Ghost Town in the Sky

Ah, Ghost Town in the Sky. If you lived in South Carolina, you almost certainly found yourself subjected to this commercial at some point in time:

It was a staple of late night programming, often popping up in between brand-new episodes of DS9. Honestly, the commercials never really made me want to head up to the North Carolina mountains.  I didn’t actually go until 2007, when Tommy over at ghettoassparadise threw together a little event with some early morning ERT.

Ghost Town in the Sky main building

Ghost Town in the Sky was the creation of one R.B. Coburn.  Opened in 1961, the park was remarkably popular, becoming one of the biggest tourist draws in west North Carolina (okay, that’s a somewhat low bar).  Unfortunately, it had fallen into disrepair and had closed for several years before new owners spent a considerable amount of money revitalizing it for the 2007 season.

Ghost Town in the Sky riding up

We started out our day riding in vans to the park proper, about 4,500 feet up.

Ghost Town in the Sky van

The park is technically located on a ridge of Buck mountain, which is fairly close to the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  We took vans rather than the chair lifts because the park hadn’t opened for the day yet (it was much faster anyways).

Ghost Town in the Sky railway

In addition to vans and chairlifts, the owners were trying to restore the park’s inclined railway, but sadly they were never able to get it operational.

Ghost Town in the Sky Sign and crick

Lots of little low-key signs like this were around the areas we saw. The little waterfall was quite lovely, though.

Ghost Town in the Sky park map

As you can see, they had a lot of plans for 2008 expansions, including getting the park’s Cliffhanger  rollercoaster up and running.  I don’t think it’s a spoiler to tell you that a lot of these expansions didn’t happen.

Ghost Town in the Sky Tumbleweed

The first ride we got to was Tumbleweed, a Schiff kiddie coaster. I don’t know why they bothered opening it up for us – it’s not like we had any kids with us…

Ghost Town in the Sky Credit Whores on Tumbleweed

Oh, wait.  Credit whores are gonna credit whore (I passed).

Ghost Town in the Sky Geronimo Drop

Next up was a few trips on the park’s Fabbri drop tower, Geronimo Drop.  If this thing was set up in a parking lot, no one would care…

View from top of Geronimo Drop

But when this is your view from the top?  Okay, I’ll ride it.  The operator even held us up there for a while so we could take pictures and shoot video.  And believe me, after 15 seconds or so you really start to think about how high up you actually are…

Ghost Town in the Sky off Geronimo Drop

Can’t believe dude wore a damn Theme Park Review shirt to a GAP event. Some people…

Ghost Town in the Sky Gunslinger (2)

Gunslinger was your basic run-of-the-mill Chance Yo-Yo.  Again, nothing that would turn your head if you saw it at a carnival.

Ghost Town in the Sky Gunslinger

Giving credit where it’s due, the design of the ride was really well done and the new paintjob really popped.

Ghost Town in the Sky Gunslinger POV

For a basic old Yo-Yo, though, this was a lot of fun. The ride’s proximity to the edge really made it more exciting (and you really start to think about how strong those chains are).

Ghost Town in the Sky Dork


Ghost Town in the Sky Gunslinger shadow

Uh-oh.  Looks like Karen was getting all arty on us.

Ghost Town in the Sky Dream Catcher

Finishing out the trio of rides in this immediate area was Dream Catcher, a standard Hrubetz paratrooper ride.  It should also be noted that they did a really nice job building up the wooden structures around the rides, reducing the traveling carnival appearance.

Ghost Town in the Sky milling about

All in all, this little area of the park was rather charming.