Escape the crowds in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for a true mountaintop adventure on the summit of Anakeesta Mountain. Only accessible by open chair lift, enclosed gondola, or via an Anakeesta’s Ridge Rambler adventure truck, the 70-acre immersive nature and amusement park sits 600 feet above the main Parkway in Gatlinburg.
“At Anakeesta, it’s all about celebrating the natural beauty of our region,” says Marshall Smith, marketing manager at Anakeesta. “We aim to highlight an authentic Smoky Mountain experience throughout many different seasons and our variety of outdoor experiences.”
Anakeesta’s treetop adventures are nestled within the Smoky Mountains alongside a lush botanical garden and among a backdrop of sweeping forest views. The park features two full-service restaurants and bars, snack shops, and plenty of shopping and entertainment.
Sightseers will experience a different perspective of the national park along the Treetop Skywalk, an 880-foot series of 16 hanging bridges that towers more than 50 feet above the forest floor. Or, to see what it’s like to peer down from the highest vantage point in Gatlinburg, the AnaVista Tower gives visitors a complete 360-degree open-air view of downtown and the surrounding mountain foliage at 1,947 feet above sea level.
“We also have a bunch of different adventure elements such as the BearVenture and TreeVenture Challenge courses, which is a series of three different levels of obstacle courses that the kids can run through and explore,” Smith says.
Groups of 20 or more receive a 20% discount on general admission tickets and discounted pricing for a la carte experiences, including Astra Lumina, the Rail Runner Mountain Coaster, and the exciting Dueling Zipline Adventure.
“Our new Astra Lumina experience is the first of its kind in the United States—and it’s truly an awesome experience,” Smith adds. “Visitors will experience an immersive night walk through the woods while surrounded by light and sound projections from every direction.”
More to Explore in Gatlinburg
There are endless ways to adventure in and around Gatlinburg, including these three can’t-miss group attractions:
- SkyLand Ranch—Experience southern charm in the Smokies at this mountain-top ranch. The 100-acre property features two 5,000-square-foot barns with food, drinks, shopping, a 1,000-seat amphitheater, and three pastures with live animals like miniature horses, goats, and sheep.
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies—Go face-to-face with more than 10,000 exotic sea creatures and 350 species of fish and aquatic animals. Live dive shows, the Penguin Playhouse, and the 340-foot underwater tunnel inside the Shark Lagoon are just a few highlights.
- Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery—Sip moonshine at the first federally licensed moonshine distillery in Tennessee. From Ole Smoky’s Original Unaged Corn Whiskey to its sweet Moonshine Cherries, the flavors, scents, and sounds of authentic distilling turn moonshine into memories.
Article by Erica Zazo
Main image: AnaVista Tower; credit: Anakeesta