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11 Fun Things to Do at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg Tennessee

Anakeesta ticket booth and chondola station
March 14, 2024

No matter what you already have planned for your vacation, you should definitely make time to check out one of the most popular Gatlinburg attractions, Anakeesta. Anakeesta in Gatlinburg Tennessee is an outdoor adventure park that allows families to make memories together while enjoying the natural beauty of Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. There is so much to see and do when you visit this popular attraction, and we want to help you learn more about it all!

Here are some of the many fun things you can do at Anakeesta Gatlinburg and what you need to know before you visit!

1. Chondola

chondolas at anakeesta gatlinburg

The first thing you get to do at Anakeesta is ride the chondola up to the top of Anakeesta in Gatlinburg. You have two options: You can ride in the enclosed gondola or you can ride the chairlift. On your ride up the mountain to Anakeesta, you get to see spectacular mountain views and downtown Gatlinburg as you take the scenic ride to your destination. Once you’ve reached the top is when the real fun begins! And the best part is that when your day is done, you get to ride back down the mountain. You might even get to see downtown Gatlinburg covered in lights when you ride down at the end of the day!

If you’re a little weary to ride the chondola, don’t worry! Anakeesta has another fun way to get to the top of the mountain. You can choose to ride in a Ridge Rambler, an adventure vehicle that takes you along a forested path and features an audio tour where you’ll learn fun facts about the history, animals, forest, and plant life of the Smoky Mountains. However you choose to get up the mountain, one thing is for sure: You’ll have a blast once you’re at the top!

2. Explore the Villages

When you’re ready to shop and dine, you’ll love exploring the different villages at Anakeesta. Both Firefly Village and Black Bear Village provide opportunities for quaint shopping, entertainment, and dining. The shops offer a wide variety of items. You can buy handmade jewelry, candies, locally made crafts and clothing! Plus, there are your typical souvenirs and plenty of places to grab some quick bites! There are picnic areas for you to use as well when the weather is beautiful.

There are several dining options in Firefly Village and Black Bear Village, but Cliff Top is one of the most popular places to eat! Here, you can enjoy delicious dining alongside an unbeatable mountain view. The menu includes items like salads, burgers, specialty drinks, and so much more! Other places include Anakeesta Smokehouse, Pearl’s Pie in the Sky, and Kephart Cafe.

3. Rail Runner Mountain Coaster

For you adrenaline junkies, have we got the ride for you at Anakeesta! The mountain coaster will take you on quick turns and twists that will whip you around the trees and natural curves of the mountainside. The Rail Runner at Anakeesta is the only single-rail mountain coaster in the country, meaning you’re in for a one-of-a-kind experience. You’ll reach speeds up to 25 miles per hour through 1,600 feet of downhill twists and turns.

The best part about this ride is that after you have had your thrilling ride down the mountain, you will get to relax and start breathing easier as you are taken back to the top. The leisurely pace as you go back up will give you a chance to see any sights you may have missed on your wild ride down. You may even be able to spot some wildlife!

4. Dueling Zipline Adventure

anakeesta zipline

Embrace your competitive spirit when you suit up to tackle Anakeesta’s Dueling Zipline Adventure. The fun part about the ziplines is that they allow two people to go at the same time, side-by-side. So, challenge your friends and family to a little friendly competition! You’ll zoom through the trees and get some amazing views of the world below you.

These ziplines go fast, so make sure you are prepared for some high-speed fun at Anakeesta Gatlinburg. You’re sure to have a blast when you ride the Anakeesta zipline. Want to know about even more ziplines in the area? Check out these ziplines in the Smoky Mountains!

5. Treetop Skywalk

Enjoy a walk in the trees on this amazing attraction! You can walk for 880 feet among the treetops to see the world from a bird’s eye view in the trees. Each bridge is suspended in the air from 50 to 60 feet above ground, so you’ll definitely want to make sure you are brave enough, especially if heights are not your favorite thing.

The Treetop Skywalk is a great idea if you want to have a nice leisurely experience on the top of Anakeesta Gatlinburg! It’s also the longest tree-based bridge in North America, so you don’t want to miss the chance to enjoy it.

