Since 1954, the iconic yellow chairs of the Gatlinburg SkyLift have carried visitors to the top of Crockett Mountain, offering beautiful views of the Smokies. Today, visitors can experience a walk across the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge on the continent.
Surely, walking on a 680-foot-long, 140-foot-high bridge is a memorable moment, a noteworthy achievement, and the best spot for fantastic photographs. Furthermore, the new SkyDeck and adjacent SkyCenter provide a place to rejuvenate and relax with unparalleled mountain views.
According to the SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team, SkyLift Park has a long history of excitement and is one of Gatlinburg’s premier attractions that should not be missed!
Keep on reading to find out all about Gatlinburg’s SkyLift Park.
SkyLift Information and History
The original attraction consisted of a Sugar Bowl Ski Area lift that was carefully dismantled and transported to a Studebaker dealership in Michigan for rebuilding. It took some effort to bring the final product to Gatlinburg, but the project eventually was a success. As the first chairlift in the Dixie region, it has been attracting its fair share of attention until today.
The Gatlinburg Sky Lift is directly across the street from Ripley’s Believe It or Not in downtown Gatlinburg and is one of the oldest continuously operated attractions in the Smoky Mountains. In May of 2019, the new version of this vintage attraction opened. With the combination of SkyLift, SkyBridge, and SkyDeck, the park provides visitors with panoramic views of the surrounding Smoky Mountain and the quaint town of Gatlinburg below.
The long history of the SkyLift is immediately evident to all who visit it today. However, recently the attraction has entered a new era, bringing even more opportunities to locals and tourists.
From an updated lift to a beautiful observation deck, there’s plenty to love about the latest edition of the SkyLift. Perhaps the most impressive attraction is the vast pedestrian bridge, the SkyBridge, that offers some of the most awe-inspiring sights in the Smoky Mountains region. Reaching the new addition to the park still requires participating in the time-honored tradition of riding the chairlift, bringing new and old together in the ultimate blend of Gatlinburg fun.
Things to do at SkyLift Park
Although the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park consists of several attractions, it’s named for this particular lift. It is a classic Smoky Mountain excursion, meaning you should not miss this fantastic attraction. Beginning in the heart of Gatlinburg, this ride will take you up to the top of Crockett Mountain for a vertical ascension of 500 feet.
While the SkyLift has been around for decades, its current edition was built in 2018. Each chair has three spacious seats and a bar that drops down in front of riders to lend an extra sense of security. While there is no weight limit, visitors are encouraged to take the lift alone or in groups of two when necessary to ensure maximum comfort.
The round-trip ride lasts about twenty minutes, but it is recommended to stop at the top of the mountain and check out the other attractions.
The SkyBridge offers high-adrenaline moments, stunning scenery, and an unforgettable experience. The bridge stretches 680 feet allowing visitors to explore at their own pace while taking in the natural beauty of the Smokies. The bridge reaches a height of 140 feet at its midpoint, offering an excellent view and a surprisingly accessible experience. Glass panels at the midpoint of the bridge provide all-around visibility. If nothing else, the attraction is worth checking out for its claim as North America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge.
Enjoy another lovely view of the Smoky Mountains while relaxing on the SkyDeck. This viewing spot was added in 2019 to offer easy access to the area’s most impressive scenery. It is the best viewing point to take in the breathtaking panorama from the comfort of a patio chair.
To fully enjoy, complement these vistas with the tasty snacks and craft beer available in the cafe. The SkyDeck experience is so relaxing that you’ll be tempted to stick around all day. Once you’ve gotten your fill of spectacular scenery, stop by the gift shop for a keepsake.
The Gatlinburg SkyTrail is a scenic walkway connecting each end of the SkyBridge, providing the opportunity to leisurely hike in the mountains while relishing unique views of the famous SkyBridge. At just over one-third of a mile in length, the SkyTrail is a lovely walk for adults, kids, and even dogs, offering three distinct sections.
The Elevated Boardwalk is a wooden walkway leading from the SkyDeck back along the hillside of the ravine that cuts under the SkyBridge. Along the way, interactive signage provides information about the engineering of the SkyBridge, the history of the iconic Gatlinburg SkyLift, and the wildfires of 2016 that damaged parts of the Crockett Mountain where the SkyTrail stands today.
The Tulip Tower is a 70′ steel tower in the back of the ravine accessed by two rope bridges and features four viewing points. There is a unique story behind the theme and story of this tower. Thus it is a fantastic spot and opportunity to explore with your family. At the top of the tower, you can enjoy the beautiful views of the Smokies and the iconic SkyBridge.
The Path is the non-boardwalk portion of the trail cut into the natural hillside extending from the Tulip Tower across to the west end of the SkyBridge with views of the Smoky Mountains from every step. This section highlights the spectacular engineering marvel of the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, along with the stunning panoramic views of the highest peaks in the Great Smoky Mountains.
The SkyCenter is located on the SkyDeck at the top of Crockett Mountain, overlooking the town with panoramic views into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
First, get your souvenir photo in the yellow SkyLift chair, a tradition dating back to the early 1950s. The first floor of the SkyCenter also features the SkyCafe and a gift shop, while the second floor boasts an enormous seating area and bar with the finest views in town. Sit inside to cool off on a hot day or outside on the front deck overlooking Gatlinburg and simply marvel at the incredible views.
How much does the SkyLift in Gatlinburg cost?
Tickets to the SkyLift park include the SkyLift ride up the mountain, access to the SkyBridge, the new SkyDeck, SkyCenter, and SkyTrail. All together cost only $31.95 with discounts for seniors and children ages four to eleven. Children under four have free access.
If you purchase or redeem your admission tickets after 8pm, you will also receive SkyLift Park access the very next day until closing time. A wristband must be presented on your wrist upon arrival the next day. In addition, there is no re-entry line, so all guests must go through the ticket-purchasing line to have their re-entry access granted.
The SkyLift Park is a long tradition among the people of Sevier County and the Smokies. The park is filled with relaxing and high-adrenaline activities for everyone. You can choose between an adventurous walk on the SkyBridge, a leisurely stroll on the SkyTrail, or a relaxing day marveling at the Smokies from the SkyDeck. No matter what your preferences are, SkyLift Park should definitely be on your bucket list.