My earliest memory is walking a trail near Lake Lure and Chimney Rock State Park in North Carolina. I was under five and holding someone’s hand when I slipped at the edge of a mountain trail. The loose rocks 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. But in my tiny mind, it made an imprint.
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 (former) Sears Tower in Chicago. The Eiffel Tower didn’t bother me much. But standing anywhere near the edge of Rock City in Chattanooga brought out severe nerves. Also, on a recent trip to the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, the glass elevator there nearly buckled my knees.
I say all that to say this: I’ve never had a problem at the Gatlinburg SkyBridge.
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Is the SkyBridge lit up all night?
The SkyBridge is one of Gatlinburg’s premier attractions, located within SkyPark, and it’s even better at night. The SkyBridge lights come on around dusk each evening and remain illuminated until the park is closed. The bridge and park are even more festive when lit up for Christmas.
However, at dusk, my preferred spot at SkyPark is the SkyDeck. I like to look over the village from sturdy ground with a railing and a grade that reads more big hill than a 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 there. 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.
Did the SkyBridge crack?
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 evening view at SkyPark
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 SkyPark, which includes the SkyBridge attraction. At the time of this writing, they range from $37.95 for ages 12-64 to $23.95 for kids ages 4-11. Seniors are $30.95 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, SkyTrail 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! Click here to view the web story version of this article.