By Leif Palmer
Posted on November 5, 2020
When the Anakeesta attraction in Gatlinburg opened its doors a little over three years ago, it didn't offer much more than a handful of outdoor activities. But these days, the multiuse fun destination has more going on than ever. If you've never been, we can offer you a proper introduction. If you visited during the early days of the attraction, then you may want to take a look and rediscover all that's going on up in the mountains overlooking Gatlinburg.
The fun starts in downtown Gatlinburg, where you board a six-person gondola chairlift to Anakeesta's mountaintop site. Or you could ride on an open-air shuttle vehicle if you prefer. At the top, take your pick of dueling ziplines, a mountain coaster, a treetop skywalk, a ropes challenge course, a treehouse village for kids and an observation tower, AnaVista, which is the highest point in downtown Gatlinburg, offering 360-degree views of the Smokies. Interpretive signs will help you identify nearby mountains, and glass floor panels allow for views to the Vista Gardens 60 feet below.
You certainly won't go hungry at Anakeesta. The Cliff Top restaurant, in Black Bear Village, serves modern American cuisine, but it will be the views of Mt. LeConte that fill all your senses, whether you're dining inside or out on the patio. Meanwhile, Smokehouse serves a wide variety of dishes made with smoked meats, and the Kephart Café has snacks like gourmet hotdogs, flatbread pizzas and frozen yogurt. Also look for shopping venues like the Great Outdoors Trading Company, the Adventure Outpost, Catching Fireflies and The Mercantile.
One of Anakeesta's best attributes though is its relaxed atmosphere. It's designed around nature, with nature in mind, and the sights, sounds and smells are geared toward helping guests chill out and tune in with their natural surroundings. From the flours to the mountain scenery, it's one of the Smokies' best places to experience the mountains and have fun at the same time. Whether you're sitting around the fire pit or touring the Memorial Forest Walk, Anakeesta may very well be a haven of tranquility during these crazy times we live in.
When you visit, remember that you'll need a place to park. Check out our complete list of Gatlinburg parking lots to pick the location closest to Anakeesta and all the other places you plan to visit downtown.
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in Gatlinburg. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.