If you’ve been following this blog for a bit, you know my family and I love to travel. We especially love road trips. Well, I love road trips – not so sure about my husband as he does most of the driving.
For the last several years we have covered a lot of territory in the U.S., and recently the southeastern region. We drove from Chicago to Miami. You read that correctly. We drove from Chicago to Miami. That’s a lot of ground covered and things to see. We stopped along the way to see friends in Atlanta and check out a few touristy spots. One of the spots we visited was Rock City in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Chattanooga is a beautiful place located on the rolling green foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It’s not a place we would necessarily travel to so I am glad it was a stop on our trip. This is why I love road trips! You get to see so many sites along the way.
We had not heard of Rock City until we saw signs along the interstate. I decided to do some research and take a poll on social media if it was worth a stop. With a resounding “yes” from my poll, we added Rock City to our plans.
If you’re in the area or looking for fun road trip destinations, I highly recommend adding Rock City to your itinerary. It’s located on the Tennessee-Georgia border right outside of Chattanooga.
According to their website, Rock City’s history as a world-famous tourist attraction dates back to the days of the Great Depression, but its history as a geological marvel of nature reaches back several thousands of years before that. Each year, more than half a million people visit the attraction to enjoy the many natural splendors that abound. Over the years, several features have been added to the original attraction, including the popular Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village, the Cornerstone Station, as well as a myriad of shops and restaurants. In addition, the annual events such as Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights during the holiday season bring in guests by the droves. And the gardens have also grown through the years to include more than 400 different species of native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees.
You need to plan on spending a minimum of two hours here so you can make it through the entire area. You can buy tickets online or in person.
There are several gift shops and vendor areas with food and beverage right when you walk in, then you make your way over to the entrance which is adorned with this gnome statue and a cute red door. There are red doors throughout the entire gardens.
It’s not a strenuous walk through the gardens but there are some areas the trail gets narrow and you have to walk between two large rocks. I’m not going to lie, a few times it gave me a little anxiety –– but, that’s just me. I always felt safe, just a little claustrophobic.
The trail leading to up to Lookout Mountain was filled with little gnomes, beautiful flowers, and natural waterfalls.
Before you get to the top you have to cross a suspension bridge. I would have been more comfortable with this if the people in front of us weren’t shaking it and trying to take pictures. So, my advice is to stay back and let the people in front of you go first. There may also be another trail leading to the top, but this is the one we took.
After the bridge, the trail circles around the side of the mountain to this stunning view. It makes for a perfect photo op!
Once you reach the top, the views are stunning. The mountains seem to go on forever. You can actually see seven states.
We stayed up on the point for about 15 minutes to take in the views and snag some pictures. There are also more vendors, restrooms and a gift shop at the top. As you make your way down, you think it’s over but you’re pleasantly surprised by the “lands” you enter: Fairyland and Mother Goose Land. It feels very Disneyland-esque. I won’t spoil it with too many details, but it’s so clever and the kids loved it! I didn’t get any pictures of these “lands” as you’re in the mountain and it’s darker.
We loved Rock City and are so glad we made the stop. It’s a treasure and something I would recommend to anyone. There is another attraction nearby called Ruby Falls you can also visit. It’s an underground (like WAY underground) waterfall. You take an elevator down 1,120 feet. Yes, that number is correct. Once we got to the bottom I was a little freaked out. We tried to do the tour, but the caves were way too narrow and we only made it about halfway through before my little one got scared. If I’m being honest, it was a little too much for me too. There aren’t any bathrooms during the 1-2 hour tour either so we turned back and missed the waterfall. I know it would have been worth it to see but I couldn’t wait to get back to ground level. If you visit Ruby Falls, just be prepared on what to expect and if you don’t like close quarters, I would suggest passing this one up.
Rock City was money well spent and I know the memories we made there will last a lifetime.