Is Anakeesta Worth It?

My Honest Review of Anakeesta in Gatlinburg

Anakeesta zipliner glides by onlookers on the Treetop Skywalk

The building of the 47 million dollar project, now known as Anakeesta Adventure Park in downtown Gatlinburg, was a bright ray of hope right after the 2016 wildfires. After all the sadness and devastation, and amid the ashes that lay over the mountains, a glimmer of something new was on the horizon. 

The name doesn't really give a clue as to what it's all about.  The Cherokee natives of this area used the word to mean "place of the balsams" or "place of higher ground". 

So now it seems to make sense.  You can see the chair lifts and chondolas slowing taking you up on to this mountain as you walk and drive by, but what is at the top

And Wait...what's a Chondola? A chondola is a hybrid chairlift and gondola.  The chondola is enclosed (great for children and strollers ) and chairlift is open-air. Both rides are approximately 12 minutes each way and use the same lift line, at the same price.


Anakeesta is sometimes referred  to as the new sky lift in Gatlinburg. It's a magical tree house themed adventure park where one can play, eat, shop and relax.  So you'd like to know: Does it live up to the promise?

Anakeesta Ride to the top view of chairlifts and Firefly Village, Mountain view Gatlinburg Tennessee
Lady rides Anakeesta Rail Runner mountain coaster, Gatlinburg, TN

Ticket Prices (Check Anakeesta's Website for Price Updates)

As of the 2021 opening, prices are $24.99 for adults,  $21.99 for Seniors (60+) and  $17.99 kids 4-11 yrs old. This includes everything except the Rail Runner Mountain Coaster and Ziplines.  The Dueling Ziplines are additional and run between $25-$30  each.  

You can't get a refund once you buy your tickets but...if you have to cancel your visit, the tickets are good for 1 full year from when you buy them.

Also, if you buy a ticket 1 hour before closing, you can go the next day for free. 

(Adults are ages 12-59, Children are ages 4-11, and Seniors are ages 60+. Children 3 and under are free.)

How to get up to the top of Anakeesta Mountain?

Chairlift vs Chondolas vs Ridge Rambler 

There are 3 options to get up the mountain. You will want to consider the weather and children.


After riding the open chairlift, my personal opinion is I would not recommend an open chair for small and squirmy kids, anyone afraid of heights or with extreme anxiety.  The open air chairs have one safety bar and hold 4 people. The enclosed chondolas hold 6.  Consider riding in the Ridge Rambler - a 6- wheeled military vehicle - up and down the mountain for those afraid of heights.


I would not recommend flip flops on the open chair lift. Things, including cell phones and sunglasses can drop out of our laps and hands.  Something like this hands-free money belt would be really helpful.


Wheelchair access is available for chondolas.  I was pleased to hear that wheel chairs DO fit into the chondolas and a ramp is provided for entry and exiting it.  Most other activities on top of the mountain is also wheelchair accessible.  Also FREE wheelchairs are provided at the top.  The Treetop SkyWalk and Observation Tower are not, unfortunately, wheelchair accessible at this time.


If you have a service animal, you will definitely need a chondola. Otherwise, pets are not allowed.

*I've provided a map at the bottom of this page to get an idea of the park layout.

NEW FOR 2021

Observation Tower - NOW OPEN!  "AnaVista" Tower is a scenic tower with gorgeous 360 degree views. See photo below!  According to Anakeesta, the name "combines the inspiration of a flower opening towards the heavens from the “Vista” Gardens and its place atop “Ana”keesta". 

Tree Venture Challenge - NOW OPEN-  A Family Treehouse Adventure - Interactive play on multi-level treehouses.  Great for all ages!  

Splash pad - NOW OPEN-  This already very popular spot to cool off from the heat of the day is next to the newly renovated plaza with gorgeous Smoky Mountain views!

Clifftop Restaurant - NOW OPEN- Every seat with a view of Mount LeConte!

Anakeesta Tree Canopy Walk, Gatlinburg, TN
Anakeesta chondola Gatlinburg TN
Anakeesta tree canopy walk, Gatlinburg TN, forest and mountain views
Gnome houses at Anakeesta theme park in Gatlinburg Tn
Anakeesta Ridge Rambler Ride to top of mountain, Gatllinburg, tn
Anakeesta Clifftop Grill, Gatlinburg TN, dining area with mountain view

Firefly Village

These are the shops and places to eat that you will find upon arriving at the top.  Summit Smokehouse (did not try it but the food we saw looked delicious), Pearl's Pie in the Sky, Great Outdoor Trading Company, Catching Fireflies, and Adventure Outpost.


Adventure Outpost is where you can buy zipline tickets.  After zipping the 1,000 foot line you can repel down the side to the ground where an all terrain vehicle awaits to take you to the halfway point on the chairlift so you can ride back up the mountain.  Stairs are always an option for getting down if you don't want to repel down. 


We didn't go inside any of these on our visit there but we did have our photo taken on the trip up so that is also an option. According to the website, a photographer can be sent to photograph special occasions like a marriage proposal or other special occasion on the mountain.  Personally i think it would be a great spot for a proposal.

Memory Walk

I was very happy to see this included in the design.  This is a quiet spot on a hill that commemorates the wildfire impact.  Standing plaques with photos show different aspects of the fires and tell stories.  A wind chime was blowing in the breeze as we walked around the area. Very nice addition. The fires did impact the land Anakeesta was built on and delayed the construction due to trees burning and safety issues needing to be addressed.

