Exciting Family Adventures at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee are fantastic family destinations in the midwest. There is so much to see and do for everyone! There are various attractions throughout the area and one of the most unique attractions is Anakeesta.

Anakeesta is located on the main strip through Gatlinburg. It offers several attractions from calm and peaceful to adventurous! There is a treetop skywalk, places to sit and relax, a mountain coaster, ziplining, and more! See what you need to know here!

From the mild to the wild, there is something for everyone at Anakeesta!

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What to Expect at Anakeesta

Anakeesta is located along the strip in Gatlinburg. There are a variety of activities to participate in, including taking a ride to the top of the mountain!

Views of what you will find at Anakeesta!

The Village with shopping and dining options!

Vista Gardens and BearVenture Challenge Course

Walkway to Vista Gardens


General Admission (and what’s included):

  • Adults (age 12-59): $32.99 +tax
  • Seniors (age 60+): $25.99 +tax
  • Kids (age 4-11): $19.99 +tax
  • Kids (age 3 and younger): FREE

**Coupons to save a couple of dollars are available throughout Gatlinburg.**

Annual Passes:

This allows you to ride to the top and get discounts on attractions, food, gifts, and more!

  • Adults (age 12-59): $59.99 +tax
  • Seniors (age 60+): $54.99 +tax
  • Kids (age 4-11): $51.99 +tax
  • Kids (age 3 and younger): FREE
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The Legend of Anakeesta

This storybook is located outside near the gondola lift and the end of the Treetop SkyWalk. it’s a cute store about the Legend of Anakeesta.

And this is perfect due to the story being a Cherokee legend and Cherokee being in this part of Tennessee.

They even have versions of this story that you can purchase and take home with you as a souvenir!

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Getting to the Top of the Mountain

Next, let’s talk about transportation to the top!

There are three different options for getting to the top of the mountain. The ski lift (chondola) is the most adventurous of the three types of transportation, but all are easy and available for all abilities.

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I am not a huge fan of ski lifts in any way, shape, or form. However, these were large (4-person), safe, and secure. I was not worried about falling out or slipping or anything!

Views of going up!

Maps are located on the chondolas!

Views going down!

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Gondolas are the red enclosed vehicles that use the same lift system as the Choldolas. These hold six people in each one.

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Ridge Rambler

It’s not a great picture, but let’s check out the Ridge Rambler anyway! The Ridge Rambler is their open-air vehicle transportation to the top of the mountain. Thus, there are alternative options if you do not want to ride the Chondola or Gondola!

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There are several food and drink options available at the top of the mountain at Anakeesta. There are sit-down restaurants, quick-service restaurants, bars, and various snack options including ice cream!

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The barbeque restaurant is located as soon as you get off of the chondolas and enter the village at the top of the mountain.

The views are amazing and the food was really good. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a theme park on top of a mountain, but it was really good! This is the restaurant where we chose to eat lunch.

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Quick Service

There are several quick-service food and snack options available on the top of the mountain at Anakeesta.

They are located at several locations throughout Anakeesta and offer a variety of treats!

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Table Service

In addition to quick-service restaurants, table service options are also available.

Cliff Top is an adorable sit-down restaurant with amazing views on the top of the mountain.

Our plan had been to eat lunch there, but the tiny tummies with us couldn’t wait! So, it’s on our list for next time!

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There are so many fantastic family adventures available at Anakeesta! In addition to restaurants, they have shopping, ziplining, a mountain coaster, amazing views and so much more! Check out some of the highlights below!

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They have several shops on the top of the mountain. There are specialty stores, as well as shops with great souvenirs.

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Vista Gardens

Vista Gardens is a very peaceful area with phenomenal views of the Smoky Mountains.

This area hosts snacks, places for the kids to burn off some energy, and several places to simply sit, relax, and take in the scenery!

I love all of the porch swings and picnic tables that are placed throughout the grounds. There is a great variety of places to just sit and enjoy the views and the company of your loved ones!

Even my adult boys enjoyed this place and all the views!

BONUS: There is a Mountain Troll!

I love unique picture spots! One of the many joys that I find in traveling is finding fun and unique places to visit!

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Anavista Tower

I would say, the Anavista Tower is probably what Anakeesta is best known for. The tower is beautiful and unique and offers amazing views of the park and of the surrounding area.

This is just such a great place to relax and enjoy the views. As I mentioned before, there are so many places to just simply enjoy the views and your travel buddies and/or family…whomever you chose to bring with you to this fun destination!

However, it takes a little work to get to some of the best views. Stairs are the only way to the top, but the view is worth the trek up!

Here are some of the views from the top of the tower!

Here are some of my crew and our views from the top of Anavista Tower!

And here is a little more of my crew taking in the views!

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BearVenture Challenge Course

It’s Gatlinburg. There definitely needs to be something bear-themed!

The BearVenture Challenge Course is a fun ropes course for adults and kids alike!

The entrance to the challenge course is on the right hand side of the picture below.

There are a couple of different paths you can take with opportunities to balance, climb, and slide!

Oh, and it has two different levels as well!

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Treetop Skywalk

Next, we are off to the Treetop Skywalk!

The Treetop Skywalk was a beautiful walk through the woods. However, this walk with very far above the ground (and much longer than I had imagined)!

This was a really fun walk that I got to do with my husband and three of our adult-age sons. (My older daughter and grandchildren were taking a break and finding a stroller!)

These were definitely some unique views of the Smoky Mountains and I’m so glad that we had to opportunity to enjoy them!

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Rail Runner

Now we move from quiet and peaceful and fast and exciting! Welcome to the Rail Runner!

The Rail Runner is Anakeesta’s mountain coaster. There is an additional fee to participate in this adventure, but the cost was similar to all of the other mountain coasters in the area.

COST: $14.99 +tax for one rider and $18.99 +tax for tandum riders.

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And the BEST parts of it all…

Of all the many things to enjoy at Anakeesta, here are the most important ones to me!


There are plenty of places to just relax and enjoy the weather and the views.

Plus, the nice thing about the Anakeesta tickets is that you can come up and down all you one all day long. So you can enjoy some time in the morning on the mountain, go back down into Gatlinburg for the afternoon, and then go back up to enjoy dinner and the evening views.

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Nature and Views

Needless to say, Gatlinburg is known for its nature and beauty.

Plus, the views from the top of the mountain are just amazing. You really get to see Gatlinburg from a whole new perspective.

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Family Time

Most importantly, this is a great place for having good family time and making great memories.

I loved watching my adult boys spend quality time together. Of the boys in the picture below, two live in Indiana and one lives out of state, so they don’t get to see each other as much as when they were younger. However, it’s so good to watch them enjoy each other.

In the picture above, both older boys are loading the youngest’s backpack full of their things to carry around since he was the only one prepared enough!

The picture below is me sneaking a picture of our second-oldest son and my husband hanging out a bit. They were drinking a beer on top of the mountain and just talking, as the two other boys and I waited in line for ice cream. (I will take ice cream over beer EVERY TIME!)

And, last but not least, I love the idea of sharing our travel adventure with our next generation. I’m so glad that I not only get to share my love for travel with my kids, but now I get to share it with my grandkids too!!

Oh…and force my family into one more group picture with fun backdrops!

There are so many fantastic family adventures at Anakeesta! It’s definitely worth the stop on your next trip to the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area. We have been to that area on a few occasions but were lucky enough to get to visit Anakeesta on our most recent visit. It was a great first visit and I can’t wait to visit again!

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If you are looking for a great place to stay during your next Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge trip, check out our cabin! Meet our Mountainside Hideaway!

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