Why You Need to Visit Anakeesta in Gatlinburg

One of Gatlinburg, Tennessee’s favorite downtown attractions offers something for everyone.

If you want to get away….without actually having to get away, Anakeesta is the perfect adventure for you!

Anakeesta entrance downtown Gatlinburg

Convenient Downtown Location

Anakeesta is located at traffic light #5 in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg.

If you are already downtown you won’t need to park again because of its central walkable location.

You can park on-site at the Premier Public City lot. Two city parking garages are across the street at Ripley’s or the McMahan Garage at Traffic Light #3.

Chondola Ride Anakeesta Gatlinburg, TN

You Can Enjoy a Scenic Ride on the Chondola

The name Anakeesta means “Place of the Balsams” in Cherokee or “a place of high ground” so it’s appropriate you start your adventure by traveling to the top of the mountain.

The Chondola gives you the option of a 4-person chairlift with a safety bar or an enclosed gondola cabin that seats up to 6 up 600 ft to the summit of the mountain.

There are fewer gondola cabins available that hold (8)passengers. Guests are given the option to wait in a special line or continue in line for a chairlift.

The gondola cabins are 32″ wide and 49″ deep, perfect for families with younger kids or the elderly.

Cliff Top Restaurant Anakeesta Gatlinburg, TN

Anakeesta Has Incredible Dining Views

The views from the Cliff Top restaurant at the top of Anakeesta are hard to beat!

outside dining at Anakeesta Cliff Top

We enjoyed a great buffet with an incredible view during our visit. 

Bucket of Chips at Anakeesta Cliff Top

We also tried a few of their menu items. The “Bucket of Chips” is made of homemade potato chips, bleu cheese, applewood bacon, and balsamic glaze.

fried green tomatoes at Anakeesta Cliff Top

Another menu favorite is their “Famous Fried Green Tomatoes” made with tomato chutney & buttermilk ranch.

Dining views at Anakeesta

Other Dining Options at Anakeesta

Anakeesta Smokehouse is another dining option for BBQ lovers, along with wraps and salads.  Afterward, you can enjoy a sweet treat with ice cream at Pearl’s Pie in the Sky.

Dueling Zipline in Anakeesta Gatlinburg, TN

Extreme Adventure on the Dueling Zipline

You can take your Anakeesta adventure to the next level on the Dueling Zipline with friends or family ages 7 and up.

Dual ziplining Anakeesta

Anakeesta offers my favorite style of zipline course because the participant doesn’t have to use their glove to handbrake.

zipling at Anakeesta

You just hold onto the handle, relax, and enjoy the experience as you travel 150 feet above the ground. 

ziplining fun at Anakeesta

Enjoy the ride while the brake system and the staff take care of your safety for the rest of your ride.

platform for rappel Anakeesta

Rappel Off a Platform

The course does include (2) 50ft high rappels but don’t worry, it’s a very smooth rappel similar to climbing gear.

rappeling at Anakeesta

Tips for Ziplining at Anakeesta:

  • All participants need to wear close-toed shoes.
  • Lockers are available to lock up your valuables at no additional cost.
  • Phones, cameras, and GoPros are at your own risk.
  • Wear comfortable clothes. I highly recommend wearing leggings or longer athletic shorts because the harnesses make your clothing ride up, which is awkward if you wear short shorts.
  • Participants must be at least 7 years old and 70 lbs. to participate.
  • You don’t have to make a reservation to zipline, but they are strongly encouraged.
  • Don’t forget to bring cash to tip your guides. Our guides (Dillon, John, and Tailor did a fantastic job!)
Walk the Tree Canopy Trail in Anakeesta Gatlinburg, TN

Walk the Tree Canopy Trail at Anakeesta

The elevated 16-bridge trail is another stunning feature that is absolutely gorgeous day and night!

Anakeesta night canopy walk

I highly recommend you stay at Anakeesta long enough to experience the Tree Canopy Trail both ways.

A walk through the forest on the lighted bridge at night feels magical like something out of a movie.

Rail Runner Mountain Coaster in Anakeesta Gatlinburg, TN

One of a Kind Fun on the Anakeesta Rail Runner Mountain Coaster

Anakeesta is home to the only single rail mountain coaster in the US that can reach speeds up to 25 mph+ on 1600 feet of track!

Rail Runner at Anakeesta

You can make this adventure as EXTREME or extremely slow as you want, depending on your comfort level. You control the handbrake which means that your speeds are determined by you.

