Rock City sits on Lookout Mountain in north Georgia, which is located about 6 miles outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee. It's a great family friendly experience because it not only incorporates physical exercise though all of the natural rock formations, but it takes everyone on a nature adventure, through caves and other "attractions" to keep you intrigued (or distracted from the heat!). This is another childhood experience I got to re-live, as I came here during an elementary field trip "way back in the day".
Let's Start with Tips for this Trip
Here are a few tips that may help you on your trip, especially if traveling with children or elderly family, so you can be prepared:
- Bring snacks and drinks. I consider this an easy hike, and although less than a mile one way, you stop often to look at things and take pictures.
- Leave your stroller behind. Some trails are very skinny or have steps up or down made of rocks. That means carry packs for babies and toddlers need plenty of energy snacks and hydration.
- Pets are welcome on the Enchanted Trail and the restaurant. We opted to leave Lula at home because of the expected crowd, and wanted to avoid the constant disruption of kids petting her or fearful people wanting us to wait so they could pass. Your choice, but dogs must be leashed at all times.
- Wear comfortable shoes. This is considered a hike with different natural surfaces. Cowgirl boots are not suggested and I don't know what I was thinking.....
- Stop by the gift shop and pick up an iconic "barn" birdhouse. They are fairly priced, but don't weather very well if placed outdoors with no protection. Mines been in use for about a year and looks like it's about to fall apart, but its hanging from a tree and birds do use it every year.
Rock City Gardens
A trail winds through the gardens area, with over 400 native plant species through out. It was a peaceful walk and was neat to see plants from my childhood (and now!) that I had seen during my explorations in the woods, and now finally knowing what they were called! Once again, plenty of natural rock formations throughout for photo opportunities.
See 7 States
At the top of Lookout Mountain you are awarded with beautiful views of the valley below, and the infamous site of seeing the 7 surrounding states, first documented during the Civil War of it's location. It's a great photo opportunity but is highly popular, so get you picture and keep moving if it's busy! We experienced several school field trip groups and the students weren't very mindful of personal space or photo etiquette. This spot is also the path to the mountain-top restaurant which is a great place to rest, enjoy a cold drink, and take in the views without being rushed.
Lover's Leap is a beautiful overlook with a water fall that drops down the side. There is a Cherokee legend proclaiming that two lovers from different tribes ended their lives here because they couldn't be together. Thinking about this sacrifice for love reminds me to appreciate my marriage and wonderful family in our modern times even more. The trail takes you right through this area so no need to map out a special route for viewing.
This bridge is 180 feet long, and is a "swinging" suspension bridge! I couldn't cross this as a child..... I tried this trip and I still couldn't do it! It is a wonderful picture opportunity if the heights and shaking don't bother you!
Fairyland Caverns & Mother Goose Village
Ah, the Fairyland Caverns is definitely a site to see, and a welcoming place to walk down into the cool caverns and escape the summer heat! These sculptures and scenes were moved into the caverns in 1947, and were created by one of the Rock City founders, Frieda Carter, due to her love of European folklore. There are also gnomes sprinkled though out! At the end of the cavern, you enter a large room that house the Mother Goose Village. This section was added in 1964 and includes tons of characters from childhood stories. Amazing to see all of the details and craftsmanship that went into this entire attraction.
There are other nearby attractions as well (shopping, Ruby Falls, etc.) to complete this as a day trip visit, so check out the official website for Rock City for more information.
Do you have any experiences to share about Rock City? Please comment below!
Happy Road Tripping!