Connect with us

Attractions

Anakeesta is Enjoyable, Even in the Rain

Published

on

Disclaimer: I was graciously hosted by Anakeesta, all opinions expressed in this article are my own. For the full disclaimer, visit the Disclaimer Policy.

My husband and I began planning a quick weekend getaway a few months ago. Anakeesta was at the top of our to-do list.

After a few months of planning, the trip finally arrived and we were so excited to see what all Anakeesta had to offer. Our trip took place on Saturday, October 19th.

The only downfall? It rained.

But to be fair, I wouldn’t even consider it a downfall. Why? Because Anakeesta is enjoyable, even in the rain! The rain made the beauty and splendor of the mountains even more magical.

A Brief History Lesson

You may be wondering how the Great Smoky Mountains and Anakeesta got their names.

The Cherokee Indians referred to the mountains in our area as “Shaconage” (Sha-Kon-O-Hey), meaning land of the blue smoke.

The Great Smoky Mountains are blue and smoky because the trees that are most common in the area have high concentrations of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that scatter blue light.

The Smokies receive a lot of rainfall and sunlight, as well as high levels of humidity. When these things combine, you have the perfect recipe for gorgeous smoky mountains!

Did you also know that “Anakeesta” is a Cherokee Indian word referring to high ground, meaning “the place of the balsams”?

Map of Anakeesta

I’ve included a map of Anakeesta’s layout so you can refer to the locations of areas mentioned in this post. You can also download a copy of the map here.

Excellent Customer Service

Since it was raining when we arrived, we were offered a FREE poncho before heading to the top of the mountain. What great customer service! I knew we were in for a great time before we ever made it on to the chair lift.

Thank you, Anakeesta for looking out for your patrons!

Getting to the Top

Did you know that Anakeesta boasts the world’s only fixed-grip Chondola?

You may be wondering what a Chondola is. A chondola combines elements of a chairlift and a gondola.

There are three ways to reach the top of Anakeesta: Open-air chair lift, enclosed gondola, or military vehicle.

Choose to ride in an open-air 4 person chair with a safety bar.

Or ride in an enclosed gondola cabin with seating for 6.

Or take a ride on the Ridge Rambler, a 45-person military vehicle.

Note: Unlimited rides on these are included with your admission.

Welcome to the Top

Once you arrive at the top of Anakeesta, you are greeted by the Anakeesta Information Booth and the Mountain Magic Photo Booth.

Annakeesta’s photographers are ready to capture your smile at the Chondola base station, on the chairlift before arriving at Firefly Village and on Tower 2 during the zipline adventure.

Do you have a special event you’d like to capture or are you interested in proposing? Stop by the Information Booth and speak with a staff member to make arrangements for a photographer to capture your special moment.

You Won’t Leave Hungry

The Cliff Top Grill and Bar is located near the entrance in Firefly Village. The restaurant opens at 11 am and serves some amazing dishes. Ultimate Nachos, Mac & Cheese, Smoked Turkey, and Bacon Wrap, Smokehouse Stacker Burger, Fried Chicken Tender Platter; just to name a few. Check out their complete menu here.

Food and drinks are not the only things the Cliff Top Grill and Bar offers. There’s a breathtaking view offered as well! Who wouldn’t want to dine with this gorgeous view?

We chose to order the Crispy Fried Chicken Tender Platter which includes five chicken tenders, fries & honey mustard dipping sauce for $12. It was absolutely delicious! The chicken was both crispy and tender and the shoestring fries were on point!

I think I will be trying the Ultimate Nachos on my next visit! I saw it being delivered to another table while we were waiting for our food (which was not a very long wait at all) and it looked amazing! The ultimate nachos include house-made tortilla chips, pulled pork, house-made bbq sauce, spicy cheese, salsa, jalapenos, sour cream, green onions for $11.

Next to Cliff Top is Pearl’s Pie in the Sky. You can’t resist a delicious treat! Be sure to grab a scoop of hand-dipped ice cream in a cone, milkshakes, or sundae.

There are a few other food and drink options offered as well. They are as follows:

  • BeaverTails serves an irresistibly delicious, artisanal Canadian pastry in a variety of flavors
  • A Little Coffee… offers over 15 different ways to enjoy this deliciously unique coffee truck
  • The Bar at the Top of the World offers a choice of liquor, specialty cocktails, wine, and beer
  • Anakeesta Smokehouse serves delicious wraps, savory melts, salads and more

Shop ‘Til You Drop

Three amazing opportunities to purchase Anakeesta souvenirs (and more) await you at Great Outdoors Trading Company, Catching Fireflies, and Adventure Outpost. I couldn’t resist purchasing a cute lime green Anakeesta T-shirt. I even wore it the next day.

Autumn at Anakeesta

Autumn at Anakeesta offers family-friendly crafts, games, activities, character visits, and fall treats for all ages.

October is the perfect time to visit Anakeesta. The fall and Halloween decorations were my favorite part of the trip! Pumpkins, skeletons, and bears…oh my!

Hallow Mountain

As daylight turns to dusk, the Treetop Skywalk becomes Firefly Forest, Gem Mining treasures begin to glow, and Halloween movies air at the overlook. Click here for the movie schedule. The mountain coaster and zipline also become haunted.

Vista Gardens transforms into Hallow Mountain Graveyard for ‘Scare Nights’ where the undead rise to find their way off Hallow Mountain. This experience is for ages 12+. You can view FAQ and warnings here.

Please note that Autumn at Anakeesta and Hallow Mountain are included in the cost of general admission. Zombie Ziplining and the Haunted Rail Runner Mountain Coaster require an additional ticket purchase.

