Kenn Dodson’s travel workbench
Travel tips, trends, and gear reviews
“Experience the world as a Happy Accident.” – Kenn Dodson
Ruby Falls Lookout Mountain Georgia

Ruby Falls: Things to do in Chattanooga

Microsoft365 for Business
Microsoft for Business

Review: Ruby Falls

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


Pros: Family friendly, easily walkable, photo-ops galore, one of a kind views, very friendly staff.
Cons: Busy place so your tour may have to stand off to the side in tight areas to let other groups pass.

What to wear: Comfortable shoes that protect the toes, plus a light jacket or long sleeves. While cool, Ruby Falls is not quite as cold as other caverns I’ve visited.

Quick videos of Ruby Falls

Ruby Falls lights up in a rainbow of colors as you reach it.
Colorful lighting adds a playful character to your tour of Ruby Falls cavern.
Enjoy a beer on tap and a meal before entering through the cave entrance.
Leo’s Passage follows the crevice original explorers had to use to see Ruby Falls.
Enjoy the expansive view atop the Ruby Falls Castle’s tower. You can almost see 7 states!

Tips for visiting Ruby Falls

Going up – then down – to Ruby Falls

If you’re staying in Chattanooga proper, then you’ll find yourself “going up – to go down” Ruby Falls. Why? Because, like Rock City Gardens, it is located up on Lookout Mountain. And once there, you’ll have to descend 260 feet back down into the mountain, via elevator, to get to the caverns.

Be aware: you’ll have to navigate a few winding roads to get up Lookout Mountain to Ruby Falls. But don’t worry – that’s half the fun. We took my 2021 Toyota Tacoma on our visit and it easily handled the steep grades – both up and down the mountain. Just be sure to use your lower gear on the downtrip.

Ruby Falls is a cave with easy access and modern comforts

Ruby Falls is a rare type of cave system as it was positioned inside a mountain and totally unaccessible by humans. When Leo Lambert discovered it by accident during drilling to reach another cave system, the original passage was quite a struggle to crawl. In fact, he had to crawl for hours and hours before he discovered the falls. But thankfully you don’t have to as tons of stone were painstakingly removed to make access easier and the stone then used to build a magnificent castle tower above the cave’s entrance.

As a result, unlike many other caves you may have visited, Ruby Falls has the benefit of a completely manmade access walk that features a gentler (and safer) slope to walk, lots of handrails, and plenty of electrical access. And, most surprisingly, they have WiFi hotspots throughout the cave.

A light show like no other

I’ve been to many, many caves including the world’s largest cave system at Mammoth Cave in my ancestorial home of Kentucky (what a spectacular cave system). And to numerous other smaller caves. But none has provided the dazzling spectacle of color that Ruby Falls does as the light dances off stalagtites, shiny smooth walls, and other features, making its way deep into the darkened crevices all around.

The use of vibrant color adds much to the vitality of Ruby Falls and is all thanks to the ample access to electricity – and the fact they are not a national or state park. This gives them a great deal of freedom to provide a much different experience than found in those public-owned caverns.

That’s what really makes Ruby Falls worth a visit: the spectacle of light and color. Combined with the power of the falls as you near them . . . the sound of rushing water echoing against the cave walls . . . and a very slight wind (almost unnoticable) that pushes out from it . . . you experience a thrill you’ll never get elsewhere.

Arriving at the falls

As you journey the well paved path to the falls, you encounter numerous unique geological specimens, including my favorite: steak and potatoes. Since my last visit back in the ’70s (article at Retro-Travel) I’m surprised someone didn’t try to eat it up, it looks so real. And many beautiful little ponds, illuminated by colorful lights. Plus, masses of stalagtites hanging dartfully above your head. I noticed one or two had broken off and I thought to myself “did it put somebody’s eye out?” This was one time I didn’t linger to find out.

Upon reaching the falls, you will be impressed. When I was a child we were allowed to walk around them. I clearly remember hitting my head against the low rock ceiling. I suppose that (and getting a bit of spray from the falls) is the reason that path is now closed. Instead, you are led to stand directly in front of the falls in all their glory as whimsical colors dance upon them.

Like Rock City Gardens, Ruby Falls offers modern and well maintained facilities, a friendly staff, and a nice dining option. They also have a great gift shop that is worth your time. Combined with the parade of colors throughout the cave and, most impressively, on the falls, we rate Ruby Falls 4.5 out of 5 stars and suggest adding it as your number 2 stop during your weekend getaway to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

READ PART 1: Why you should “See Rock City” on a weekend getaway.

PART 3: Coming soon, our third pick for things to do during your weekend getaway in Chattanooga, Tennessee: The Incline Railroad.

Please “LIKE” and “SUBSCRIBE” Today!

Things to do in Chattanooga Ruby Falls

Things to do in Chattanooga Ruby Falls

2 responses to “Ruby Falls: Things to do in Chattanooga”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: