Come to the Smokies for all your favorite shows, rides and food, along with all the new attractions and restaurants added in 2020 and coming in 2021. Get high in the sky for the incredible views on a chairlift or from one of the thrilling, heart stopping Monster rides. Take a walk in the or take a seat and the many new eateries.
New at Skylift Park
Let’s start in the sky with the Gatlinburg SkyTrail.
Located at SkyLift Park in Gatlinburg, the SkyTrail is scenic walkway that will connect each end of the SkyBridge. Scheduled to open this spring, the SkyTrail will give visitors a leisurely walk in the mountains – just over one-third of a mile long. The three sections include The Boardwalk, The Lookout and The Pathway.
“The Boardwalk is an elevated wooden walkway leading from the SkyDeck back along the hillside of the ravine that cuts under the SkyBridge. Along the way, interactive signage will provide information about the engineering of the SkyBridge, the history of iconic Gatlinburg SkyLift, and the wildfires of 2016 that swept across Crockett Mountain where the SkyTrail stands today.”
“The Lookout will be a steel tower set in the back of the ravine accessed by rope bridges and featuring elevated viewing platforms.”
“The Pathway will be a smooth walking path cut into the natural hillside extending from
the Lookout across to the west end of the SkyBridge with views of the Smoky Mountains from every step.”
Visitors get off at the new Skydeck, where they can sit outside and enjoy the scene, buy a beer, do some shopping or find the other adventures awaiting that will soon include the SkyTrail. The recently completed SkyBridge has garnered praise and interest from around the world.
Billed as North America’s largest pedestrian suspension bridge – SkyBridge is 680 feet from tower to tower with a height of 150 feet at its midpoint. The SkyBridge has had glass panels to walk across as part of the bridge since the beginning but those glass panels were recently doubled to provide 30 feet of excitement to look through.
Spend the day exploring The SkyCenter at the SkyDeck on Crockett Mountain, overlooking Gatlinburg, where there are always “sweeping panoramic views” of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The first floor of the SkyCenter features a gift shop plus a snack bar with pizza, salads, wraps, and ice cream treats. The second floor offers an enormous seating area and bar with the most amazing views day and night.
A round-trip ticket for the SkyLift covers entry and all-day access to the SkyCenter and the Sky Bridge. Tickets are $27.95 (as of January 2021) for adults with discounts for juniors and seniors. Children 3 and under can ride free.
Pigeon Forge Chairlift
Speaking of chairlifts, Pigeon Forge is planning one of its own. The first chairlift in Pigeon Forge is scheduled to open in the fall.
Known for now as the Pigeon Forge Chairlift, visitors will fly gently through the air to take in the vistas. Each 3-seater chair will take visitors through the air for 360-views of The Great Smoky Mountains and then leave them at a unique offloading station that will be 20-feet above ground level. There, owner, Matthew Ayers says fun activities will await guests on the mountain, according to local news reports. Those include “an observation tower, shops, arcades, fountains, fire pits, food trucks, a giant bar, a nature walk, lodging and a venue space.”
The observation tower will be an 85-foot climb to see 360 degrees of natural beauty.
New at the Island
Another way to fly – but inside – is coming this year by way of Flying Theater Ride at The Island in Pigeon Forge.
A $20 million investment “will combine a state-of-the-art ride system and a custom film featuring some of the nation’s most beautiful natural wonders and iconic landmarks. Riders will experience the movements, sounds, scents, and mists of a breathtaking aerial adventure across the United States.”
If you have never been to one of these theaters, you are in for a treat. It’s quite the experience. You feel like you could reach out and touch the landmarks. The Island selected the flying theater from industry-leader Dynamic Attractions, which built some of the most popular rides in the world for theme park leaders including Disney and Universal Studios. Check out an example here.
The new flying theater will be adjacent to The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, which is an adventure itself. The 200-foot observation wheel overlooks The Island’s multi-million dollar show fountain that “dances” to music every day and every night. Shopping and eating also are part The Island, with more than 40 experiential shops and restaurants for eating every meal plus snacks. For more about The Island, see our blog post.
The Mountain Mile is being developed as a retail, restaurant, lodging and attraction are on more than 174 acres in Pigeon Forge.
The Mountain Mile & Tower Shops will be located along Teaster Lane and Jake Thomas Blvd in the heart of Pigeon Forge, surrounded by the $22.5 million Cal Ripken Experience baseball tournament park, the $42 million Leconte (convention) Center, and The Island. It will market existing and new shops, attractions and restaurants and create a center with a viewing tower at the center.
New attractions already part of the Mountain Mile include the Mountain Monster rides.
These three rides are exhilarating high-in-the-sky fun! The Monster itself is 200 feet tall and the first of its kind in the world. It was designed by renowned thrill ride designer Stan Checketts.
There are so many restaurants in the area to satisfy every taste bud – from southern indulgences and southern barbecue to Thai, Japanese, Mexican and Yankee food and pizza. Also incredible and unique ice cream shops, bakeries, breweries, distilleries and wineries.
