There are several Ropes Courses in the Smoky Mountains area around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Many of them are part of larger networks of ziplines, sky bridges and play areas in the tree tops, with net tubes, swings and actual tree houses. Some of these are in the trees, some are on framework structures, and some of them are even indoors.
While kids love to climb, and these tree-top adventures certainly offer that, ropes courses are fun for all ages, acclaimed for providing many positive personal achievements. From the very young to the corporate teams, ropes courses provide the variable degree of challenge and exhilaration to suit everyone. And the view, of course, is usually pretty inspiring.
Ropes Courses in the Smoky Mountains
Gatlinburg Ziplines offers a 9-zipline canopy tour and a Tree Trek made up of a 14-element adventure of bridges, ladders, log steps, and sky bridges high in the trees. This is one of the oldest operations in the area, fully in the trees, yet convenient to downtown Gatlinburg. The company also operates the Dome Ziplines in Pigeon Forge.
Anakeesta is a little world on the mountain with several attractions including dining, and an enclosed gondola leaving from downtown Gatlinburg to get up there (see our feature story on Anakeesta). Anakeesta has created a Tree Canopy Walk of 16 connected sky bridges, more than forty feet above the ground in the tree tops. It’s educational with extensive signage, immersive in nature, and with stunning views.
There’s also a Children’s Treehouse Village Playground that kids will love. They’ve built in physical and educational elements, with multiple bridges, a log walk and a plank walk, a tube net crawl and a climbing adventure.
Rafting in the Smokies
This operation is out at Hartford, about a 35-minute drive from Pigeon Forge. The ropes course is definitely in the trees, and offers a fully harnessed and safe experience. You might not drive that far just to play in the trees, but Hartford is also the start of some of the best river rafting adventures. You might want to plan for some river action and follow it up with a climb in the trees, for an exhilarating day out from the cabin. The course offers 12 different activities for different skills, including climbing nets and rope bridges.
See our Gatlinburg Whitewater Rafting page for more details on this operation. And note that we offer our cabin guests a free ticket to the Rafting in the Smokies rafting trips, as part of our Trip Cash book of Gatlinburg Coupons & Pigeon Forge Coupons – worth over $700! – to local attractions.
Closer to home, The Island offers two ropes course. One is lower to the ground and made for the small ones in the family, with lots of different elements, and low enough that parents can walk alongside the kids while they test their skills. The other course reaches 3 stories in height and offers multiple challenges and attractions. There are also two ziplines and a Free-Fall simulation!
In all cases, participants are fully harnessed and with certified staff in attendance. See our feature on all the attractions of The Island, and check here for the ropes courses:
For an indoor experience, as part of a trip to WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge, you can enjoy the indoor ropes course. It’s four stories tall, with 50 challenges of different kinds, including swinging steps and a tremor bridge. It’s a thrill to conquer your fears and build balance – it’s also a black-light, glow-in-the-dark experience!
The ropes course is part of general admission to this educational and astonishing science museum. See our feature for more information on all the attractions of WonderWorks. And see here for info on the ropes course:
Gatlin’s Fun Center
Meanwhile in Gatlinburg, Gatlin’s Fun Center offers an indoor framework structure designed to test your agility in complete safety. The Rugged Ropes Adventure Course is fully harnessed to an overhead track so falling is not and issue and any slips are fun and harmless.
For those who want even more activity in the trees, there are several zipline operations in the area – see our guide to Ziplines in the Smoky Mountains. There are also several Sky Lifts, Mountain Coasters, an Aerial Tramway and even the longest Sky Bridge in North America!
As with all the overhead adventures in the area, all participants are always safely harnessed or enclosed, and experienced and accredited staff are always on hand. Safety comes first, and certain medical or other conditions may not be allowed.
Some of these venues require reservations, and most of them are worth calling ahead anyway to check the lie of the land – even in the air!
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See our guides for more Things To Do in the Smoky Mountains, especially for more things to outdoors in our Smoky Mountain Activities section, and also for more family fun with the kids see our Things to do in Gatlinburg With Kids section.
And for accommodations in the area, hopefully you already know the best way to visit here is to enjoy cabin living in the mountains. See our Gatlinburg cabin rentals and our Pigeon Forge cabins. And if you like to be on the Quiet Side of the Smoky Mountains, try one of our Wears Valley cabins!