Gatlinburg Sky Lift Park is the home of North America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge: Gatlinburg SkyBridge. At the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park, guests will experience the best views of the beautiful Smoky Mountains and the town of Gatlinburg. Come relax and enjoy the views!
In the winter of 1953, local innkeeper Rel Maples contacted Everett Kircher and asked him to build a chairlift on a mountain behind his property in Gatlinburg, Tennessee after reading an article in AAA magazine about Kircher’s chairlift expertise gained from operating a ski area in Michigan. After meeting at the proposed site, Mr. Maples agreed to lease the land to Kircher to construct and operate a chairlift himself, and Gatlinburg sightseeing history was made.
Kircher purchased a ski lift from Sugar Bowl Ski Area in California, dismantled it, and transported it to his father’s Studebaker dealership in Rochester, Michigan where the work of engineering and rebuilding the lift began.
Kircher’s father made the trip to Gatlinburg to scout the area and coordinate labor, and Kircher soon followed after closing Boyne Mountain Ski Area in Michigan in the spring. A survey of the site lead to the construction of a road to the top, and the difficult process of pouring footings for the lift towers before the team was finally able to erect the lift structure and hang the chairs. It was the first chairlift ever built in Dixieland, and opened to the public in 1954.
The SkyLift soon became one of the most popular attractions in Gatlinburg and part of the fabric of the community. To thousands of visitors, the SkyLift has been a must-do part of their annual trips to Gatlinburg, and with many making a tradition of riding the lift every year and collecting a new family photo from the photography service which captures every chair. The tradition lives on today with the opening of the Gatlinburg SkyBridge in May of 2019.
The view up at the top was beautiful. There are chairs to relax, a great view of Gatlinburg and the surrounding area. There is even a bar to buy a drink and a snack bar as well. We didn’t indulge in any of that and went right for the Skybridge. I am not afraid of heights so I didn’t think the bridge was too scary. It did sway back and forth as you walked across because it is an expansion bridge, but it wasn’t too bad. The part of the bridge that was glass was a little odd, standing on it your head says you are safe, but your body is telling you to MOVE.
My niece on the other hand was petrified because she is scared of heights. I thought it was amusing but she did not. It was well worth the trip! 😀