your destination ($29 for adults at the time of this writing), it is possible to drive yourself up the mountain as well. Parking costs about $15. (You can sometimes save a couple of extra bucks on the aerial tram using Tripster). It’s also important to note that this drive might be dicey in bad weather conditions. In the winter, make sure you have a 4-wheel drive or chains on your tires. Don’t take any chances.

Both rides up the mountain offer beautiful views of the mountains. Of course, if you’re chasing views, you may want to take a look at the famous SkyBridge at Gatlinburg SkyPark as well.

TreeVenture at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg
TreeVenture is an adventure course for the little ones at Anakeesta (photo by Daniel Munson/

Anakeesta vs. Ober: Which one is more expensive?

At the time of this writing, general admission tickets for Anakeesta are $35.99 for adults, $27.99 for seniors and $22.99 for kids (ages 4-11). But again, you can usually save a couple of bucks per ticket when you book through Tripster. Children 3 and under are free. Your admission includes unlimited access to:

  • Chondola (or Ridge Rambler) rides
  • Treetop Skywalk
  • Treehouse Village Adventure
  • BearVenture
  • TreeVenture
  • Vista Gardens
  • AnaVista Tower
  • Shopping and dining opportunities
Attractions at Ober Gatlinburg in TN
Ober Mountain has many attractions for kids. Tickets for each attraction may be purchased individually (photo by Morgan Overholt/

Ober Mountain is a bit more “à la carte”. Each ride has a cost associated with it. Some are included with a wristband add-on. Prices per attraction can be found on the website. Some of the offered attractions include:

  • Alpine slide
  • Amaze’N Maze
  • Carousel
  • Chair swings
  • Rock wall
  • Ice bumper cars
  • Ice skating
  • Mini golf
  • Scenic chairlift
  • Ski mountain coaster
  • Scenic chairlift
  • Tubing
  • Rock climbing wall
  • Wildlife encounter

To me, Anakeesta’s pricing system is a little clearer. Specifically, you pay the admission, you gain access to most things in the park. If you want to ride the Rail Runner or try the Dueling Ziplines, you’ll pay a little more. Ober Mountain’s pricing system can be a bit more of a pick-your-own-adventure experience. Some people certainly prefer this. Therefore, it depends on what your preference is.

Anakeesta vs. Ober: Which one is better for kids?

I see this question a lot as well, but I’d say that it depends on your kids. For instance, I’ve heard a lot of folks with young kids say they prefer taking their kids to Ober. Ober offers a wider range of activities. Anakeesta, on the other hand, is a more modern park that has more to offer for the adults while the children can play. At Anakeesta, kids can explore the treehouses, challenge courses and splash pads while the parents relax with an adult beverage and take in the views. As one friend (and parent) told me, the best way to enjoy Anakeesta is to just chill out. The bottom line is, each individual will have their preferences.

Music at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg
Anakeesta often features live music (photo by Daniel Munson/

The biggest differences between Anakeesta and Ober Mountain

Anakeesta is a lot newer than Ober Mountain. Anakeesta opened in 2017, and they continue to expand and build upon their mountain experience. Ober opened in 1962 as Ober Gatlinburg. So it can feel a bit more outdated when compared to Anakeesta. It may also depend on which season you’re planning your visit. That said, Ober is under new management, so guests can expect updates and changes in the future.

Another noticeable difference between the two is the winter activities. If you’re set on seeing snow, you may want to visit Ober. They offer snow tubing and ice skating in the winter months. Notably, they are the only destination where you can ski and snowboard in the whole state of Tennessee. But, Anakeesta offers stunning winter decorations during the holiday season.

What’s YOUR opinion on the differences between Anakeesta vs Ober Mountain? Let us know in the comments.


Disclosure: We have used and experienced all the products and activities recommended on The Smokies. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products and experiences featured.

9 thoughts on “Anakeesta vs. Ober Mountain: Which Attraction Is Better?”

  1. Just left them both this past week.Much like the previous article Anakeesta is much fresher,but the 90 min line we waited in to get up the mountain was tireing.Ober was celebrating Octoberfest,which was a pluss.There are quite a lot more things to do and shop fore at Ober.However we enjoyed both.

  2. One more comparison I did not see. Altitude. I may be off a bit but I believe Anakeesta is around 1900 ft and Ober is on average 3,000 plus. Anakeesta has good views looking from far south to the west. Ober faces east, north east and south. Yes Ober was built by the city in 1962. But their Mt Coaster was built in 2015. While I enjoyed walking around at Anakeesta the zip line was all that was available in 2017. I’m a snowsports enthusiast. I will stick with the historic real stone lodge over glitz and fiberglass characters. You can’t reproduce the Ober Ski Lodge. Plus Ober has “Snow Magic” technology that allows them to make snow at warmer temperature. Winter tubing starts the week before Thanksgiving with a ski competition the night before. FYI the city of Gatlinburg does an excellent job keeping Ski Mt Rd clear during the winter.

  3. We love to come to Gatlinburg and every time we come, we are up at Anakeesta in early morning and afternoon. The food is great and overall very peaceful. We have been back twice this year already. We have not had the chance to venture up to Ober yet but we will! Tennessee is amazing!! Every place we go around the area of Gatlinburg is just so exciting and enjoyable. Gatlinburg, we love you!!

  4. Ober is better…. PERIOD! Snow skiing, ice skating, snow tubing…. None of that at Anakeesta 🙁 Love Ober Gatlinburg!!!

  5. I wasn’t that impressed with Anakeesta. We went up in the early evening and everything was already beginning to close down. No where to get food. Splash pad? I never saw it. The tower was impressive. You got ice skating at Ober Gatlinburg wrong. It’s open year round. You also missed the wildlife habitat and the chair lift to the very top of the mountain with live entertainment.

  6. Of course Anakeesta. I have a sister that works there, just wanted to throw that in also. Lol. Love you little sis.

  7. I didnt care for Ober. Tourist trap. It was hot & the cars going up the mt were very crowded & noisy. I didnt like the wait for the car to go back down crowded & i wasnt feeling well so i sat on the floorwhile i waited. Ovetpriced & over rated. Havent been to Anakeester


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