SkyBridge Gatlinburg: Is it worth it? An honest review [2022]

The SkyLift Park SkyBridge at night

SkyLift Park is one of Gatlinburg's most iconic attractions (photo by James Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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The competition for your tourism dollar in Gatlinburg is fierce. 

Afterall, there are only so many tourists with so many dollars. The pie is large, but the pie is not infinite. 

And so there’s a mental calculus (or maybe it’s algebra. I was never good at math) for budgeting a trip. 

Is X worth Y percentage of our budget?

The answer of course is subjective. For some, no price would be too high to enjoy the Ripley’s Museum or a trip up the mountain to Anakeesta. Others feel ripped off unless they have a Groupon and two discount coupons to do anything. 

Read Also: Best Groupons in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg: Beyond the Lens and more

Add in the bevy of new and growing attractions, and every destination in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge remains in some varying state of evaluation.

One week, you’re king of the hill. Then, after a competitor opens down the block, you’re sus, as the kids would say. 

This brings us to Gatlinburg’s SkyLift Park – home of the famous Gatlinburg SkyBridge.

Gatlinburg SkyLift Park was founded in the 1950s, the famous yellow chairs of the SkyLift have been ferrying folks up to the top of Crockett Mountain for nearly 70 years. 

photos at the skycenter tell the tale of the gatlinburg fires of 2015
Photos located inside the SkyCenter tell the tale of the Gatlinburg fires of 2016 and their major impact on SkyLift Park (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Did the SkyLift burn in Gatlinburg?

First, let’s address the elephant in the room.

Yes, the Gatlinburg fire in 2016 temporarily destroyed SkyLift Park.

To make matters worse, just as the SkyLift Park was rising from the ashes, Anakeesta opened, offering a similar, and rather competitive, experience in an arguably more scenic and upscale location.

Read Also: Is Anakeesta worth the money? An honest review

However, the folks at SkyLift answered both challenges admirably.

The SkyLift reopened in 2017 looking more beautiful than ever before, with plans for expansion on the horizon.

Today, the SkyLift is a lot more than just a ride to the top of Crockett Mountain and back down.

It offers panoramic views of the vistas of Gatlinburg and the mountains of the Smokies beyond.  

the skybridge at night
The main attraction at SkyLift Park is the famous SkyBridge, which lights up at night (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

What is there to do at SkyLift Park in Gatlinburg?

There are a variety of attractions at SkyLift Park in Gatlinburg including:

  • The SkyLift chair lift
  • The famous SkyBridge (a pedestrian bridge)
  • Tulip Tower (an observation tower)
  • The SkyTrail (a walking path)
  • The SkyCenter (a restaurant and gift shop)
  • The SkyDeck (an outdoor amphitheater)

The SkyDeck features a large viewing deck, outdoor seating, firepits and thankfully zero scary/exciting glass floor panels – more on this later. The SkyDeck is an excellent place to chill out and soak in the view. 

The SkyCenter offers a place to get out of the elements and nosh on a light menu of pizza, wraps, hot dogs and more. There’s also a selection of frozen beverages and draft beer.

The SkyTrail is an elevated boardwalk where visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll alongside the mountain while interacting with informative signage about the area.

Tulip Tower is a 70′ steel observation tower that’s accessible by rope bridge from the SkyTrail.

And of course, the highlight of SkyLift Park is the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian cable bridge in North America.

The bridge stretches 680 feet across a deep valley. It is comfortable for walking with room for a leisurely stroll and for those who move at a brisker pace.

At its highest point, the bridge is 150 feet off the ground. The bridge offers breathtaking views – especially from the glass floor panels in the middle of the bridge.

Park owners recently doubled the glass panels from 15 feet to 30 feet in length, giving visitors a more exciting experience than ever before, and giving those who are afraid of heights double the terror.

First person perspective on the glass bridge
The SkyBridge midpoint features 30 feet of glass panels (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Did the Gatlinburg SkyBridge crack?

Look, you can’t really go to the SkyBridge without hearing the tale of the great SkyBridge crack of 2020.

So are the rumors true? Did the glass really crack?

Unfortunately, the rumors are true. And the glass really did crack.

However, the tale has become somewhat exaggerated over time. Today, the story is mostly used as a tool to taunt families visiting from out of town and scared of heights as slowly make their way across the bridge 150 feet up in the air.

Because ya know, they needed another reason to be terrified. Isn’t family great?

Here’s the real story.

Guests were way up in the air, minding their own business, taking in views of downtown Gatlinburg when a man attempted what was described as a “baseball-style slide” across one of the glass panels.

Upon impact, it is believed that the keys from his pocket cracked the glass. And also, I imagine, freaked a whole bunch of people out.

But it should be noted that no one was ever in any danger.

There were multiple levels of redundancies that prevented 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, and the bridge has been long since repaired.

glass panels on the skybridge
The highest point of the SkyBridge is 150 feet off the ground and 1,800 feet above sea level (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Is the SkyLift Park safe?

In short, yes, the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park is safe. But there may be restrictions for certain individuals.

For example, it’s recommended that infants ride the chair lift in a baby harness or wrap attached to the parent. 

Dogs are also allowed as long as they are leashed for the duration of the visit. Owners must also be able to securely hold their dog while riding the lift.

