If you’ve ever driven through Tennessee, you’ll notice barn signs that reads “SEE ROCK CITY” all along the interstates. This advertising began back in the 1930s, and can be seen on barns. I can remember thinking, “One day, I’ll come here and see what all the craze is about.”
What can you see at Rock City?
It’s located at Lookout Mountain, which is actually in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. The place was named Rock City because the natural formations are aligned so they seem to form streets and lanes between the towering rocks that look like buildings.
You would see the beautiful rock garden with boulders, crevices, gnomes, fairy tale characters, and a swinging bridge. From the lookout at Lover’s Leap point, a sign says you can even spot seven states. Not just this, a waterfall from a Lover’s leap point is something you will be going to admire for sure.
So, Let’s see how a Day trip to Rock City would look like.
Rock City Gardens
When you enter the Rock City Gardens you’ll walk through the gift shop to enter the Enchanted Trail. There are plenty of wonders and sweeping views along the trail that will amaze you.
GRAND CORRIDOR AND NEEDLE’S EYE
The paved path will first guide you through Grand Corridor – a walk through rock formations and native flora and fauna.
You can even see the gnomes strategically places around the gardens and they show they have been around from the early years.
Each area of Rock City seems to have a story attached to it, and the winding trails through the rocks are genuinely fun to navigate. Another highlight of the trail is the descent through Fat Man Squeeze. A staircase will lead you through another narrow passageway between two rocks. At the bottom, you’ll find an observation point where you can see both Lover’s Leap and the waterfall.
The most amusing part in the Rock City garden is the swinging bridge and of course, who doesn’t love swinging bridges? OK, might be acrophobes aside. A walk across the bridge gives you sweeping views of the Chattanooga valley.
You don’t have to take the swinging bridge if that scares you there is a stationary one as well.
This is also a perfect spot for photos. Get panoramic shots of the view, where you can see seven of these states at once: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Though I’m not quite sure how you can tell exactly which you’re looking at 😉
This particular area of Rock City is probably my favorite. The views were gorgeous, and you could actually see a See Rock City barn from here!
This place has got its name from the tale of two young lovers named Sautee and Nacoochee from two feuding tribes. According to the tale, Sautee was captured and thrown from the top of Lover’s Leap. Nacoochee, distraught from the loss, jumped to her own death.
Fairyland Caverns & Mother Goose Village
The finale of the gardens is Fairyland Caverns which is a long tunnel with more gnomes and little windows that show scenes of many of the Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes depicted. The scenes will brought back all those childhood memories and you could feel that the stories you learned and loved were true and real. At the very end, you’ll reach Mother Goose Village, a large room where you can walk around and admire the sculptures from your favorite nursery rhymes.
We thought our stop at Ruby Falls would be quick but found much more than we expected. We accessed the falls by entering a castle-like building, taking an elevator down 26 stories deep, then walking less than for half a mile with a very informative and entertaining guide.
While walking through the cave, one can admire the various rock formations. And then suddenly, when we reached the end of the cave, lights got turned off, the music swelled and BOOM!!, There was a magnificent 145-foot waterfall in front of my eyes. I couldn’t take a good picture of the falls as it was really crowded.
Also, don’t forgot to take a picture in front of the Ruby Falls welcome sign board 🙂
So if your travels take you in the vicinity of Lookout Mountain, definitely “See Rock City”. With stunning views, well-paved walking paths, and so many small details, it makes the perfect family destination. And yes, these areas are very touristy (gift shops, souvenir photos, etc.), but each experience is unique, and in my opinion, it was well worth spending. Also, if you really want to save a penny and not interested in cave experience at all, then you can skip Ruby Falls and buy tickets just for Rock City.
We loved our time there, and it’s an experience we won’t soon forget. Lastly, don’t forget to take home your own little “See Rock City” birdhouse, just like I did.
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