Bucket List: Walk the Longest Pedestrian Bridge in North America for Breathtaking Views in Gatlinburg, TN

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You can walk across the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the country in Gatlinburg, just a few hours away from Greenville. We sent Kristina to do it because she won the coin toss. Here’s what you need to know if you want to go. Media tickets were given so we could review this incredible experience.

I think my mouth may have hung open the first time I saw a video of the SkyBridge in Gatlinburg when it was completed in May of 2019. It was gorgeous. And so, so high up in the air. I knew I had to go, no matter how scary getting up there may be. Sometimes you need to take those risks, right? 

The SkyBridge is part of Gatlinburg SkyLift Park, which was founded in 1954, way before the town became the destination it is today. The park is the longest running attraction in Gatlinburg, which borders the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The national park is the most visited in the entire country. Last year, more than 12 million people stepped foot in the Smokies. 

But the views are still the same as they were in the late 1950s – sweeping and majestic and unforgettable. You have to take a gondola up to the SkyLift Park, five hundred vertical feet to be exact. Just don’t look backwards and you’ll be fine. 

The SkyBridge

The SkyBridge was completed in May of 2019 and holds the record of being the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. It’s 680 feet in length and sways 150 feet off the ground. There are glass panels in the middle of the bridge, which honestly I didn’t even think about until I had to walk across 30 feet of it. You look straight down. It’s terrifying but also awesome. 

The people who run the SkyBridge social media pages are geniuses. You may have seen the videos of the bridge all lit up in Christmas lights around December or when snow was falling in the mountains or when the leaves were bright reds and oranges in the fall. They do such an amazing job of bringing viewers onto the bridge who have never been yet still entice them to go. At least that was my opinion and one of the reasons why I really, really wanted to walk the SkyBridge. 

If you’re wondering if you can feel the bridge sway, the answer is yes. If you’re wondering if it’s worth the five hundred feet vertical ride in the yellow gondola with nothing but a bar separating you from a long drop, then yes, it’s worth it. The views going up and down the mountain are incredible. You can see all of Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. We got lucky and the clouds were moving between the peaks of the mountains, creating a surreal view. I could never get tired of that view. 

Yellow gondola in Gatlinburg

This is such a unique attraction that is just amazing and I certainly recommend it when you visit Gatlinburg. And don’t you want bragging rights for walking the longest pedestrian bridge in North America? I did.

Walk the SkyTrail

New for 2021 is the gorgeous SkyTrail, a trail that lines the ridge around the mountain. Part of it is a boardwalk and the other part is natural dirt. The views are just spectacular and you can go across the mountain without actually walking the bridge. Just don’t run into a bear! It’s a great opportunity to build you the courage to talk the 700 foot walk across the swinging bridge.

I had no idea that the wildfires of 2016 totally destroyed Crockett Mountain, where the Sky Park is located. There are plaques around the trail that talk about the devastating fires and what happened in the rebuilding process plus how the SkyBridge was engineered. If you’re a homeschooling family, this totally counts as an awesome field trip.

The trail is brand new and is an entirely unique experience. There are no hills (I mean, you’re already at the top of the mountain) so it’s an easy walk. Most of the trail is only open during the daytime hours for now.

Climb the Tulip Tower

Also new in 2021 is the steel Tulip Tower rising 70 feet in the back of the ravine behind the SkyBridge. It has four floors and is accessed by two rope bridges.

The tower has educational plaques inside the middle of each floor that talk about the wildfires, local wildlife and native plants and trees. The tower is so named because the Tulip Tree was one of the last remaining trees when the wildfire swept through the mountain and wiped out the park. So the tower is named for the resilience of the tree and all those people who rebuilt the park and those who lost their homes (five SkyLift Park employees lost their homes because of the fire).

Again, the views are unreal. I legitimately took 100 photos of the bridge from all along the SkyTrail and the Tulip Tower. The tower is open for daytime use.

Relax, Eat, and Drink at the Sky Deck

What makes a great view even better? Food and drink! The gift shop at the park is awesome. It has all kinds of cool bridge-related items plus the warmest winter hats I think I’ve ever felt. They also have a basic menu of pizza, pretzels, and snacks plus coffee.

Head upstairs and grab a craft beer and an outside table and take a deep breath while you gaze at the scenery. It’s breath-taking. These views are incredibly unique. If you’re going to Smokies, why not see the sweeping views they offer right there at the park? Just do it.

There are rocking chairs and tables outside on the deck also. We saw plenty of people just rocking away their worries up there. I would have swiped one to do the same but they were all full.

Admission Costs

Tickets to the SkyLift Park, which include access to the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, SkyTrail, Tulip Tower, and Sky Deck are $29.95/ages 12-64, $18.95/ages 4-11, $23.95/seniors, and kids 3 and under are free.

Your ticket is good for unlimited visits for the same day so if you wanted to get up there in the morning, take a walk across the bridge, climb the Tulip Tower and then come back for sunset, you’re welcome to do that. If you purchase your ticket after 8 pm, you get to come back for free the next day.

Gatlinburg bear statues

The SkyBridge opens at 9 am and closes at 10:30 pm during the summer and 9 pm other times of the year. We were planning to head back up there during sunset but my kids were tired from a long day of fun. But I Imagine those views would be spectacular during dusk and for the seasonal lights that adorn the bridge. They are open all year round, seven days a week except for Christmas Day and Maintenance Week (January 17-21). See full hours here.

I recommend parking at the garage next to Ripley’s Aquarium, which is about a five minute walk to the SkyLift Park. It costs $10 all day as of November 2021.

Follow the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park on Facebook and Instagram for beautiful photos and videos, which will probably entice you to go there on your next visit!

Gatlinburg SkyBridge
765 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 

About the Author
Kristina Hernandez is a mom of two girls, freelance writer and photographer. Originally from New Jersey, she is in love with the Upstate and could not imagine raising her kids anywhere else. She enjoys hiking to waterfalls, kayaking, camping, cooking, and exploring all that Greenville has to offer. And she really loves baby goats. Follow her on Instagram at @scadventurer.

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2 years ago

Been there and had a great time, love it and would do it again. Loved the glass walk. Was great.

Brian M Boxler
2 years ago

Deathly terrified of heights but did it for my wife on our 20th wedding anniversary…SO glad I did

2 years ago

Just spent a week there and it was grand also we walked up the Clingsman Dome the view was beautiful!!

Brian M Boxler
2 years ago

Found it by accident when we was on our way home from vacation in Nashville TN. Well worth it and facing my fear of heights. Never looked down crossing the bridge but still did the bridge…just looked straight ahead the whole way. Hopefully we’ll get there again and do the morning and evening sights.