The chairs can fit up to three individuals, but guests are welcome to ride one or two per chair if preferred. Operators will make sure you get in the chair comfortably.  

skylift parks chair lift
A round-trip SkyLift chair lift lasts about 20 minutes, but we recommend breaking up the experience by taking a healthy break at the top to enjoy everything the park has to offer (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

How long is the Gatlinburg SkyLift ride?

The round-trip ride lasts 20 minutes.

Most folks break up the experience, spending time at the top of the mountain and checking out everything the park has to offer.

the skycenter
The Gatlinburg SkyCenter is a cool place to enjoy a snack or a beverage while enjoying the views from the top of the iconic SkyLift (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Is there a restaurant at SkyLift Park?

Yes, you can grab a bite to eat on the second floor of the SkyCenter at SkyLift Park.

Although, it’s less of a restaurant and more of a snack bar with incredible views and a spacious seating area.

The menu features basic staples like hot dogs, ice cream and beer. Hey, we all have our own definition of staples, no judging.

The SkyTrail
The Gatlinburg SkyTrail at SkyLift Park opened to the public in 2021 (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

How much does the SkyLift in Gatlinburg cost?

Ok. So how much for an admission ticket?

Honestly, it’s not bad.

Ticket pricing, at the time of this writing, is as follows:

AdultSeniors (65+)Juniors (4-11)Kids Under 3
SkyPass 1+ Day Advance$34.95$27.95$20.95Free
SkyPass Same Day$36.95$29.95$22.95Free
Single Visit Ticket$32.95$25.95$18.95Free
Unlimited Visits Ticket$34.95$27.95$20.95Free

A SkyPass gets you unlimited visits for the day and allows you to skip the line. SkyPasses are cheaper if purchased at least one day in advance and are only available for purchase online. SkyPasses are really the best way to go because they allow you to save a bit of money and skip the wait. They also give you the opportunity to visit the park in the morning, hit downtown Gatlinburg for lunch, and then head back up to the park to see the lights at dusk.

A Single Visit Ticket is valid for a single visit to the park.

The Unlimited Visits Ticket, like the SkyPass, also gets you unlimited park visits for the day but doesn’t allow you to skip the line. These tickets are only available for purchase at the SkyLift Park ticket window.

tulip tower
The Tulip Tower observation tower also opened in 2021 (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

Is the Gatlinburg SkyLift worth it?

I think, unquestionably, SkyLift Park is worth it.

Anytime you can enjoy a Gatlinburg landmark, I think it’s worth it.

Plus, they’ve added a lot of value to the price of your admission. I suppose the question is whether you choose SkyLift or Anakeesta.

Personally, I prefer Anakeesta’s views of the Smokies. I like to be able to look out over the mountains without seeing the town. Anakeesta gives you both a great view of the mountains and of the town. 

However, I will say, your ticket up the mountain at Anakeesta is really just a starting point. I feel like you’re ultimately likely to spend a lot more money on a trip to Anakeesta than the SkyLift. 

The SkyLift does have the glass-bottomed bridge – a major selling point that Anakeesta can’t match. 

Honestly, I think you can’t go wrong with either one. You’re going to get amazing views and enjoy more of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park area.

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

The Gatlinburg SkyLift Park is located at 765 Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg. For tickets or more information about SkyLift, visit their website.

Have you visited the Gatlinburg SkyLift? Tell us what you think 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 [email protected] for questions or comments.

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10 thoughts on “SkyBridge Gatlinburg: Is it worth it? An honest review [2022]”

  1. Yes its worth it. Me and my family drove 13 hours to vacation there. We all enjoy the skylift. Also walking the bridge. Once we return back to new york i show all my friends and family the pics of the view on the skylift. They all love them.

  2. I would add that both the Anakeesta and SkyLift rides up and down can be unnerving for people who don’t like heights. There isn’t a lot holding you in beyond a lap bar, and while they are generally safe, they may not feel like it to some passengers. Anakeesta, for its part, now offers other ways up and down.

  3. It’s a little to expensive, but you have to do it once anyway. It’s the only bridge around, so you have to try it.. Anakeesta is great to. Ober Gatlinburg has a great view to, it’s about 18 bucks to ride the tram from town to the main attraction on the side of the mountain, great views up to there, then you can get a ticket to ride the ski lift to the top. Some of the best views of the mountains. A lot of other things to do there to. Probably the best for the money.

  4. I think both places need to lower the price. My family and I were down there in July and did not do alot due to prices at so many places. So with this said. After all the people we saw the weekend we was there. There is no reason to charge people this much. This needs to be an affordable vacation area that everyone can do.

  5. The huge line(s) at Annakeesta turned us off. We did the Skylift and enjoyed the suspension bridge. Looking down thru the glass part of the bridge was scary. And we loved it! We will return.

  6. Have gone up the sky lift many times before they added the bridge…and the added price of the sky bridge makes me know I won’t be going again….as for Annakeesta…i see no need to do that one either…use to be a nice day to look around…now its another tourist trap to get your money…

  7. Ober gatlinburg is much better with much more attractions. It’s actually two lifts. First to attractions, second to top of mountain. Much higher and prettier!

  8. I would really like to point out that Anakeesta does have a viewing tower. The viewing tower is several stories high, and does have area of glass bottom views. So, the glass bottom view at Sky Lift is also an option up at Anakeesta. Anakeesta has added several immunities in the last 3 years.

  9. It amazes me that they built a lovely building and outdoor area at the Skylift and it isn’t at all accommodating for the handicapped. No ramps or elevator. Not ADA compliant. What a huge oversight.

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