10 Ways You Can Conquer Your Fears At The Skybridge in Gatlinburg Tennessee
10 Ways You Can Conquer Your Fears at the SkyBridge in Gatlinburg Tennessee
“I’m not scared of heights. I’m just scared of falling from heights.” – John Zakour
Just about everyone has experienced the fear of heights at one time another in his or her life – with the possible exception of celebrated rock climber Alex Honnold, who completed the first free solo (without ropes) of El Capitan, an iconic, 3,000-foot rockface in Yosemite National Park in 2017. Is it any wonder then that Vertigo, a 1958 Alfred Hitchcock thriller dealing with acrophobia (extreme feat of heights) recently topped the Sight & Sound list of “The 50 Greatest Films of All Time”? In fact, being afraid of heights is a perfectly rational fear and trails only arachnophobia (fear of spiders) and ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) on the list of “10 Most Common Phobias” by WorldAtlas. Those adventurous travelers who are looking for things to do in Gatlinburg, and want to test their mettle when it comes to facing their fear of heights or those who just out to get a total adrenaline rush will want to experience the new Gatlinburg SkyBridge at Gatlinburg SkyLift Park!
Billed as the “Most Spectacular Experience in the Smokies,” Gatlinburg SkyBridge, which opened at SkyLift Park in May 2019, stretches 680 feet (the length of nearly two football fields), making it the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. In addition, the SkyBridge’s five-foot-wide path suspends 140 feet above the ground at its highest point and features 15 feet of glass-floor panels at its center. Believe it or not, the SkyBridge was designed to hold more than 200,000 pounds. To top it off, the SkyBridge offers spectacular views of both downtown Gatlinburg and the surrounding Great Smoky Mountains. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park is ideally located at 765 Parkway in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, less than 10 minutes from Westgate Smoky Mountain, and just across the street from Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium (a SkyLift Park + Ripley’s combo ticket is available for purchase). Note that there is no parking available at the base of Gatlinburg SkyLift Park, but two public parking lots are located just a short walk away.
In order to experience the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, you first need to purchase a ticket for the Gatlinburg SkyLift (AKA “The Best Seat in Gatlinburg”), a three-seat chairlift that will take you 500 vertical feet up Crockett Mountain to the SkyDeck, which features a large observation area, snack bar and gift shop. There is no extra charge for the SkyBridge once you have bought your all-day SkyLift Park access ticket (adult tickets are $20 when purchased online). Fall hours for the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park are daily between 9 AM and 10 PM. By the way, SkyLift Park tickets are valid for the entire day. Note that pets and service animals are not allowed on the SkyLift and the SkyBridge is not wheelchair accessible.
So, do you think you’re brave enough to cross the Gatlinburg SkyBridge? If you’re having any second doubts, here are 10 ways you can conquer your fears at the SkyBridge:
1 | Work Up to It | If you’re apprehensive about attempting the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, try taking the Gatlinburg SkyLift back and forth a couple of times first as kind of a warm-up measure for your SkyBridge crossing attempt. Or simply get your nerve up by going for a scenic hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most-visited national park in the United States, which lies just minutes from Gatlinburg SkyLift Park. Popular hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park include Laurel Falls Trail, Gatlinburg Trail, Rich Mountain Loop Trail, Little River Trail, Ramsey Cascades Trail, Alum Cave Trail, Abrams Falls Trail and Trillium Gap Trail to Grotto Falls. In addition, don’t miss the opportunity to take the 1-mile round-trip hike up to the top of the observation tower at Clingmans Dome (which at 6,643 feet is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park).
2 | Focus on the Photos | To ease your mind as you make our way across Gatlinburg SkyBridge, focus on getting the perfect Instagram-worthy shot instead of looking down in order to help calm your nerves. In fact, during your adventures on both the SkyLift and SkyBridge, you will discover endless interesting photo opportunities that will help serve to revitalize your Instagram feed. Don’t forget to maintain a tight grip on your smartphone while taking selfies on the SkyBridge or it may very well be gone with the wind!
3 | Move Faster When You Get to the Glass | Once you get to the 15 feet of glass-floor panels on Gatlinburg SkyBridge, congratulate yourself, take a deep breath and relax since you know you’ve reached the halfway point (along with the highest point of SkyBridge at 140 feet above the ground). Therefore, you should be relieved with the knowledge that once you get past those daunting three glass-floor panels, you’ve made it through the toughest section of SkyBridge (of course remember that you’ll have to cross back over when you get to the other side!).