The remaining dates for Hallow Mountain are as follows: October 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 and November 1, 2. The graveyard begins 1/2 after sunset. The Last tour through the graveyard is at 11:00 pm (actual times may vary).

Hallow Mountain Graveyard adventure was not in operation after dark due to inclement weather during our visit. However, we did walk through the area and I managed to snap a few photos during the remaining hours of daylight. If you want to experience Hallow Mountain, make sure to do so before November 2nd!

Treetop Skywalk

Anakeesta’s Treetop Skywalk is the longest tree-based bridge in North America! Walk 880′ along a spectacular hanging bridge suspended 50-60 feet in the air! Keep your eyes on the ground below as you might just spot a bear walking along the forest floor.

Dueling Zipline

Have a blast zip-lining side-by-side with friends and family through the treetops. Three ziplines and two rappel drops offer beautiful views of the Smokies. You can reserve your zipline time by booking directly on Anakeesta’s website. If you want to zipline, it is recommended to arrive at Anakeesta 1.5 – 2 hours BEFORE your reserved time. Zipline guests must check-in at the Adventure Outpost on the mountain 30 minutes prior to the scheduled tour time. The Adventure Outpost is the first building on the left when you exit the chairlift at the summit of Anakeesta in Firefly Village. Note: Anakeesta admission must be purchased as well to access the dual racing zipline course.

Vista Gardens

Vista Gardens, a gorgeous botanical garden that features walking trails through gardens filled with stunning flowers and plants, offers fun for the whole family. The gardens feature art sculptures called twigloos, pergolas with shaded seating, and a whimsical 20’ tall Willow Man sculpture.  There’s also a treehouse styled play area and the BearVenture challenge course for children.

 

We had a great time at Anakeesta despite the rain. We enjoyed eating at the Cliff Top Bar and Grill, checking out the stunning views of the mountains, and shopping in the stores. I highly recommend visiting Anakeesta in the fall. I already have plans to visit again at Christmas time!

Would I recommend visiting Anakeesta? Absolutely.

Whether you’re visiting with your significant other or as a family, a great time will be had by all!

Now, to answer a few questions that I’m sure you have . . .

How much does Anakeesta cost and what’s included with admission?

Ticket pricing is shown below:
Adults: (Ages 12-59) $21.99
Children: (Ages 4-11) $17.99
Seniors: (60+) $19.99
Buy tickets after 6 PM & come free the next day!
Visit the pricing section on their website for detailed pricing information regarding annual passes, mountain coaster, zipline, group rates, and vacation packages.
Admission to Anakeesta gives you unlimited access all day long! Included in the price of admission is Anakeesta’s Chondola ride, Ridge Rambler military vehicle ride, Treetop Skywalk, Treehouse Village Adventure, Overlook Event Area, Vista Gardens Walk, Memorial Forest Walk, and shopping and dining experiences.

What are Anakeesta’s hours of operation?

Hours of operation vary from day-to-day. You can view the hours of operation on the calendar section of their website. Please note that Anakeesta is an outdoor park. Hours are subject to change.  You can call 865-215-9244 for the most up-to-date information on park opening and closing times.

Did you know that there’s a live webcam for Anakeesta? You can check that out here.

I hope you enjoyed the review of our trip to Anakeesta. We can’t wait to visit again!

The owner and founder of The Smoky Mountain Life, Kim Hunt, is a lifelong resident of southeast Tennessee and lover of all things Smoky Mountains. 

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Lodging3 days ago

Camp Margaritaville RV Resort & Lodge Opening Soon

Attractions7 days ago

Exclusive: Christ Museum & Gardens Relocation Update

Dining2 weeks ago

Smoky Mountain Eats: New Restaurants Opening in 2021

Local News3 weeks ago

Dolly Parton Teams With Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream For Limited Edition Flavor

Dining1 month ago

Cruise On In to Cruze Farm For a Delicious Treat

Lodging1 month ago

Jolenes Cabin Review

Attractions1 month ago

Ober Gatlinburg Annual Shutdown April 26th – May 6th, 2021 & Aerial Tramway Undergoing Major Updates March 22 – May 28th, 2021

Dollywood2 months ago

An Exclusive Look at Dollywood’s 2021 Season Preparations

Attractions2 months ago

Nashville’s The Listing Room Announces Second Location in Pigeon Forge

Local News3 months ago

Ober Gatlinburg President Bruce Anders Passes Away

Dollywood5 months ago

An Exclusive Look at Santa’s Nice List at Dollywood

Dollywood5 months ago

Your First Look at Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival Foods

Dining6 months ago

Smoky Mountain Restaurants Open for Thanksgiving

Dollywood7 months ago

Exclusive Dollywood 2020 Passholder Renewal Extension Offer

YouTube Spotlight7 months ago

YouTube Spotlight: Journey Through An Appalachian Heart

Dining7 months ago

Chubby’s Deli: They’re #1 For A Reason

Attractions7 months ago

An Exclusive First Look at Pigeon Forge Chairlift

Dining7 months ago

It’s Almost Time for GatlinBURGER Week!

Events8 months ago

September 2020 Calendar of Events

Lodging8 months ago

Courtyard By Marriott Hotel Review

YouTube Spotlight8 months ago

YouTube Spotlight: Tyler’s Adventures

Dollywood8 months ago

Dollywood Homeschool Days + Educational Resources

Dining8 months ago

Wears Valley Social Is The Place to Be

Local News8 months ago

Kephart and Masa: A Bond That Changed the Course of History

Attractions8 months ago

Your Smoky Mountain Getaway: The Ultimate Guide for Homeschoolers