A few years ago I was planning a trip to Florida and was looking for some interesting places to stop along the way to get out and stretch our legs. Lookout Mountain kept popping up as a popular stop along our route, unfortunately there was also a cost to explore just about any part of Lookout Mountain. So we passed and found other places to stop and explore.
Fast forward 3 years new plans were made to visit Chattanooga. This time the budget included a chance to checkout what Lookout Mountain was all about. The main attractions on Lookout Mountain includes the Incline Railway, Ruby Falls, and Rock City. We opted to just do Ruby Falls and Rock City, mainly due to lack of time. We were visiting around St. Patrick’s Day and I had thought about visiting on on the holiday to take in the extra festivities but the thought of extra crowds scared me off. But if crowds are your thing, I think it would be a cool place to visit for their special events.
We set off for the day with our first destination as Ruby Falls. The girls enjoyed the cave tour and I thought it was just okay. The falls of course are the highlight of the tour. We have done many cave tours over the past few years so we have many different ones to compare. For me, this wasn’t my favorite tour but it was fine. I am not sure what it was but I didn’t feel a strong sense of connection to this place. It may have been because all the lighting was artificial neon color on the cave features throughout the tour or it could have been that most of the tour was done by an audio recording at certain locations, or that I really felt like the way to and from the falls was rushed along. It was kind of like a road trip. There are two kinds of trips. One where you stop along the way, where the fun comes from the journey and not just the desitnation. But this tour was definitely like the kind of trip where you power through the drive to get to the destination as fast as possible. But that said, the falls were neat. The waterfall, I believe, is one of the tallest underground waterfalls that are accessible to the public.
After our tour, we climbed up to the top of the observation tower and admired the view of the area before heading back down to make our way to Rock City.
After leaving Ruby Falls, we made our way to Rock City. I had no idea what to expect and in the end was pleasantly surprised. There was a rock trail area that lead through the attraction. When purchasing tickets, the staff person told the girls to keep a lookout for the gnomes and see if we could find all 70+ gnomes throughout the park. The girls are always up for scavenger hunts so I think this kept them interested.
When you enter Rock City, you hop on a one way trail with direction signs that lead you through the whole attraction. Besides, the gnomes, the big attraction here is Lover’s Leap. The girls were a little nervous going to the edge but had fun looking at the view. Elsie wanted to take the swinging bridge across so I went with her and John and Evie followed.
Standing atop Lover’s Leap, you can look out and see 7 different states from that point of view.
After taking in the view, the path then meandered down past the waterfall, which was still dyed green from St. Patrick’s Day the day before we visited.
Eventually, the trail led us down through the Fairlyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village. I was not expecting something like this here but the girls enjoyed it.
It ended up being a great afternoon and we had fun exploring this unique attraction. By the time we were done, it was mid-afternoon and we were all revenous. There was a restaraunt at Rock City but it was mainly burgers and chicken strips and we wanted something a little more local so we set off down the “mountain” and made our way to The Purple Daisy Picnic Cafe, a yummy little BBQ joint in Chattanooga, not far from Lookout Mountain that I highly recommend. It was a small, unique, local restaraunt, which was just our cup of tea. I had a delicious beer that I wanted more of but of course, the little brewery was closed on Mondays and that was the only place it was sold.
If you find yourself in Chattanooga, a day on Lookout Mountain is worth your time. I would definitely recommend Rock City and if you have time than head to Ruby Falls. And while you are there, stop in to the Purple Daisy Picnic Cafe for some BBQ and brews.
DATE OF TRAVEL: March 18th, 2019