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We know you love finding secret spots in the Smoky Mountains, from fairy houses to hidden tunnels. But, did you know that some of the best spots in the Smokies to visit are the bridges in the area? There are a number of bridges, both popular and lesser known, that allow visitors to explore the area in a new way! Check out these 5 unique Smoky Mountain bridges you have to cross.
1. Gatlinburg SkyBridge
We know you’ve heard of this bridge before! The Gatlinburg SkyBridge is one of the most popular Smoky Mountain bridges. It’s the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the United States! Located at the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park, you’ll cross the 680-foot-long bridge that stretches over a deep valley. Along the way, you’ll have panoramic views of Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. At its midpoint, the bridge has a height of 140 feet. There are also glass-floor panels in the middle of the bridge that give you the opportunity to look at the ground below! You’ll actually get to cross the bridge twice to get back to the SkyDeck, where you can relax, grab a bite to eat and take in the views before riding the Gatlinburg SkyLift back down Crockett Mountain.
2. Elkmont Troll Bridge
The Elkmont Troll Bridge is considered a hidden gem in the Smoky Mountains. The Elkmont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park used to be a pioneer community, then a logging town, then a resort town for wealthy vacationers. Once the National Park Service took over, it slowly started turning into a ghost town. One structure that’s still standing today is the Elkmont Troll Bridge. This unique spot spans a small creek a little ways off trail. To get to the bridge, you’ll take one of the side trails on your right about 100 feet along the Little River Trail. The side trail will take you through the forest until you reach the bridge. A helpful tip is just to stay on the path parallel to the stone walls!
3. Harrisburg Covered Bridge
The Harrisburg Covered Bridge has become a popular spot to take pictures in the Smoky Mountain area. It’s one of only four covered bridges in the state of Tennessee. This 83-foot-long bridge has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975 and is about 15 minutes away from downtown Sevierville. The bridge was once used by locals to cross the East Prong of the Little Pigeon River. What’s unique about this Smoky Mountain bridge is that it was once washed away during a storm, and the people of the Harrisburg community donated the lumber and labor to rebuild the bridge. Throughout the years, the community has kept the bridge up and running, along with the Great Smokies Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
4. Bridge to Prosperity
The Bridge to Prosperity is America’s second longest swinging bridge! This “magical” bridge stretches 335 feet across Foxfire Gorge. You’ll feel the bridge sway back and forth as you walk across to the Whispering Winds Covered Bridge on the other side and hang up your wish. The Whispering Winds Covered Bridge is home to thousands of wishes from all who’ve crossed The Bridge to Prosperity. This bridge is located at Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park, which is also home to ziplines, rides and rope courses.
5. Laurel Falls Bridge
One of the best Smoky Mountain bridges for those who want to see the beauty of the Smokies up close is the Laurel Falls Bridge. Laurel Falls is an 80-foot-high waterfall that has both an upper and a lower section. The Laurel Falls Bridge crosses the stream at the base of the upper falls, so you’ll have a gorgeous view of the waterfall when you cross the bridge! To get to Laurel Falls and the bridge, you’ll hike Laurel Falls Trail for 1.3 miles. The hike to the bridge and back takes about 2 to 3 hours to complete.
Now you know all about the unique Smoky Mountain bridges you have to cross during your trip to the Smoky Mountains. Visit one of the bridges, or make time to see all five! If you’re interested in learning about more hidden gems in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, read our blog, “5 Hidden Gems to Uncover in the Smoky Mountain National Park.”