Following are some of the newest and coming-soon restaurants:
Aside: history of chicken wings. “Deep-fried chicken wings have long been a staple of Southern cooking. But the concept of cooking wings in peppery hot sauce was born in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, when co-owner Teressa Bellissimo cooked leftover wings in hot sauce as a late-night snack for her son and his friends. The guys liked them so much that the Bellissimos put them on the menu the next day. Served with celery slices and bleu cheese sauce, “Buffalo Wings” were an instant hit” — The National Chicken Council.
As for the name? Denny said: “The name came from what I am. I have been called Yankee, a Yankee is someone from the north…a Damn Yankee is someone that won’t leave. I live it here so much! Wish I moved here years ago, so that’s the origin of the name.”
Damn Yankees plans to open for lunch in mid January at 170 Glades Road Here in Gatlinburg in the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community.
Located 3 miles from downtown Gatlinburg, the Arts and Crafts Community offers a look back in time with artisans and crafters creating a wide assortment of items from dulcimers to stuffed bears to ceramics and glass blown right in front of you. The artists often will talk with visitors and discuss the history of their craft. Read more about the community via our blog post.
More new spots to check out include: Ogle Brothers General Store in Sevierville sells unique Smoky Mountain clothing, food, candy, toys, locally made arts and crafts, souvenirs and more, paying tribute to the farm history of the area.
Also new in Sevierville, is Aubrey’s – offering creative comfort foods from buttermilk fried chicken to blackened rattlesnake pasta. Aubrey’s also has extensive beer and wine lists. The menu includes small plates including crab cakes; sausage and pimento cheese; fish and chips; and filet bites. Soups and specialty salads include tomato bisque and an Asian chicken salad. Then there are burgers and sandwiches including a grilled salmon taco and the THUNDER ROAD BURGER.
Cruze Farm in Sevierville offers ice creams crafted by a local, family-owned dairy. I looked at today’s flavors and my mouth is watering:
Roll on In is a fusion concept restaurant combining classic Asian dishes with a Tex-Mex twist. Known for Hibachi, burritos, unique sushi rolls and bowls, a Roll on In franchise is expected to open this year at 750 Winfield Dunn Pkwy in Sevierville.
Feasters on Teasters offers “farm fresh feasts” in Pigeon Forge. Indian fry bread is a unique starter offering. Lunch includes Indian Taco, Omaha Steak Tips, Pulled BBQ Pork and Cactus Chili. There’s pumpkin fry bread with Wildberry sauce for dessert.
Buzzed Bull Creamery will be another ice cream shop opening this spring in Sevierville – you can’t have too many ice-cream shops! There’s already a Pigeon Forge location for the shop where they can make your treat “buzzed” (with a touch of alcohol!).
For more dessert options, there’s Cinnaholic where the scent of cinnamon roll spices fills the the air. Heaped with frostings, cookie bites, chocolate chips and more, these hefty treats are dairy- and egg-free, so they’re great for everyone.
New for Adults in 2021
Funky Budha is a sports bar and lounge in Pigeon Forge with a bar, dance floor and open patio. Hookah smoking happens for those over 21 after 9 p.m. The bar has a menu filled with bar snacks such as funky wings, chicken lettuce wraps and eggplant fries. Full meals include hot steak curry and crispy orange chicken.
At The Casual Pint in Pigeon Forge, craft beers flow, along with plenty of foods that pair with those beers: wings, quesadilla, pizza, brats, burgers, sandwiches and flatbreads. There’s a children’s menu and a dessert menu. The sides are worth taking a chance on too – mac and beer cheese (yes please!), Sidewinders, which are crispy craft beer battered potatoes, which can be topped with delicious foods such as beer cheese and barbecued chicken.
Junction 35 Spirits offers locally made moonshine, rum, gin, vodka and whiskey. The restaurant and bar specializes in cocktails plus entrees including ribs, burgers and mac and cheese.
More new adventures to come and to check out during your Smoky Mountain visit:
Rowdy Bear Ridge is a new adventure park in Pigeon Forge, next to the Local Goat Restaurant and diagonal from The Titanic Museum. Zip down a 500+ foot, year-round tubing hill or be a part of North America’s first Alpine Flyer and laser gun coaster.
“Themed after a tricked out 1950s-era hot rod, Lightning Rod ® launches riders from zero to 45 mph more than 20 stories up its lift hill to one of the ride’s first airtime moments.” Check out this report by Coaster101 for more information.
Located in Anakeesta, this 60-foot observation tower offers visitors 360-degree views overlooking Gatlinburg and all of Anakeesta park. For more about Anakeesta, check out our blog post.
Ready to start planning your Smoky Mountain vacation?
Let American Patriot Getaways help you and find you a beautiful cabin near all of it that is cozy with spectacular views and amenities.
Book a cabin close to the Parkway and you won’t miss any of the area fun. Book online using our web site or give our friendly Reservation staff a call at 800-204-5169 to get started planning your trip to the Great Smoky Mountains.