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Soar through the Mountains in Anakeesta

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Thanks to Gatlinburg CVB for this amazing trip to the Smoky Mountains for the complimentary passes to Anakeesta. All opinions shared are 100% my own.

If you want to truly enjoy yourself on a day in Gatlinburg, can I tell you all about Anakeesta — the theme park in the mountains? We were invited to hang here for the day and enjoy all the attractions they have to offer and I must tell you — I am 100% impressed with this place!

The day at Anakeesta started at the bottom of the mountain. We got our bracelets and definitely had to get some photo opps in. There are many Instagram worthy image spots at the base, so get those in before heading up!

Take the Chondola or the Ridge Rambler to the Top!

There are only two ways to get to Anakeesta — you can take the chair lift, the Chondola, or ride on the Ridge Rambler.

The chondola are enclosed boxes that you can ride in if you like to feel secure. 

While the chondolas are okay (we took it on the way down because there was a storm coming and we did not want to get wet), my favorite was the chair lift!

I love looking at nature and being in the open was just a breath of fresh air for me! The ride up or down takes about 20-30 minutes.

However, if neither of these options are okay for you, don't worry! Anakeesta now has the Ridge Rambler and is perfect for all of us that don't like heights.

At no extra cost, your ascent will begin by boarding the all-new adventure trucks at the Chondola base station, then enjoy the ride along a forested path to the summit.

Your journey will feature an audio tour, where a guide will share fun facts about the unique history, animals, forest, and plant life of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Once you are at the top, that is when the fun really begins!

There are so many amazing things to do once you arrive at the top of Anakeesta.

Tree Canopy Walk

Once you get your bracelet on, pretty much everything up top is included in the admission. One of those things is The Tree Canopy Walk.

We took the entire walk through the mountains, strolling along all 16 hanging bridges — and they are more than 40 feet in the air!

One thing you should know about Anakeesta is that YES — it is in the heart of the mountains, so you will definitely spot a bear or two in the area. In fact, there are 3 resident bears that visit every day.

But don't worry — they never bother the people — and it is amazing to get a close-up look at them in their natural habitat.

Vista Gardens

One of our favorite parts about visiting Anakeesta was taking a walk through Vista Gardens.

The gardens here are lush and full of all kinds of waterfalls, beautiful flowers — and my daughter's favorite — the twigloos!

The twigloos are built by a resident artist and make for amazing backdrops for pictures, and the kids love them. There is even one that many people visit and propose marriage. 

The walk through Vista Gardens offers such a serene place to sit and just relax and take in the beautiful mountainside. It is simply breathtaking.

You will also find The Memorial Forest Walk which is an Interpretive Trail that serves as a memorial of the devastating wildfires that blew through Gatlinburg in November 2016. The south side of Anakeesta Mountain was badly burned and this is the area this memorial is located.

Of course, you cannot leave the Vista Gardens without taking a photo with Willow Man. He is the highlight of the garden if you ask me!

The Dueling Zipline

Okay – now here is where the fun happens. If you are up for a true adventure, Smoky Mountain Style, then you MUST book a dueling zipline ride (not included in your Anakeesta admission).

I decided on this trip I was going to live my life to the fullest and I chose to zipline for the first time in my life. I will be 45 in a couple of weeks so this was an absolute freeing moment for me. 

I have never felt so free and so liberated like I did flying through the mountains with my daughter. We wound up in the end coming in at a tie — but it was the most fun either of us had had in a very long time.

Ride the Rail Runner

We had plans to ride the Rail Runner, but a storm was coming and we did not want to get caught on top of the mountain, so we headed back down.

About the Rail Runner:

Anakeesta’s new single-rail mountain coaster is the first of its kind in the United States! As a single-rail line, riders can ride lower to the ground on a single track creating a thrilling and unique experience as you race through the trees while flying down the mountain. It also allows you to control your own speed so if you prefer a slower pace you can do that too!

The Anakeesta Rail Runner (not included in your Anakeesta admission) takes you on an exhilarating downhill ride with a 400 ft. elevation change and can hit speeds of 25 mph. The ride begins with 1,600 feet of downhill twists and turns and ends with a scenic uphill ride back to the top of Anakeesta Mountain. Riders can ride solo or tandem with a small child. The Rail Runner carts feature back and headrests for a comfortable and safe ride.

Grab Something to Eat Before You Leave

Anakeesta has a ton of food options while you visit. There are restaurants, ice cream shops, and they also have souvenir shops as well.

But my favorite are the food trucks! Since it was still pretty early in the day, none of us were hungry, but we wanted coffee, so we hit up A Little Coffee and got iced ones for the road. 

It was absolutely delicious! To see what all kinds of places they have to eat at the top, click here.

Pricing

To visit Anakeesta, the pricing is very budget friendly!

  • Adults: {12-59} $21.99
  • Children: {4-11} $17.99
  • Seniors: {60+} $19.99

Included in the price of admission is Anakeesta’s Chondola ride, Ridge Rambler military vehicle ride, elevated 16-bridge Treetop Skywalk, Treehouse Village Adventure, Overlook Event Area, Vista Gardens Walk, Memorial Forest Walk with interpretive signs, shopping and dining opportunities at Firefly Village, and the most gorgeous scenic views in all of Gatlinburg.

Extra ticket costs:

  • Rail Runner: $12.99
  • Dueling Zipline: $29.99 (adult) $25.99 (kids)

They do offer group tickets, so if you have a group or youth or church group — be sure and reach out to them because they can offer you an amazing discount.

Planning on Visiting Gatlinburg soon? Check out these other posts

CONTACT

865-221-7157

576 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

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