When I was a teen in the early 90s, certain things outside the grunge culture were considered cool.
For example, The Hard Rock Café.
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. 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. And fear is what some people have when they think of a long, glass bridge in the Smoky Mountains.
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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 2020. The Gatlinburg SkyBridge, which features a glass center, is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the United States.
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.
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-feet up in the air.
Is the glass bridge in Gatlinburg 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 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.
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.
Is the Gatlinburg SkyLift bridge made of glass?
Yes and no. We’ve been calling it the “glass bridge”. But the SkyBridge, which offers iconic views of downtown Gatlinburg TN, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and more, isn’t entirely made of glass.
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.
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.
How much does it cost to walk the SkyBridge?
At the time of this writing, a single visit ticket is $32.95 for adults, $25.95 for seniors 65 and older and $18.95 for juniors (ages 4-11). Children under 3 are free.
Visit the website to buy tickets.
There are also some combo deals with Ripley’s attractions.
What else is there to do at 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.
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, 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? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.