The Gatlinburg SkyBridge: Already a Legend

While the Gatlinburg SkyLift has long been one of the town’s oldest and most popular attractions, the Gatlinburg SkyBridge is one of its newer offshoots. Featuring as an intrinsic part of the newly developed SkyPark (which was rebuilt following the wildfires of 2016), it was a hit from the beginning, when it opened in May 2019 as the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America.

Image courtesy of the Gatlinburg SkyBridge

Gatlinburg SkyBridge: What to Know

The Gatlinburg SkyBridge is now one of the most popular visitor attractions in Gatlinburg. It’s a pedestrian suspension bridge that spans 680 feet (about 207 meters) across a deep valley in the Smoky Mountains overlooking the town. Here are some key features and points about the Gatlinburg SkyBridge.

  • Length. It spans 680 feet, and stands as an impressive feat of engineering.
  • Height. The bridge sits at a height of about 140 feet (about 42.6 meters) at its midpoint, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests.
  • Design. As a pedestrian suspension bridge, it features a combination of steel beams and cables for support. The design allows for minimal obstruction of the views for those crossing it.
  • Glass Panels. A notable feature of the SkyBridge is its glass panels set into the floor in the middle section, offering visitors a unique perspective (somewhat giddying for some people) as they walk across and look down into the valley below.
  • Experience. Visitors can get to the bridge via the SkyLift, a chairlift-style ride that takes them from downtown Gatlinburg to the bridge’s starting point.
  • Attractions. In addition to the bridge itself, there are other attractions around the SkyBridge area, including an observation deck, gift shop, and cafe.

How does the Gatlinburg SkyBridge compare with other similar bridges around the country and the world?

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge (Vancouver, Canada). This bridge is one of the most famous suspension bridges globally, spanning 450 feet (137 meters) across the Capilano River in British Columbia. It offers views of the surrounding temperate rain forest.
  • Royal Gorge Bridge (Colorado, USA). This bridge spans the Arkansas River and is one of the highest suspension bridges in the world, standing at 955 feet (291 meters) above the river.
  • Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge (Switzerland). Located in the Swiss Alps, this pedestrian suspension bridge holds the record for the longest pedestrian suspension bridge globally, spanning 1,621 feet (494 meters) across a valley. It offers stunning views of the Matterhorn and Weisshorn mountains.
  • Sidu River Bridge (China). This bridge is known for being one of the highest suspension bridges globally, sitting at a height of 1,627 feet (496 meters) above the Sidu River in Hubei Province, China.
  • Langkawi Sky Bridge (Malaysia). Situated on the island of Langkawi, this curved pedestrian bridge offers panoramic views of the Andaman Sea and the surrounding islands. It is suspended at a height of about 328 feet (100 meters) above ground.

Each of these bridges offers a unique experience, whether it’s crossing deep valleys, traversing lush forests, or enjoying breathtaking mountain vistas. They serve as both engineering marvels and popular tourist attractions, drawing visitors from around the world. And the Gatlinburg SkyBridge has joined these ranks.