My earliest memory is walking a trail near Lake Lure and Chimney Rock State Park in North Carolina.
I was with my parents and was well under the age of five.
I was holding someone’s hand when I slipped at the edge of a mountain trail. The loose rocks and gravel sent me tumbling down the ledge and into the trees.
In my memory, the fall would have been steep, almost a cliff. I’m sure if I was there now, it would be little more than a couple of feet down. Probably nothing more than an incline and into the woods.
But in my tiny mind, I almost died, and it made an imprint.
If that was what initiated my fear of heights, I don’t know. I can’t really remember not being afraid of high places.
Have I allowed it to stop me from doing things?
I’ve been up, with varying levels of nerves, in the St. Louis Arch, the Empire State Building and the Sears Tower in Chicago when it was the Sears Tower.
The Eiffel Tower didn’t bother me much. But standing anywhere near the edge at Rock City in Chattanooga brought out severe nerves.
And I may be getting worse.
This past weekend we went to a large hotel in Atlanta – the Marriott Marquis where they filmed some of the Loki series – and I took the glass elevator to the glass floor and it nearly buckled my knees. We got to the top, and I immediately rode right back down.
I say all that to say this: I’ve never had a problem at the Gatlinburg SkyBridge.
Is the SkyBridge lit up all night?
The SkyBridge is one of Gatlinburg’s premier attractions, located within SkyLift Park, and it’s even better at night.
The SkyBridge’s lights come on around dusk each evening and remain illuminated until the park is closed.
At dusk, my preferred spot at SkyLift Park is the SkyDeck.
You can look over the village from nice, sturdy ground with a railing and a grade that reads more big hill than cliff.
Watching the sunset, how the sky changes color and the town illuminated is fantastic.
It’s a great place to relax, zen out a little and let the mind wander into deep thoughts.
I like the SkyBridge as well, but one does not allow one’s mind to wander on the SkyBridge.
I stay alertly focused on each step going 700 feet across a wide gorge while suspended 500 feet in the air, and I am able to keep the baying hounds of unimpeded terror at arm’s length as long as I focus a bit.
Or at least until I reach the glass bottom section, which was designed by one of Satan’s minions.
Speaking of which, while on the SkyBridge, you may hear whispers about “that time the glass floor cracked.”
Did the Gatlinburg SkyBridge crack? Yes, it did, but it’s since been repaired and reinforced which provides solace to, well, most of us.
The bridge offers spectacular views all day, but at night, when the bridge itself is all lit up, it’s amazing.
The park is even more festive when lit up for Christmas.
There are also spots where you can get away from the artificial lights and see some of the wonders of the universe. The night sky in these mountains is second to none. I’d love to take a good telescope up there sometime and really explore the stars.
Finally, before heading back down on the SkyLift, stop by the SkyCenter, grab some food and enjoy the evening.
How can you buy tickets for the SkyBridge?
Tickets are available online or onsite for SkyLift Park, which includes the SkyBridge attraction.
At the time of this writing, they range from $29.95 for ages 12-64 to $18.95 for kids ages 4-11. Seniors are $23.95 and children three and under are free.
If you buy a SkyBridge ticket during the day, can you return at night?
Once you have redeemed your admission ticket at the SkyLift Park ticket window, you will have all-day access up and back down the mountain, weather permitting, until the park closes at night.
You will have access to the SkyLift, SkyDeck, SkyCenter and the Gatlinburg SkyBridge once you have your admission ticket.
If you prefer not to carry quite so much cargo, your ticket allows you access to the SkyLift all day and evening. You can visit during the day, then go down the mountain and change for the evening temperatures if your hotel or car is near the lift.
It can be some extra hassle, but you get to ride the lift again and you don’t have to wear or carry a bunch of stuff all day waiting for the night.
What should you wear when you visit the Gatlinburg SkyBridge and SkyLift Park at night?
Speaking of which, you should be aware of the rapidly changing temperatures at elevation when the sun goes down.
Even in the summer, you might want a light jacket if you get cold easily.
Dress in layers the rest of the year, so you won’t overheat while the sun is up and won’t freeze once it’s dropped down behind the mountains.
For sure in late fall through early spring, you’ll want to have gloves, a scarf and something to cover your ears.
The mountain wind is cold and when the temperature drops, it can cut deeper than most southerners are used to.
And for goodness sake, bring a lip balm.
What time does the SkyBridge close at night?
The park’s hours depend on the season.
In the summer, the park is open from 9 am to 10 pm.
In the “fall,” which includes December’s Christmas lights, it’s 9 am to 9 pm through the week and 9 am to 10 pm on the weekends.
Winter and spring are from 9 am to 9 pm as well.
Hours may change during maintenance weeks and special events, we recommend checking their website or calling to confirm prior to your visit.
Have you visited SkyLift Park at night? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
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