The glass bridge in Gatlinburg: What you need to know before you go

The glass bridge in Gatlinburg

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

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When I was a teen in the early 90s, certain things outside the grunge culture were considered cool.

For example, The Hard Rock Café.

And also, Big Johnson shirts. I will save this discussion for another day. Just suffice to say they are a relic of a more innocent but somehow more barbaric time.

In addition, there was the “No Fear” trend. It was an athletic brand that sold shirts and bumper stickers featuring the No Fear logo in a righteously extreme font. 

It was an ethos inspired by the burgeoning skater lifestyle and repackaged for the masses. At any rate, you couldn’t go into the shops in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge without seeing dozens of variations on the theme.

But it was never for me.

I remain a child of Generation X. I came out of the womb rolling my eyes. Therefore, I react to easily digestible, semi-inspirational marketing slogans like a mosquito reacts to citronella.

No Fear? That’s just wrong.

Fear is right. Indeed, it works. It clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of our evolution. Without it, we don’t survive.

Fear, for lack of a better word, is good.

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

Where is the glass bridge in Gatlinburg?

The famous glass bridge is called the SkyBridge, and it is located at Gatlinburg SkyLift Park in downtown Gatlinburg, TN.

Did the glass bridge in Gatlinburg crack?

Um. Yes.

You may remember the story from June of 2020. The Gatlinburg SkyBridge, which features a glass center, is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the United States.

It was temporarily closed when a guest cracked one of the heavy glass panels in the middle of the bridge designed to let thrill-seekers test their mettle.

I suspect that the guest was wearing a No Fear T-shirt.

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.

There are multiple levels of redundancies that would prevent a catastrophe from occurring.

He cracked the upper layer of one of the glass-floor panels on the pedestrian bridge. There were several other layers remaining.

Notably, as a textbook member of Gen X, I’m not a rules follower by nature. In truth, and I’m really letting you inside my little world, 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.

Haven’t any of you people seen the Temple of Doom? I am not gonna be able to grab a rope and swing to safety! I am absolutely not prepared to meet Kali.

If you’re 140 feet in the air, don’t run, don’t bounce and specifically, don’t jump.

We live in a society. Hopefully, no one else has to be told not to baseball slide on a glass pane 140-foot up in the air.

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)

Is the glass bridge in Gatlinburg dangerous?

There are quite a few federal regulations that mandate legitimate safety requirements that govern popular attractions with scenic walkways featuring a length of the glass.

Gatlinburg SkyLift Park’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 and so forth.

Intellectually, we know there was no actual danger when the glass cracked. You don’t build something like that without redundancy upon redundancy. 

There were multiple more layers of thick glass and, presumably, it would have taken a few more sliding metal-pocketed dudes ready to break on through to the other side.

Park officials said the structural integrity of the bridge was never in danger.

But, still.

Can you imagine? 140 feet in the air and you see a would-be Internet star run and slide onto the glass panels in the middle of the suspension bridge upon which your life currently depends?

Let me hear the sound of glass cracking up there. See what happens next. 

No Fear? Oh, my friends there would be fear. Oodles of fear. You could fill buckets with it. I don’t like heights anyway. And I’ve overcome that to get my butt up on this swinging, swaying relic from the days when engineering was chiefly a guess?

Fear would be followed by fury. Heck, sitting on my couch 60 miles away, reading about the incident on my phone, my righteous indignation flamed. And also my redneck quickly engaged.

I may have even uttered the phrase “I wish somebody would.”

In spite of all that, my hope is nothing bad happened to our Chipper Jones. But certainly, I hope he learned his lesson.

Read Also: Is the Gatlinburg SkyLift worth it? An honest review

Is the Gatlinburg SkyLift bridge made of glass?

Yes and no. The SkyBridge, which offers iconic views of downtown Gatlinburg TN, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and more, isn’t entirely made of glass.

But there are 30-feet of glass panels on the bridge which offer spectacular views and a blast of adrenaline.

With its panoramic views, it’s a great place to watch the sky at dusk.

There’s plenty of room up there. The bridge is wide enough for people to pass each other comfortably, allowing everyone to take the bridge at their own pace.

That is, as long as that pace doesn’t involve running, jumping, bouncing or sliding around.

Read Also: Anakeesta vs. SkyLift Park: Which attraction is better?

SkyBridge at SkyLift Park at night
The SkyBridge is the longest pedestrian bridge on the continent. It illuminates after dark (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

How long is the glass bridge in Gatlinburg?

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, which sounds like something they’d have put on a Big Johnson shirt, but I digress. 

How much does it cost to walk the SkyBridge?

Tickets to the SkyLift park include the SkyLift ride up the mountain, complete with a photo op on the iconic yellow chairs, access to the SkyBridge, the new SkyDeck, SkyCenter and SkyTrail are $31.95 with discounts for seniors and children ages 4 to 11. Children under 4 are free.

Visit the website to buy tickets.

There are also some combo deals with Ripley’s attractions.

Tulip Tower at SkyLift Park
SkyLift Park features a new SkyTrail, which leads to an observation deck, the Tulip Tower (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

What else is there to do at the SkyLift Park?

Really 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.

The SkyCenter also has a gift shop and snack bar which serves pizza, pretzels, wraps, polish dogs, frozen beverages and… White Claw.  

There is 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.

Have you walked the glass bridge in Gatlinburg? Let us know in the comments.

Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at info@thesmokies.com for questions or comments.

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