The Ultimate Guide To Ruby Falls
Ruby Falls, a spectacular underground waterfall, is a true icon of must-see nature!
Ruby Falls, the deepest and tallest underground waterfall in the US, is accessible only via guided tours traversing the narrow caverns of the Lookout Mountain leading to the miraculous Ruby Falls!
Ruby Falls Cave and Ruby Falls, located deep inside Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee, near Tennessee and Georgia state border, is a world of fascinating nature featuring stunning geological formations, a fault line, and one of the most unique and spectacular waterfalls in the world! Ruby Falls is situated about 1,120 feet below the mountain’s surface and approximately 0.5 miles deep inside the mountain from the entrance. The imposing waterfall, plunging nearly 145 feet from the cave’s ceiling into a pool at its bottom, along with light and music effects, is a sight to behold that’s better seen in this short video – The amazing Ruby Falls!
Sculpted and shaped by nature, Ruby Falls Cave in Lookout Mountain was created several million years ago as a result of groundwater dissolving the soft limestone and minerals, creating cracks and narrow passages that lead to the Ruby Falls located at the end of the Ruby Falls Cave cascading down the cave’s roof. Ruby Falls was discovered by Leo Lambert, a cave enthusiast, who through an extraordinary expedition which included passing through narrow dark caves and crawling through tight spaces, first saw the waterfall in 1928 and named it after his wife, Ruby!
Ruby Falls is equipped with a modern and futuristic elevator, making it a breeze to get to the bottom at the entrance of the Ruby Falls Cave, but from there, it’s a one-mile roundtrip hike to Ruby Falls!
Ruby Falls can only be explored via guided tours of the cave, departing multiple times a day from the Ruby Falls Visitor Center. The Park offers various cave tour options and experiences, including the Classic Waterfall Tour, which is the most popular of all cave tours and offered year-round, the seasonal Lantern Tours, and Extended Cave Experience offered year-round but only on select dates. To add to the adventure, Ruby Falls also features a zip line and the Lookout Mountain Tower, an observation tower featuring sweeping views of the neighboring area. Lookout Mountain is also home to a few other great attractions, including Rock City and Incline Railway, located pretty close to Ruby Falls and are a great addition to your Ruby Falls itinerary!
Here is my ultimate guide to Ruby Falls, featuring essential trip-planning information, various cave tour options, activities, nearby attractions, and recommendations on hotels and restaurants near Ruby Falls!
Best Way To Explore Ruby Falls
Ruby Falls Cave Tours
Classic Waterfall Tour: Guided tour of the cavern, takes around 1 hour 15 mins via some stunning rock formations that lead to beautiful waterfalls. Besides the waterfall, on your trip, you will see a fault line caused by tectonic movements of the Earth’s plates, running right above you. You will also see some impressive rock formations like the Elephant’s Foot, Dragon’s Foot, Angle’s Wing a drapery/curtain formation, Frozen Niagara, and several others. The waterfall also features a light show that illuminates the entire waterfall; it’s awe-inspiring and a real treat to your eyes and soul! I did the Classic tour and would recommend it to the first-timers.
Lantern Tour: This is a specialty tour offered seasonally every Friday night. There is no light in the entire cave except handheld lanterns. I haven’t done this tour but can tell that it will be adventurous and a one-of-a-kind experience.
Gentle Walking Tour: This is a slow-paced tour, giving you more time to explore the cave and the waterfall.
There’s complimentary parking available even for RVs, and they do have Dog Kennels. There’s an elevator that takes you down to the cavern. The wait time normally ranges from 10-30 minutes; you will have to line up in front of the elevator once your tour time is announced. If you arrive early or have time after your tour, there are several other attractions at Ruby Falls –
Lookout Mountain Tower: It is a tall observation tower, about 70 ft tall, built using the limestone excavated while installing the elevator at Ruby Falls. You can either take the stairs or use the elevator to go to the upper level and then take a few steps to get to the top of the tower. The Lookout Mountain Tower offers some breathtaking and sweeping views of the area. There are two decks, and you can access both at no extra cost. There’s an observation room in the upper level fitted with large windows, comfortable seating facing the windows, a restroom, and a small cafeteria.
Gift Shop and Cavern Café: There’s a gift shop and café serving snacks and drinks.
High Point ZIP Adventure: Open seasonally, offering some thrilling zip lines on top of Lookout Mountain.
Rock City and Incline Railway are the other two popular attractions close to Ruby Falls, and I highly recommend visiting those places. If you decide to visit Rock City and Incline Railway, which I highly recommend, I would recommend buying the combo tickets for all three attractions.
Other Tennessee Attractions & Related Posts
I hope you enjoyed reading the post, The Ultimate Guide To Ruby Falls, and I hope this will help you plan your trip to Ruby Falls. You can find other attractions in Tennessee in my Tennessee Travel Guide.
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