The Iconic Glass Bridge in Gatlinburg You Need to Walk Across

glass portion of skybridge at skypark in gatlinburg

The famous "glass bridge" in Gatlinburg is the SkyBridge at SkyPark (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Local talks about what it’s like to walk across this famous glass bridge in the sky

When I was a teen in the early 90s, certain things outside the grunge culture were considered cool. For example, there was the “No Fear” athletic brand trend that sold shirts and bumper stickers in a righteously extreme font. It was an ethos inspired by the burgeoning skater lifestyle and repackaged for the masses. But it was never for me. No Fear? Fear is right. Without it, we don’t survive. And fear is what some people have when they think of a long, glass bridge in the Great Smoky Mountains. The famous glass bridge is called the SkyBridge, and it is located at Gatlinburg SkyPark in downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

RELATED VIDEO: The Glass Bridge in Gatlinburg: What You Need To Know

The SkyBridge in Gatlinburg TN
The iconic glass bridge in Gatlinburg is called the SkyBridge (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Did the glass bridge in Gatlinburg crack?

Um. Yes. The Gatlinburg SkyBridge, which features a glass center, is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the United States. It’s one of the most stunning views of the city, and it offers a unique experience of being able to look at the forest below your feet from high up in the air. But in June 2020, it was temporarily closed after a guest cracked one of the heavy glass panels in the middle of the bridge designed to let thrill-seekers test their mettle. I wouldn’t be surprised if the guest was wearing a No Fear T-shirt.

First person perspective on the glass bridge
The glass center of the Gatlinburg SkyBridge allows guests to have a unique view of the Smokies (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

How did the glass bridge in Gatlinburg crack?

Guests were way up in the air, taking in breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Then, one visitor attempted what was described as a “baseball-style slide” across one of the glass panels. I assume he was searching for TikTok fame or some other such nonsense. Upon impact, it is believed that the keys from his pocket cracked the glass. And also, I imagine, freaked a whole bunch of people the heck out. But it should be noted that no one was ever in any danger. Multiple levels of redundancies would certainly prevent a catastrophe from occurring. With this in mind, when he cracked the upper layer of one of the glass floor panels on the pedestrian bridge, several other layers remained.

I’m not a rules follower by nature. In truth, I often feel that rules are beneath me. They exist simply to maintain mindless conformity. However, if there’s one place I’m a staunch advocate of following the rules, it’s on a 700-foot-long suspension bridge made of glass panels. Have any of you seen “Temple of Doom”? I am not gonna be able to grab a rope and swing to safety! So if you’re 140 feet in the air, don’t run, don’t bounce and specifically, don’t jump.

gatlinburg skybridge with american flag hanging and sunset in background
This iconic glass bridge in Gatlinburg hangs 1,800 feet above sea level (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Is the glass bridge dangerous?

No, it’s not dangerous. There are quite a few federal regulations that mandate legitimate safety requirements that govern popular attractions with scenic walkways featuring a length of glass. Gatlinburg SkyPark’s SkyBridge may be a unique experience, but it’s not so unique they’d let them get by without a protective top layer of glass, followed by another protective layer and so on. Intellectually, we know there was no actual danger when the glass cracked. You don’t build something like that without redundancy upon redundancy. Officials said the structural integrity of the bridge was surely never in danger. But, still. Can you imagine?

skybridge at night
The famous bridge illuminates in lights at night (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

What you should know before you visit

Located at the top of the iconic SkyLift, 1,800 feet above sea level, the Gatlinburg SkyBridge is the longest pedestrian cable bridge in North America. From the mountain-top SkyDeck, the SkyBridge stretches almost 700 feet across a deep valley. That’s longer than two football fields as well as seven basketball courts, a hockey arena and a cricket pitch. The entire bridge is the longest on the continent. At the time of this writing, a single visit ticket is $35.95 for adults, $28.95 for seniors 65 and older and $21.95 for juniors (ages 6-11). Children under 3 are free. Visit the website to buy tickets. Once you buy a day ticket, you can ride up to the attraction via a chair lift as many times as you’d like.

The SkyTrail
SkyPark also has a SkyTrail and a Tulip Tower, which is an observation tower (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

So what else can you do there? I think the best thing to do at the bridge or the lift or the deck is to look around you. It’s an amazing view. You can chill on the SkyDeck, near a fire pit, walk the SkyTrail and test your mettle on the SkyBridge’s glass panes. You can also soak in some stellar views on the observation tower, which is called the Tulip Tower. The SkyCenter also has a gift shop and snack bar which serves pizza, pretzels, wraps, polish dogs and frozen beverages. There is also a seating area along the second floor of the SkyCenter which offers a unique vantage point to take in one of the best sights in all of East Tennessee. So have you walked the glass bridge in Gatlinburg? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

Have a question or comment about something in this article? Contact our staff here. You may also contact our editorial team at info@thesmokies.com.

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