4 | Go with a Group | Nothing can ease your fears and increase your motivation to cross the Gatlinburg SkyBridge then to experience the immensely popular Gatlinburg attraction with a group – whether it’s just a bunch of friends, family reunion, youth group, church retreat, corporate outing or other special event. So, book a group rate at a nearby Gatlinburg resort, gather the whole gang and head out to Gatlinburg SkyLift Park for an unforgettable adventure during your Smokies getaway!
5 | Visit at Night | There’s something special about darkness and the dazzling lights of downtown Gatlinburg below will help offset your fears about Gatlinburg SkyBridge if you visit Gatlinburg SkyLift Park in the evening. Keep in mind that during the fall the ticket window closes at 9 PM, SkyBridge closes at 9:30 PM and the Park itself closes at 10 PM.
6 | Prove You’re a True Romantic | With its combination of thrilling adventure and scenic beauty, Gatlinburg SkyBridge serves as the perfect destination for a romantic day trip in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. Turn it into a romantic weekend getaway with a stay at a Gatlinburg resort and a drive through Cades Cove (a one-way, 11-mile loop road) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Top it off with a tour of a local Gatlinburg winery such as Little Bear Winery, Sugarland Cellars, Tennessee Homemade Wines, Gatlinburg Wine Cellar, Smoky Mountain Winery or Goodwater Winery Gatlinburg.
7 | Pet the Bear for Luck | Once you take the Gatlinburg SkyLift and reach SkyDeck, you will notice life-size statues of a bear and two cubs at the observation area. According to mountain legend, visitors to Gatlinburg SkyLift Park who pet the bear will summon the courage to cross SkyBridge with total confidence. Whether or not this legend has any validity is up for heated debate, but at the very least it’s another great opportunity to get an Instagram-worthy shot before you take the SkyBridge challenge! By the way, approximately 1,500 black bears call Great Smoky Mountains National Park their home. Some of the best places to spot black bears in the Park include Cades Cove, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Newfound Gap Road, Cataloochee Valley and Little River Road, which runs 18 miles between the Sugarlands Visitor Center and the entrance to Cades Cove. Always keep in mind this important warning posted on the official Great Smoky Mountains National Park website: “Bears are wild animals that are dangerous and unpredictable. Do not approach bears or allow them to approach you!”
8 | Reach for a Reward | Plan to reward yourself for conquering Gatlinburg SkyBridge by enjoying an ice-cold beer, glass of wine or your favorite cocktail afterward! Head down to Drafts Burger Bar, a combination brew pub and burger bar at River Terrace Resort and Convention Center that lies less than a half-mile from SkyLift Park and features a nice selection of beers on tap, specialty cocktails, frozen drinks and wines by the glass. Other downtown Gatlinburg bars to consider include Hogg’s Upstairs Taverne, Puckers Sports Grill, Smoky Mountain Brewery, LandShark Bar & Grill and Blaine’s Grill & Bar, among others.
9 | Dress up for It! | Are you absolutely terrified by the prospect of crossing Gatlinburg SkyBridge? Why not increase the levity of the situation by dressing up in an outrageous Halloween costume just for kicks and dance your way across SkyBridge with wild abandon? That’s exactly what a Georgia pastor who was afraid of heights did recently as he donned a chicken suit and performed a chicken dance right in the middle of SkyBridge as a charity stunt (raising $12,000 for the church’s ministry in the process!).
10 | Stay Close By | If you stay at a Gatlinburg resort or hotel that offers easy access to SkyLift Park, you can conveniently cross the Gatlinburg SkyBridge first thing in the morning before the crowds arrive and then return later in the day to experience a beautiful sunset. Whether you are looking for a full-service resort or a budget hotel, you will find accommodations in Gatlinburg to suit your needs such as Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa just outside downtown Gatlinburg, River Terrace Resort and Convention Center in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg and Wild Bear Inn in nearby Pigeon Forge.
Take the Gatlinburg SkyBridge Challenge!
Simply one of the most popular Gatlinburg attractions in the Great Smoky Mountains, the Gatlinburg SkyBridge offers thrills and spectacular views for all ages! So, make plans today to visit the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains so you can check out all of the wonderful attractions at Gatlinburg SkyLift Park, as well as things to do in downtown Gatlinburg and the natural beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. And look to our comprehensive travel blog for up-to-date information on our Gatlinburg resorts and hotels in Gatlinburg, as well as the most popular restaurants and attractions in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville.
At Westgate Resorts, when you Check-In, there’s a LOT to Check-Out! Your Gatlinburg vacation awaits! Explore our Gatlinburg resorts today or talk with a vacation planner at 888-852-2959 or 407-355-2690.
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