See My 8 Incredible Cabin Picks Near Anakeesta


Anakeesta Mountain Coaster- Rail Runner

(Extra After Admission)

Intense, super-fast, exhilarating - made for adrenaline junkies, so be warned.  Solo or Tandem rides available, check website for current prices.

Single rail, low to the ground thrill ride. Must be under 270lbs and you will be weighed.  Speeds up to 25 MPH with hand brake controller to slow down.

Dueling Ziplines

(Extra After Admission)

Zipliners are overhead or zipping by as you explore the Treetop Skywalk.  We liked being able to watch them go. We didn't ride the zipline but I would have loved to! I think what makes it even more fun are the double lines side by side.  You can zip at the same time right next to whomever you choose and share the awesome experience!  It also makes for a great first time zip experience and beginner line.


Must be at least 7 years old. Any kids 12 and under will need to be with an adult. Weight limits are 70-270lbs.

Beautiful zip of 1,000+ foot line through the beautiful tree canopy (approximately 200 ft. above ground) and then repel down (or use the stairs) the side where your ride awaits to take you to the halfway point platform of the chair lift so you can go back up the mountain. No reservations needed. You will, however, need closed toed shoes.  Hair tying is recommended and small lockers are available if you should need one.  Also, no hand braking is required. 


Treetop Sky Walk

Really unique fun and relaxing part of the whole place.  Probably my favorite.  This is a series of bridges leading through a beautiful canopy of mountain trees.  It allows you enjoy the sights of the forest while watching others zipline overhead.

Gem Mining and Treehouse Themed Playground

Very kid friendly! Playground is free and it is a small fee for gem mining. A bag of gems can be purchased to take home. 


Tickets for all this can be bought in advance online but I would definitely check the weather forecast ahead and take a rain coat just to be safe!  Most everything is outdoors.



Anakeesta is open YEAR-ROUND.  During  JANUARY and FEBRUARY, they may have limited operating hours and days so call ahead!  Check for current open/close hours. 


The phone number is

865-325-2400 if you have questions.




Triple AAA 10%

Military an immediate family 10% 

Sevier County Locals 20%  (This is very good!)

Find 10% off coupons here

Discounts for Anakeesta and Other Attactions



576 Parkway at Traffic Light #5 in downtown Gatlinburg. Parking is available but sometimes scarce in Gatlinburg. If you cannot find parking at Anakeesta's lot, plan on paying for parking in one of the parking areas downtown. River Road is a good source for parking lots and random free roadside parking.  There are also parking garages at traffic light #3 and behind Ripley's Aquarium and across from Ole Red.


Comparing 3 Mountaintop Attractions


 Ober Gatlinburg Chairlift vs Anakeesta vs Gatlinburg Skylift Park


So you may be thinking, how are Ober Gatlinburg and Gatlinburg Skylift Park different from Anakeesta?

Any of these 3 are an excellent way to spend the day!  (Also check this new, more detailed info here)

They all take you up to a mountaintop for amazing fun. But the similarities end there. 

Some key differences are:


Ober GatlinburgAerial Tram or drive up, Individually priced activities. Tubing, Alpine Slide, Scenic Chairlift ride, Rock Wall, Blue Cyclone Rapids, Mini golf, Maze, shopping, food and more. (See website for full list) Chairlift is just one of the many activities at top, Many activities

Anakeesta - Chondola, Chairlift or Ridge Rambler up, General Admission tickets available + Extra for other activities such as Dueling Ziplines and Rail Runner Mountain Coaster.  Tree house themes, Observation Tower, Splash Pad, Treeventure Course, Shopping, Dining, and more (see website for full list) Chairlift takes you to a multitude of activities at top, Many activities

Gatlinburg Skylift Park - Chairlift up, Scenic ride up, Chairlift takes you up to the Skybridge Pedestrian Bridge,  SkyDeck, and SkyCenter for a bite and a drink.  SkyTrail walking bridge is also available.  Several Activities.



The above options are all excellent choices. It just depends on what you want to do, how much time you have and how much money you can spend on any given day.


Overall, I believe Anakeesta is definitely worth it! It is a great time for families, single adults, kids, or even large groups. There are alot of little touches, such as a community fire pit surrounded by rocking chairs and wildflowers growing on sides of slopes. It is unique, beautiful, and shows alot of promise for expansion in the future.  

Anakeesta Rock

Anakeesta rock is the beautiful rock that forms in the high altitudes of the mountains. Found on the crests of the Smoky Mountain tops, this rock was formed about a billion years ago from sediments in the ancient ocean waters. 



You can watch my video from Anakeesta when it first opened Here  

Here is my Anakeesta 2021 video

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Skylift vs Anakeesta vs Ober

Map of Anakeesta in Gatlinburg below

Willow Man at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg Tennessee, theme park attraction, kids playing
Anakeesta Gatlinburg Tennessee, kids playing in gem mine
Dueling Zipline platform
Tree Canopy Walk
Anakeesta Gatlinburg TN Ridge Rambler Ride to the Top

*Information can change at anytime - please confirm prices and

seasonal hours by visiting ahead of time

If you can't make it to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge or the Smoky Mountains right now, check out these live Smoky Mountain WEBCAMS