Take your road trip to new heights with a visit to scenic Lookout Mountain, located just 6 miles from downtown Chattanooga. Lookout Mountain's beautiful views and one-of-a-kind attractions provide unforgettable experiences for everyone, whether you're traveling with the family, hitting the road with friends, seeking a memorable retirement getaway or taking a romantic couples trip. Attractions on Lookout Mountain showcase Chattanooga's most incredible natural wonders, drawing curious visitors from all over the world.
Things to See and Do at Ruby Falls
One of the most beautiful sights on Lookout Mountain is inside the mountain. Since 1930, travelers of all ages have taken the scenic route to see Ruby Falls, the tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public in the United States. The guided cave journey to the beautiful waterfall is part of the fun. Guests travel 260 feet down into the depths of Lookout Mountain by a glass-front elevator then walk along the paved half-mile cavern trail for a close-up view of thundering Ruby Falls.
You’ll learn the inspiring story behind the accidental discovery of Ruby Falls and see the cave’s ancient geological formations. The artistry of nature is highlighted with stalagmites, stalactites, flowstone and other formations along the cavern trail. The roundtrip adventure is just under 1 mile.
In a fateful turn of events, chemist and cave enthusiast Leo Lambert discovered Ruby Falls by accident in 1928 and named it for his wife, Ruby. Today, Ruby Falls welcomes guests from around the world and is considered one of the most breathtaking natural wonders in the Southeast.
After emerging from the depths of the cave, head up high to enjoy expansive views of the Cumberland Plateau and the Tennessee River from historic Lookout Mountain Tower.
Colorblind Viewer Allows Visitors to See Fall Foliage
In 2018, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development installed a special colorblind viewfinder at Ruby Falls outfitted with an innovative lens designed to enable people with color blindness to see a wider range of true, vibrant colors. Located on Ruby Falls’ accessible Blue Heron Overlook, the viewfinder is especially useful during the fall months, providing guests with color blindness the ability to enjoy the brilliant fall foliage blanketing the landscape of the Cumberland Plateau and Tennessee Valley with striking shades of red, yellow and orange.
Adrenaline lovers will want to experience High Point ZIP Adventure at Ruby Falls. Open seasonally, it features 700 feet of rushing zip lines through the forest tree tops and a 40-foot climbing tower.
Pleasant Weather Year-Round
There's no need to worry about the weather at Ruby Falls, where there is zero chance of rain inside the cave, and the temperature hovers at a comfortable 60 degrees year round.
Ruby Falls tickets are sold online only, and advance reservations are required. Holidays and weekends sell out quickly. If you have flexibility in your travel schedule, plan your visit to take advantage of an after-hours specialty tour or visit during one of the award-winning special events throughout the year. Weekday visits are often rewarded with extra elbow room at the waterfall; although no matter when you visit, you’re in for a visual treat.
Plan your visit and purchase tickets at rubyfalls.com.
Family-Friendly Must-Do’s at Rock City
Prepare to be enchanted at Rock City, located 1,700 feet above sea level high atop Lookout Mountain. A true natural wonder, Rock City is a magical outdoor walking trail that features massive ancient rock formations, gardens with more than 400 native plant species and a cascading waterfall. You can see seven states from the Lover's Leap observation point, offering awe-inspiring views of the Tennessee Valley.
Rock City Gardens has been welcoming guests since 1932. Thrill seekers shouldn't miss walking across Rock City's famous Swing-A-Long Bridge, which spans nearly 200 feet and provides stunning views of the Chattanooga Valley. An alternative Stone Bridge is also available for those who prefer a steadier path.
Each season brings new blooms and colors to Rock City’s lush gardens. The Enchanted Trail is also enhanced with unique sculptures created by local and regional artists. Stroll through the charming Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village to discover whimsical and nostalgic vignettes depicting classic stories and fairytales.
Rock City Raptors invites guests to experience a seasonal Birds of Prey Show in Critter Classroom, offering a rare opportunity to see powerful birds up close such as bald eagles, owls and hawks. Before you leave, shop for a souvenir in one of several Rock City gift shops featuring Rock City memorabilia, iconic birdhouses, fresh fudge, garden decor, gnomes and more.
If all that exploring leaves you hungry, enjoy food and drinks at one of Rock City's eateries – Big Rock Grill, Café 7, Cliff Terrace or Starbucks.
Magical memories worth repeating await you year round, starting with a Valentine’s package in February; an Irish festival called Shamrock City, in March; and EarthDayz in April. May hosts the Southern Blooms Festival and Founder’s Day celebration, with 2022 boasting Rock City’s 90th anniversary. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, guests can enjoy Summer Music Weekends and catch raptor shows. The seasonal restaurant Café 7 serves modern, Southern favorites and local craft brews. October brings out Rock City’s German heritage during Rocktoberfest along with outstanding fall foliage. Beginning in mid-November, Rock City opens at night for the award-winning Enchanted Garden of Lights. With over a million lights, gingerbread cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus and Santa in his workshop waiting for your list – it’s a must-experience holiday tradition. All events feature live entertainment, specialty food and hands-on activities for all ages. Leashed pets are always welcome.
Each season there’s a new reason to visit Rock City and a great reason to buy an annual pass for the cost of two admissions. Visit seerockcity.com to reserve your ticket.