Riders can go solo or tandem with a small child.

top Anakeesta single rail mountain coaster

Single Riders must be at least 48′ tall and the max weight is 270. No one under age 7 can ride alone)


If you ride tandem you can’t exceed 270 combined pounds weight and your passenger must be between 3 to 7 years old and a minimum of 38′ tall.

kids on Anakeesta mountain coaster

If you tend to enjoy your speeds more on the extreme side, make sure that you still pay attention to the signs that tell you to brake during specific parts of the track.

I was definitely more cautious on my first ride than my second. If you decide to ride for the second time, your ride is half off.

Magical Firefly Village in Anakeesta Gatlinburg, TN

Shop at Magical Firefly Village

Many parts of Anakeesta are wheelchair accessible and stroller-friendly. There are plenty of cute shops to visit and explore.

Shop at Magical Firefly Village

Depending on when you visit, you may find additional seasonal decor. 

Annakeesta Shops at Magical Firefly Village

You can also check out and purchase your photo taken from the Chondola ride up.

Vista Gardens at Anakeesta

Walk the Vista Gardens

The landscaping is both stunning and inspirational and that little house makes me wonder what’s behind that yellow door. ( View the new expansion of the Vista Gardens that includes AnaVista Tower and additional play structures for kids.)

hobbit house Anakeesta
Vista Gardens at Anakeesta 1

At the top of Vista Gardens, you will find plenty of photo ops that are perfect for families or just taking in the scenery.

Memorial Forest Walk Tribute Fire Walk in Anakeesta Gatlinburg, TN

Memorial Forest Walk Tribute

There is a beautiful tribute to the community and those who fought the fires that burned more than 15,0000 acres of the city of Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on November 28, 2016.

Kids Gem Mining in Anakeesta Gatlinburg, TN

Gem Mining for Kids

Kids can pan for their own special treasure and take home a souvenir.

Guests can purchase a bag that contains dirt and arrowheads or colorful crystals to use on the sluice.

Children's Treehouse Village Playground in Anakeesta Gatlinburg, TN

Children’s Treehouse Village Playground

Kids and adults will enjoy exploring the Children’s Treehouse Village Playground.

Childrens Treehouse Village Playground 1
Anakeesta Childrens Treehouse Village Playground

The playground has lights at night and offers kids plenty of opportunities to burn off some extra energy by climbing and crawling throughout the structure.

Rocking chairs at Anakeesta

Relax and Unwind

What I really appreciated about Anakeesta is how laid back and relaxing it is.

There are plenty of seating areas throughout the Magical Firefly Village designed to encourage a slower pace and appreciation of nature.

Picnic Tables at Magical Firefly Village in Anakeesta Gatlinburg, TN

You can’t help but feel a sense of wonder as you gaze at your surroundings.

Fire pit at Magical Firefly Village in Anakeesta Gatlinburg, TN

Enjoy Anakeesta at Night

It’s hard to believe that you didn’t have to travel far from downtown Gatlinburg to feel so far away…in a good way.

The campfires are such a wonderful way to share your highlights of the day with family and friends.

Heart-shaped Twig Photo Op in Anakeesta Gatlinburg, TN

Admission for Anakeesta

Admission is good for all-day access. If you purchase your ticket after 5:00 PM you can return free the following day.

Included in the price of admission is Anakeesta’s Chondola ride, elevated 16-bridge Tree Canopy Walk, Children’s Treehouse Village Playground, Vista Gardens Walk, Memorial Forest Walk with interpretive signs, shopping and dining opportunities at Firefly Village, and gorgeous scenic views of Gatlinburg.

*3 and under are free, prices do not include tax. 

(Pricing was accurate at the time of posting. Check the website to confirm pricing)

Scenic view at Anakeesta

Enjoy Anakeesta All Year

The Season passes cost less than two trips to Anakeesta.

If you’re a local or frequent visitor it would make sense to invest in an annual pass so that you can experience all of the gorgeous seasons there.

Views in Anakeesta Gatlinburg, TN

More Information

You can find more information on the Anakeesta Theme Park in the Mountains of Gatlinburg website. 

Disclosure: This post was part of a hosted media trip from Visit Gatlinburg. All opinions are my own.

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6 thoughts on “Why You Need to Visit Anakeesta in Gatlinburg”

  1. I highly recommend this nice new place to get some phenomenal view of the smokies, have a bite to eat. Or shop. It’s always changing the decorations seasonally, some of my best photos of family are up there.

  2. Not on my places to revisit, or recommend. Paid for ticket at 12:00 went to top of mountain, filled out waiver form for me and the two boys, went to pay for zip line and was told the zip line was full for the day. I ask about this when we brought our tickets at the entrance and not nothing was said about it being full. The zip-line was the reason we went up their. Basically this place sucks, even the working staff don’t know what is going on.

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