When will Ghost Town in the Sky reopen: The latest 2021 update

Maggie Valley's Ghost Town in the Sky has been closed since the late 2000s (photo courtesy of Gary and Carol Cox)

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There’s a possible resurrection underway in the mountains of North Carolina.

After weeks of social media murmurings and gossip on fan-operated Facebook groups, it seems that we finally have an update.

According to the Smoky Mountain News, developers are trying to bring the Maggie Valley landmark tourist attraction, Ghost Town in the Sky, back from the dead.

Ghost Town in the Sky, aka Ghost Town Village, is a long-shuttered Wild West themed amusement park that sits atop a mountain in Maggie Valley.

The popular tourist attraction began stumbling in the 1990s as revenue couldn’t support maintenance needs for rides such as the famous Red Devil Roller Coaster.

In July 2002, the chairlift ride from the parking lot to the park died in the summer heat, stranding passengers for hours.

The park closed and was put up for sale.

There have been several attempts to re-open the park since, but none took hold.

The idea centers on condos and a hotel in Maggie Valley, a beautiful spot in the North Carolina Mountains near the Blue Ridge Parkway. The condos and hotel will not replace the former park, officials say. The plan is to refurbish, rebuild and reopen.

Still, as evidenced by two decades of failed attempts, the job of breathing life back into the ghosts isn’t an easy one. The park’s infrastructure was in shambles – getting people and fresh water to the top of the mountain was a real problem.

Though there has been work done at the park periodically, the investment to get the thing back up and running would be substantial.

Resurrection, you see, is a delicate process.

Ghost Town in the Sky
In this photo. Ghost Town actors perform a “shoot out” on Main Street during the park’s brief resurrection in 2007. Smoky Mountain News says that many of the old buildings will be rehabbed and become mixed-use retail/condos (photo submitted by Gary and Carol Cox circa 2007)

What will a rehabilitated Ghost Town in The Sky look like?

The good folks over at Smoky Mountain News claim to have been speaking to one of the developers on the condition of anonymity for the past couple of years.

The full article, which can be read here, details a mixed-use retail/residential development.

The article claims that old buildings will be rehabbed and will be “almost indistinguishable” from their original facades of the 1960s. The bottom floor of these buildings will become home to shops and boutiques and the second floor will eventually being sold or leased for residential use.

No word yet on what will become of the rides.

The article also talks about the erection of a new hotel at the base of Buck Mountain and the need for an overall better infrastructure that would support and promote Maggie Valley as the tourist destination it was always meant to become.

For instance, it is estimated that over 200 employees would be required to run the resurrected Ghost Town in the Sky. Meaning that 200 families would require affordable housing in the area.

The area is also in need of restaurants, a grocery store and an urgent care facility to support a local economy, that could in-turn support the park.

The North Carolina based Smoky Mountain News promises to offer the exclusive as further details emerge.

Ghost Town In The Sky coaster
Many of the structures from Ghost Town in the Sky remain on the property, like the infamous Red Devil Cliffhanger. No word yet on whether or not the old rides will remain, if new rides will be installed as replacements, or a combination of both (photo submitted by Gary and Carol Cox, circa 2007)

When will Ghost Town in the Sky Reopen?

A timeline for reopening the park is unclear and, in fairness, there will remain a heavy level of skepticism as previous attempts have looked promising only to fail.

The process will be fascinating, even if they get the doors open.

Why did Ghost Town close in the first place?

At one time, Ghost Town served as a worthy rival to the pre-Dollywood Silver Dollar City/Goldrush Junction theme parks. But as Dollywood and Pigeon Forge soared, the Ghost Town began fading.

As beautiful as Maggie Valley is, it couldn’t attract the number of tourists needed to support the park. And as the park cut corners to keep things open, rides and services began to fail, trapping Ghost Town Village in a vicious cycle in which it had to fight to stay alive.

Read Also: There’s a real ‘ghost town in the sky’ on top of a mountain in Maggie Valley, NC

Now, 20 years after the park closed for the first time, and roughly 30 to 35 years after the park began its decline, there’s an effort to bring it back.

It would be wonderful for Maggie Valley to have the park back. It would be wonderful for Western North Carolina and the region in general.

Tourists enjoy a show at the Ghost Town Saloon (photo courtesy of Gary and Carol Cox, circa 2007)
Guests enjoy a show at the Ghost Town Saloon (photo courtesy of Gary and Carol Cox, circa 2007)

The nostalgia factor alone would be awesome. There are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people who grew up going to Maggie Valley who would love to share that experience with their kids or, more likely, their grandkids.

Ultimately, the effort will be a fascinating test case in the power of nostalgia.

In theory, if this plan works it could mean new life for legacy entertainment options throughout the region. Places with strong history that through bad breaks or a bad management decision got caught in a downward spiral in a competitive business and couldn’t bounce back.

But until the doors open and we see how things go, we’re left to speculate.

You can build it, but will they come? Let us know 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 info@thesmokies.com for questions or comments.

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40 thoughts on “When will Ghost Town in the Sky reopen: The latest 2021 update”

  1. So many wonderful memories from my childhood include Ghosr Town! From the chair lift to the little stuffed bears my parents bought me as a child! It would be great to share this experience with my own child! I hope this happens soon!!!

  2. I have such wonderful memories of Ghost Town. Would love to be able to takes the whole family there

  3. My parents took me to Ghost Town in the Sky at least two times when I was very young. I still remember the gun fights! Must have been in the mid 60s. I’m 65 now and would love to take my grandkids.

