There are more caves and waterfalls n Tennessee than anywhere in the United States. There are over 500 waterfalls in Tennessee and over 9,600 caves on record in Tennessee but most of the caves are located on private property. Ruby Falls Tennessee is a little different than the others because it is open to the public and it is an absolutely stunning vision to behold.
Don’t miss The Island In Pigeon Forge it next time you’re in Chattanooga.
I have been expressing to my readers the importance of traveling and getting out of your comfort zone for quite some time. I believe most people think traveling means going to another country but there is so much to do and rich history right in our own backyards that we are missing out on because we don’t consider exploring the state we live in and just maybe your city has something spectacular to offer you and your family.
What’s preventing you from making the most of your weekends? Are you sitting home doing the same ole same ole? So today I want to challenge each of you to explore your own city and find an adventure in your own backyard. Maybe you don’t have a ton of money to travel to faraway places but you can explore the culture that is right around you.
Ruby Falls: Chattanooga Tennessee
I took my own advice and decided to take a day trip with my daughter Madison to visit Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, TN. Ruby Falls is a thundering 145-foot waterfall located deep within Lookout Mountain.
Ruby Falls is located in the northwest corner of the state. Ruby Falls apart of a group of Chattanooga attractions that are grouped together and include Ruby Falls, the Incline Railway, and Rock City TN.
Chattanooga is less than 2 hours from Murfreesboro which makes it the perfect day trip. Madison and I woke up early grabbed a bite to eat and hit the road to explore Ruby Falls for the day and we could be back home before it got dark.
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Ruby Falls Reservations
Perhaps a key factor in making your visit fun and educational is calling ahead and making reservations for the small VIP tour group (8 people), which I did not do!! Our tour had at least 30+ people and it was hard to take pictures and ask questions about the formations without feeling rushed but I definitely plan on returning and I will make sure we plan ahead and schedule the VIP tour.
Ruby Falls Hours and Tickets
Ruby Falls hours are daily from 8 am – 8 pm (EST) and on holidays enjoy the Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern or the Ruby Falls zip line.
Ruby Falls tickets can be purchased online or in-person. I purchased tickets for both Ruby Falls with Rock City tickets but you can add the Incline Railway if you have enough time.
If you plan to experience more than one of these attractions in a day, be sure to check the Incline and Rock City hours of operation. Three attractions seemed like a lot for us and we were exhausted by the time we finished Rock City so if you want to experience all three attractions I suggest staying the weekend in Chattanooga.
In order to see this waterfall, I paid the admission price for a guided tour for both Madison and I (click here for the latest on hours and prices), then followed the guide Doug for about next hour and a half. It began with an elevator ride taking us some 1120 ft below the surface of Lookout Mountain, then traveled through a maze of corridors with formations that Doug explained along the way.
My daughter Madison was so excited and amazed by the formations and to see her face light up with excitement and anticipation about what was coming up next was exactly what I wanted to achieve with this day trip to Ruby Falls.
The Ruby Falls walking tour is easy breezy and nothing compared to that of Leo Lambert, the founder of person Ruby Falls when he first explored the cave. When Leo found the cave he had to crawl for 17 hours! Can you imagine how claustrophobic and nerve-wracking that would be? We saw the same rock formations Leo saw and there are signs everywhere pointing out specific rocks and it only took us 1.25 hours to complete the tour.
The Ruby Falls Waterfall
The tour took Madison and me to the Ruby Falls waterfall and back to the entrance. Once we reached the falls it is completely dark! I do mean completely dark. Madison was squeezing my hand so tight and out of nowhere came the light show.
The purple and blue light show was spectacular and we were allowed to take photos behind the falls once it lit up. The falls looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie so be sure to look and watch the water spill down the falls like a thunderous volcano erupting right before your eyes.
It seemed like it took us forever to get to the fall but the return trip is faster but it also gave us an opportunity to takes photos of rock formations we may have missed on the way down, so make sure you have your camera ready.
What Happens To The Water At Ruby Falls
The stream, 1120 feet underground, is fed both by rainwater and natural springs. It collects in a pool on the cave floor and then continues through the mountain until finally joining the Tennessee River at the base of Lookout Mountain.
Explore Your Own Backyard
Ruby Falls made both my daughter and me, aware of the natural wonders that are all around us. What land or natural beauty is around your city? Look at a map and see what natural resources surround your area! You may be surprised to discover areas that you have never explored or driven to!
Don’t see anything new? Look up national parks, gardens, waterfalls, oceans, lakes, rivers, etc. that are around your city! You are guaranteed to find something!!
Remember travel Junkies, your life is the adventure and no matter how near or far you can physically go, you can make life FULL of adventure and joy right where you are! So where are you going this weekend? What are you going to do differently? I hope I have inspired you to explore the city or state you live in and check out what all it has to offer.
Tips for exploring Ruby Falls Tennessee
- Make sure everyone goes to the bathroom before the tour starts because once you start the tour there are no detours not even to use the bathroom.
- Bring a sweater because caves keep a constant temperature around 60 degrees year round.
- Don’t try to do all three attractions in one day.
- If you can spend the night in Chattanooga and make a weekend out of your adventure then I would do that instead of taking a day trip.
Where to Eat Near Ruby Falls Cause You Must Be Hungry By Now
Chattanooga is a short 10-minute drive from Ruby falls with plenty of dining options.
Sugar’s Ribs/East Ridge: Sugar’s Ribs is for the purist BBQ fan. They are more like an old fashion, roadside BBQ but in a comfortable setting with a great view of the surrounding mountains and downtown Chattanooga.
Boathouse Rotisserie & Raw Bar: Come for the View! Come back for the food! The vista is provided by the Signal and Lookout Mountains, reflecting off the Tennessee River. The Boathouse features a perfect environment and a well-rounded menu.
Champy’s Famous Fried Chicken: Champy’s is by far my favorite chicken shack. We have one in Murfreesboro and we dine there as a family at least once a week because it’s just that good!
3rd Deck Burger Bar: The Burger Bar Has An Atmosphere Like No Other In Chattanooga. This Gem Sits 40 Feet Above The Beautiful Tennessee River Offering Outside Patio Seating Or Indoor Leather Couch Seating Right On The River!
Alchemy (inside The Westin Chattanooga): Relax by a fire pit with a cocktail in hand, enjoy appetizers on the rooftop at sunset, or dine on chef-curated dishes inside Alchemy, located right on the tenth floor. Using only the finest seasonal ingredients, Alchemy offers a mouthwatering array of dishes.