Ghost Town in the Sky doesn't sound like it would be anything close to a fun family day out but, in fact, it once was. This amusement park was once held in high regarding Maggie Valley, North Carolina, where scenic mountain views surrounded its themed rides. Among them was the ever-popular chair lift, the Tilt-a-Whirl, and roller coasters. Additionally, the park offered entertainment such as old-fashioned horseback rides, staged Old-Western-style-shoot-outs, and can-can girls who performed daily.


The park attracted millions of visitors each year, with many celebrities among them - before it all came to an end in the 1960s, and became the literal ghost town attraction that it is today.

Can You Visit Ghost Town In The Sky Today?

The most commonly asked questions regarding Ghost Town in the Sky is whether people can visit it today. While photos of the abandoned theme park rides are enticing to those who have a fascination for the creepy and forgotten, it is closed to the general public. This has not stopped people from trespassing regardless, thus photos surface all over the internet featuring its once-prominent rides that are now desolate and decaying.

  • Fact: The park encompasses 120,000 square feet of building space.

While multiple plans have been in the works over the last decade to revamp and reopen Ghost Town in the Sky, none of these have panned out. The owner of the park, Alaska Presley, passed away, thus leaving its future uncertain.

The Heyday Of Ghost Town In The Sky And Why It Eventually Closed Down

The first thing about Ghost Town in the Sky that grabbed everyone's attention was its location. Situated perfectly on the ridge along Buck Mountain, the park grants spectacular views of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With its entrance located on U.S. Highway 19 in Maggie Valley, it was easily reached by tourists visiting North Carolina's most scenic region.

Additionally, the actual 'ghost town' sat at an elevation of more than 4,000 feet, which was all part of the allure of such a remote mountain attraction. On top of the 4,600-foot elevation, guests were thrilled to ride coasters and other thrilling attractions that catapulted them high about the surrounding mountain summits. Along with these rides, entertainment happened regularly, with actors staging old-timey, western shoot-outs on a regular basis. Those visiting would feel as though they were part of a Wild West incursion, complete with period-accurate outfits and props. With can-can girls putting on traditional western dances, it was no wonder that this park grew a reputation for being one of the most visited in North Carolina's Smokey Mountains.

Why Ghost Town In The Sky Closed Its Doors

Eventually, it was the same attractions that drew the crowds to Ghost Town in the Sky that led to its same downfall. For those wondering how a park with modern thrill rides, Wild West reenactments, and amazing views could have a downfall at all, the answer lies in the mechanics of it all... literally. Starting with the chair lift, which brought visitors two-thirds of the way up the side of the mountain. This was one way that visitors could get from the bottom of the mountain to the top but, unfortunately, it faced a major malfunction in July 2002. This malfunction left guests stranded in midair on the chair lift for a total of two hours, on a day when it happened to be hot and raining.

This wasn't the only ride that struggled to function correctly; the inline railway, which also brought guests into the park, faced numerous issues. Not only was it expensive to build, but it was also very expensive to fix and required a tremendous amount of maintenance just to keep it running.

By 2009, the park had filed for bankruptcy, which marked the final phase of its downfall. The damage didn't stop there, though - the following year, the region saw a mudslide that thankfully didn't claim any lives, but did force 40 homes to be evacuated. Additionally, Ghost Town in the Sky saw more structural damage than it could afford to fix, thus leading to its permanent closure.

While the future of Ghost Town in the Sky remains uncertain, it has still become part of local legend in the Smokey Mountains. Many people believe that the park itself is cursed, which is entirely all to easy to believe considering its unfortunate history. In reality, the remote location and challenging terrain of the park is what likely contributed to many of its issues. However, that has not stopped it from becoming the subject of spooky tales that one tells when it comes to the history of Ghost Town in the Sky, and whether or not it will eventually live on once again.