At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.

Ghost Town rebranded; Theme park to become Appalachian Village

fr ghosttownGhost Town in the Sky will no longer be a western-themed amusement park come next summer, according to a recent announcement.

The mountaintop park in Maggie Valley, which has been known for its western town façade with choreographed gunfights and saloon dancers since it opened in the late 1960s, will be turned into Ghost Town Village. 

Ghost Town’s Facebook page is already promoting the new brand with plans to open to the public June 1, 2016. According to information on the park’s website, visitors will still be able to ride the chairlift to the top of the mountain, but tickets will only be $10 instead of the $25 tickets the park has been charging the last couple of years.

The Ghost Town In The Sky Museum will be on level two as visitors get off the chairlift and will offer a guided tour of what the park was in its glory days as well as a 15-minute movie. An arcade, photo shop and paintball course is also promised for level two.

Once upon a time Ghost Town offered many amusement park rides, including a mountainside roller coaster, but the rides haven’t been in operation for about 10 years. While many people would like to see the rides back in service, the expense is too much for Ghost Town’s owner Alaska Presley to handle, especially with declining visitors. 

“To replace the existing rides would cost more than $15 million and still would not compete with Dollywood, Six Flags, etc,” the website states. “The highest and best use for the property was to re-brand it as a mountain Appalachian village with local artisans & entertainment.”

The western town on level three of the mountain will be converted into an Appalachian Village featuring retail shops, restaurants and live entertainment.  

“The gunfights will remain but with a new story line. It will not be western as much as ‘moonshiners’ robbing the bank. The Village Theatre and the Moonshiners Playhouse both will have live entertainment as well as street performances,” the website states. “Can Can girls will be incorporated in one show as a take of the 1880s, but the entertainment will be updated for todays audience.”

As for level four, Presley has had plans to turn it into a Christian-themed park similar to Holy Land in Florida. Presley’s dream of Resurrection Mountain is to walk visitors through the life of Jesus Christ and offer a place for church groups to worship. The crown jewel of the project is Presley’s desire to place a 150-foot cross on top of the ridge, but the state’s ridge laws seem to have stalled that structure. According to Ghost Town’s website, the ridgeline survey for the cross was recently completed.

Even with the rebranding, Resurrection Mountain is apparently still in the works, but the area will be more of a convention center for banquets, wedding, revivals and more. There will be outside walking gardens to the tomb, hiking and horseback riding trails as well. 

Chris Chagnon, a local Realtor who served as Ghost Town’s general manager in 2014, has assisted Presley in the rebranding effort. When contacted for more information, he said he was not available for an interview by press time. 

For more information, visit www.ghosttownvillagecom

Go to top