6. TreeVenture Challenge Course

This treehouse themed playground is perfect for children of all ages! They will have plenty to explore, climb over, and discover. And you can do it all right along with them! This is a great option to have if your little ones are a bit wary of the other attractions. Smaller kids will enjoy the Treehouse Adventure Play Area and the BearVenture Challenge Course!

7. Anakeesta Gem Mining

Anakeesta Gatlinburg also has a fun gem mining activity for kids to enjoy! An interactive waterfall and sluice gives kids the opportunity to search for a special gemstone or fossil throughout their bag that they purchased. See if you can strike it rich at the Anakeesta Gem Mine!

8. Vista Garden Walk

sign for the vista gardens at anakeesta

At Anakeesta’s Vista Garden Walk, visitors can experience 5,000 flowers, 800 shrubs, 250 trees, twigloos, gazebos, and a Willow man sculpture. The Vista Gardens is a botanical garden with walking trails that lead to treehouse-styled play areas, a challenge course for kids, and uniquely designed musical instruments for you to play with along the way. It offers a more scenic and fun adventure at Anakeesta.

9. AnaVista Observation Tower

Guests can enjoy a 60-foot observation tower that offers a panoramic view of the Smoky Mountains! The structure is reminiscent of the traditional fire tower structure found at Mt. Cammerer. You’ll love having 360-degree views of the mountains! This tower is the highest point in downtown Gatlinburg, and it also has glass panels so you can look at the gardens below you. It’s one of the best spots for photos at the attraction as well!

10. Hellbender Mountain Coaster

As part of its 2023 expansion, Anakeesta introduced the thrill of a lifetime: the Hellbender Mountain Coaster! This coaster is named after the Hellbender Salamander, the largest salamander species in the Smoky Mountains. On the Hellbender, riders will race through 3,350 feet of track overlooking the Smoky Mountains, reaching speeds upwards of 25 miles per hour. It features heart-pounding twists, gravity-defying drops, and jaw-dropping views. You can ride solo or with a friend or family member!

11. BirdVenture

BirdVenture is another new addition to the adventure park as part of its latest expansion. It's an aviary-inspired adventure zone that features 3 larger-than-life birdhouses and 7 giant slides that wind more than 50 feet down the mountain! This is a great area for kids of all ages, and everyone will be able to imagine what life is like as a bird in the Smoky Mountains! There are also more than a dozen interactive adventure zones in BirdVenture. Regardless of age, you'll have a blast experiencing what BirdVenture has to offer.

More Things to Do at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg

In addition to all the fun activities listed above, there are more exciting things to do for all ages at Anakeesta! Kids will love the splash pad during the warmer months, and adults will love ordering a drink from the Bar at the Top of the World and taking in the gorgeous views. This popular Gatlinburg attraction even added Astra Lumina recently, an enchanted night walk among the stars. You can also enjoy seasonal events throughout the year, like Summer in the Smokies and the Enchanted Christmas Celebration! The fun never ends at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg.

About Anakeesta in Gatlinburg

Now that you know all about the fun things to do at Anakeesta Gatlinburg, you’re ready to learn about its history! Anakeesta is a Cherokee word that refers to high ground, translating to “the place of the balsams.” Today, Anakeesta is most often associated with a massive rock layer that encompasses peaks in the Smoky Mountains. The attraction took the name Anakeesta in hopes of capturing the Smokies heritage you can experience when you visit. It was designed to create a family-oriented mountaintop experience. Now, Anakeesta does just that! This Gatlinburg attraction provides a unique family experience in the great outdoors. You’re guaranteed to make memories that will last a lifetime when you visit.

Anakeesta hours do change frequently. They range from opening at 9 am to closing at 10 pm. Be sure to check their calendar to see the hours for the day you plan on going.

Where to Stay When You Visit Anakeesta in Gatlinburg Tennessee

When you decide to come visit this attraction, you can stay in one of our beautiful Gatlinburg cabin rentals so you are close to all the action! We have beautiful cabins in Gatlinburg ranging in size to accommodate everyone from couples to large families and groups. Our cabins come with a variety of amenities, including kitchens, hot tubs, and even indoor swimming pools. You’ll love the privacy our cabins provide while still being just a short drive from Anakeesta and all the fun in downtown Gatlinburg. Take a look at all our Gatlinburg cabin rentals, and book your stay today for a fun-filled vacation!

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