10 Things to Know Before Visiting the Gatlinburg Airlift

There is something intriguing about landlocked states like Tennessee. On the one hand, those who visit it mean that they are eager, and for that, they are rewarded gems nurtured by the borders of the state. As such, they will be provided with experiences that not all travelers get to experience, such as being embraced by the warm presence of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.



There is a mountain town in the Voluntary State that welcomes tourists to its scenic attractions. Gatlinburg’s location near the park makes it a favorite vacation town, with most of its sites focused on taking in views of the Smoky Mountains. There’s the Gatlinburg Space Needle observation deck, the Ober ski slopes, and the adrenaline-pumping Anakeesta theme park. What takes the cake, however, is the Gatlinburg Sky Bridge, where the Smokies and the sky seem close at hand.

10 Tickets and hours of operation

Gatlinburg SkyLift Park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the summer and until 9 p.m. during the winter, spring, and select holidays. It operates from 9 am to 10 pm during the fall from Sunday to Thursday and until 9 pm on other days. The park recommends buying tickets in advance. You have four ticket options ranging from $32.95 to $61.94 (combo with Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!) for adults and $18.95 to $35.94 (combo) for children ages four to 11. Whatever you choose, the fun is guaranteed.


9 When to visit the Gatlinburg Airlift?

The Great Smokies are always a welcome sight, so visiting the Gatlinburg Sky Bridge can be enjoyed any time of year. However, others recommend heading to this Tennessee attraction from September through October in time for fall. September is also the area’s off-season, so those who want to be away from the crowds should consider this. As with other destinations, it’s best visited early in the morning, but staying at night will give guests a unique view of the bridge when it’s lit up, literally and figuratively.

Related: This is the best time to visit Gatlinburg (and how to avoid the crowds)


8 Are there restrictions?

There are no height or weight requirements, and tourists just need to have the desire to explore the park from the entrance to the top. However, those with medical conditions are reminded that there is a part of the park where they will need to use a ladder. Parts of the park are wheelchair accessible except for the bridge. Children, the elderly and dogs are welcome on the bridge, with precautions for everyone’s safety. Gatlinburg Sky Bridge is a place of fun that everyone should experience.

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7 What to expect?

The Gatlinburg Sky Bridge is nearly 700 feet long, making it the longest of its kind on the continent. That alone is enough to get travelers excited. Add its height of 1,800 feet above sea level, and the bridge is the best seat in town to appreciate the Smokies. In the middle of the path, there is a glass floor that will excite thrill seekers. The question, however, is whether tourists have the guts to “pass the glass.” From end to end, the bridge means business when enjoying the mountainous scenery and Gatlinburg.


6 How to get to the bridge?

Traveling is not always about the destination but about the journey. In the case of Gatlinburg, the bridge is the main attraction, but the drive up to it is just as impressive. Aboard the Sky Lift, tourists will have stunning views of the city as they slowly arrive at majestic Crockett Mountain. The ride can be shared by up to three people, making it a perfect bonding moment for couples and friends. The chairlift has been in operation since 1954, making it a staple when visiting Gatlinburg.

5 What if tourists are afraid of heights?

There’s no sugar-coating: The “fear factor” is high when those with a fear of heights visit the Gatlinburg Sky Bridge. Either way, if you’re ready to conquer your fear, Gatlinburg is the best place to be. Walking across the bridge is a challenge, especially when tourists arrive on the glass floor. However, if they make it to the end successfully, they will have satisfying memories to take home: that of conquering their fear and the inspiring scenery. An 80-year-old woman who overcame her fear of heights on the bridge is proof of that.


4 the views are awesome

In addition to the bridge, the park has a gazebo with chairs. This is perfect for those who want to start or end the day with stunning views and drinks in hand. The SkyDeck is located at the top of Crockett Mountain, an incredible place to take in the sights and sounds of the city and the Smokies. Tourists should imagine this: while sitting with a loved one, hands clasped, they will have the setting sun as the perfect “third wheel”. Nothing beats that.

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3 There is a hiking trail

The surprises at Gatlinburg SkyLift Park keep coming because in addition to the lift, bridge and platform, it also has a hiking trail. Everything is picturesque in this Tennessee destination, so a hike is a must. The ⅓-mile trail has the bridge and mountain scenery as a backdrop, making it a great photo spot. Hikers can start their easy hike from the SkyDeck and then along the boardwalk which will take them up the hillside and then under the bridge. After which, they can visit the Tulip Tower, a 70-foot steel structure with viewing platforms. They can then finish their ride along a non-boardwalk path where more views of the Smokies await.


two nearby attractions

Another observation point in Gatlinburg is the Space Needle, a 400-foot observation deck with glass elevators where taking in the sights and sounds of the city and Smokies is a treat. After sightseeing, families with kids can head to Anakeesta Theme Park for thrilling adventures, or to Gatlin’s miniature golf course for a quick hole-in-one. Tourists can also wander around the city after visiting attractions such as the Hollywood Star Cars Museum, the Salt and Pepper Shakers Museum, and the theaters, among others. It seems that Gatlinburg has it all.

Related: 10 Free Things to Do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee


1 Where to stay?

When tourists can’t get enough of Gatlinburg’s freebies, an overnighter is a must. There are several accommodations in the city; some of them offer more views of the Smokies. Gatlinburg Falls Resort, for example, is surrounded by forests that complement the stunning mountain scenery. The Lodge at Buckberry Creek, meanwhile, prides itself on rustic accommodations that are perfect for a day out in the Smokies. There are plenty of other lodging options in Gatlinburg, and wherever tourists stay, a good night’s sleep is guaranteed.

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