What does Anakeesta mean?

Anakeesta is a Cherokee word meaning “Place of the Balsams” or a place of high ground. Anakeesta rock was formed over 200 million years ago and is mostly slate. You can see Anakeesta rock high above Gatlinburg at Chimney Tops, Charlie’s Bunion and Mount Kephart in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

When will Anakeesta open?

Anakeesta will open in the Summer of 2017.

What is being built on the 70 acre Anakeesta Mountain parcel? What can I do there?

At the summit of Anakeesta Mountain guests can shop at Firefly Village discovering magical treehouse themed retail stores, featuring handmade candies, jewelry, local crafts, clothing and unique gifts.

Enjoy spectacular views of Mt. LeConte and the sparkling lights of downtown Gatlinburg.  Zip side by side with friends and family through the treetops on Gatlinburg’s fastest dual-racing zip line.  Fly on a high-speed mountain coaster with twists and turns through the forest then enjoy the ride back to the summit.  Stroll through the trees 60’ above ground on our treetop canopy walk.  Play, climb and discover together at a treehouse playground designed for children of all ages.

Dine with friends and family while relaxing at shaded picnic pavilions while enjoying sunset at the summit of this natural forested playground right in downtown Gatlinburg!

Tell me more about Anakeesta.

Anakeesta is Gatlinburg’s newest attraction that features activities for the young and young at heart!  From shopping and dining at /firefly Village to dual-racing zip lines and a thrilling mountain coaster to strolling across a gently swaying tree top canopy bridges or enjoying the amazing views of Mt. LeConte and downtown Gatlinburg, every guest will find an activity to enjoy at Anakeesta!

Shop and Dine at Firefly Village: Included in the cost of the lift ticket
Discover magical treehouse themed retail stores, featuring handmade candies, jewelry, local crafts, clothing and unique gifts.

Scenic Overlooks : Included in the cost of the lift ticket
Our scenic overlooks will provide an opportunity to enjoy the almost 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains, including Mt. LeConte and a unique overlook into downtown Gatlinburg.

Tree Canopy Walk: Included in the cost of the lift ticket
Get a bird’s eye view as you walk through the tree tops 40 – 60 feet above the ground along a series of 21 hanging bridges that connect the forest trees. Enjoy high stepping adventure while learning about the tree canopy through engaging interpretive signage.

Children’s Treehouse Playground: Included in the cost of the lift ticket
Play, climb and discover together at a treehouse playground designed for children of all ages.

Zip Line Adventure: ticket required
Fly through the sky our dual-racing racing zip lines as you challenge your friends and test their limits of fun and adventure.

Single Rail Mountain Coaster:  ticket required
Fly on a high-speed mountain coaster with twists and turns through the forest then enjoy the ride back to the summit.

What is happening to the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts?

Nothing!  The Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts will remain in the same location in Gatlinburg that it has occupied for more than 100 years. Arrowmont historically leased the land where the campus is located from the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women.  In April of 2014 Arrowmont acquired their property and now own all of the land that the campus is located upon. In a news release issued by the Knoxville News Sentinel Geoffrey Wolpert, President of the Arrowmont Board stated,

“Owning our campus allows Arrowmont to continue to enrich the lives of the artists and people of our community for generations to come,” Geoffrey Wolpert, president of Arrowmont’s Board, said in the release. “Gatlinburg, Pi Beta Phi and Arrowmont share an intertwined history, and that history gives this institution a momentum that will allow it to shape a future that is vital and important to the growing international community that benefits from what happens on this campus.”

Funding for the purchase was provided by Arrowmont, friends of Arrowmont donations, The City of Gatlinburg and the Windgate Charitable Foundation.  In August 2015 Karen Bentz, an owner of the Anakeesta project, was honored by the Pi Beta Phi fraternity for her ongoing efforts during the negotiation process. 

How do guests get to Anakeesta Mountain?

Anakeesta Mountain is connected to the Parkway by a unique aerial lift called a Chondola.  The lift is being built by Leitner-Poma of America.

Tell me about the Chondola that takes guest directly from the Parkway to Anakeesta Mountain?

The Chondola will transport guests safely to Anakeesta Mountain 600’ feet above Anakeesta Village. The 2,200’ aerial lift is approximately a 12 minute ride and transports +1,000 guests an hour on a scenic ride that skims the tree canopy to the top of Anakeesta Mountain. Wait until you see the view! You can choose to ride in the open air comfort of a quad chair or ride in the privacy of a 6 person enclosed gondola cabin.

What about parking at Anakeesta?

There are paid parking spaces available at Anakeesta. The city also staffs two large parking garages, one at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies (380 spaces) and the other at Traffic Light #3 (390 spaces) at the McMahan Parking Garage for a total of 770 parking spaces within walking distance of Anakeesta.

Do you have additional questions?

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