  4. My grandparents took me to Ghost as a child and I still remember the gun fights and loved every bit of it. I would love to be able to take my kids and share those memories as my grandparents shared with me.

  5. I remember going as a child back when child stars would appear in the summer. I met Jon Provost who played Timmy in the 60’s show, Lassie. We also took our son when he was 3 (in 1983). Sad to see it closed and abandoned, now.

  6. I look forward to the day it comes back to life to see the Indians dance was out of this world so friendly

  7. I remember the gun fights and riding the sky lifts with my mom and grandparents when I was really young and I would love to share my experience with my Family and Grandkids.. I will never forget this place!! It’s so AWESOME!!

  8. I remember going there when I was super young! My wife and I drove by it a few months ago and was sad to see it looking so desolate. I sure hope that it gets revived. I’d love to take my little boy and girl there!!

  9. If they can’t open up with rides.Make it a western town with rooms to rent in western style buildings .Have a saloon bar etc .general store to shop etc..Like the old west.Have a sheriff etc.would be cool.

  10. Would love to go back. We liked the gun show and watching the Indian dancing.We drive out there every time we’re in the mountains in hope it has opened again.

  11. Great memories as a very small child. Made a lasting impression. Well over 35 years ago. Would love to take our grandchildren.

  12. I think if you rebuild re-open people will come I have a lot of great memories of that place and I would love to continue taking my kids Buck Mountain

  13. So many good memories at ghost town…I got to go growing up and my children !I’m hoping I can take my grandkids one day

  14. Loved maggie vally ghost town went with my family want to have that wonderful time with my family it was wonderful hope it opens real soon

  15. Lots of fun and exciting times with my family growing up and would love to share it with my grandchildren. So yes please open back up soon.

  16. Would love to see it open back up.. I went there every summer when was a child and even in teenage years.. I loved the rides and gun fights..

  17. I went there as a kid. My favorite part was the ride that took you up the side of the mountain to get there. I would love to take my family there now. It was truly a hidden treasure.

  18. Went when my kids were small every year. Would now tske the granddaughter too. Loely memories from there and wznt to make many more. We go over the mountain each yr and pass by there. Would love to live in the area aswell

  19. Loved going there when it was open, sure hope it does reopen, I’d love to take my kids there, such great memories going there

  20. I loved it when I went there with 2 of my younger sisters. We had a blast! My husband and I went and liked it. I would love to take my sister’s grands there. They would love it! Please reopen.

  21. I took my son there a few times. We both loved it. We live in South Carolina so it’s very close. Would love to go and see the show’s again. Please keep me posted.

  22. I’d love to go back again my grandparents to me several times as a child. I would love to take my son and I’d love to enjoy it myself again.

  23. My hubby and I went there during our 1 year anniversary trip and we loved it. Would love to see it reopen so we can take the kids up there to see it.

  24. Please reopen ghost town has great memories for my kids and grandkids would love to go there on vacation again

  25. Im 56 now and still remember going there bout every year when I was young with my parents and sister and brother. loved the shoot outs as well as the lift and more . I prefer it over Dollywood anytime .

  26. YES , EVERYONE IS JUST WAITING . THERE IS NO OTHER ATTRACTION , THAT HAS THE GREAT MEMORYS AND DREAMS OF GOING BACK, WITH OUR FAMILYS AND FRIENDS. RIDES ARE NOT INPORTANT . JUST TO VISIT OLD WESTERN TOWN WITH ACTION SHOWS IS PERFECT . WE NEED THIS TO COME BACK ASAP . YOU WILL MAKE US OLD TIMERS HAPPY TO VISIT . AND THEN OUR KIDS WILL FOLLOW THAT DREAM . COUNTRY MUSIC INDIAN DANCE SOLOON SHOW, YES COWBOYS SHOWS , WESTERN SHOWS . WE WILL COME , OPEN UP THOUSANDS WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN ,,, JUST WAITING FOR THAT DAY HOPE IT WILL BE SUMMER OF 2021… SHOP AND FOOD SHOWS AND MUSIC , LOVE TO SEE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN HOME OF OLD WESTERN SHOWS , GHOST TOWN IN THE SKY , BETTER THEN EVER … OPEN UP, WE WILL SHOW UP. BEST SHOW EVER FOR ALL TO SEE.

  27. I loved Ghost Town in the Sky. Brings back so many great memories of going with my parents. I remember the ride up the side of the mountain on the chairlift, the dancing Can-Can girls in the saloon, the gun fights and having my picture taken on the stage coach. I’d love to be able to make new memories there with my grandchildren.

  28. It would be absolutely amazing for Ghost Town to be alive and thriving once again. To walk down the main street while dance hall girls entertain us to “Buffalo Girl come out tonight” at the Silver Dollar Saloon or to “Frankie & Johnny” is sang at the Red Dog Saloon. Then the streets clear & 6 guns ring out from outlaws shooting it out with the sheriff after robbing the bank. My childhood was spent there, summer after summer, never getting tiring or boring year after year.

  29. My parents took me and my siblings several times when we were growing up. Have been wishing for years it would reopen so I could see it again. I am now 60 but still young at heart. Remember the gunfights, saloon showgirls, the graveyard with the wacky headstones, the old church which held sunday sermons, a man that did a one man musical show. I loved going. One thing they might want to consider adding for the children is a small petting zoo. Goats, rabbits, miniature ponies, even homeless pets for potential adoption. Just a suggestion.

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