Ruby Falls: Something Exciting Here for the Whole Family

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Beware: You should never explore wild caves alone or without proper gear. Consider getting in touch with a Grotto of the National Speleological Society at or a qualified cave club. These groups are skilled and will train you. Without sufficient knowledge, preparation, and equipment, cave exploring can lead to serious injury or death.

Ruby Falls is one of the top attractions in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and encompasses nearly 100 acres of rugged terrain. Known for being one of the most popular family-friendly destinations, Ruby Falls has a wide range of activities for guests to choose from.

These include an Aerial Adventure Course, a 44-foot span bridge and several zip lines, The Cliff Walk Nature Trail, which takes you deep into McBride’s Canyon and features breathtaking views. There’s also an interesting but not intensive tour called The Cave Tour, which we highly recommend.

This article contains all the essential details you need to know before visiting Ruby Falls. Next time you’re in Chattanooga, Tennessee, you’ll know one place you must visit.

An image of some of the inside of Ruby Falls caves, where blue light illuminates an area with a pool and stalactites.

About Ruby Falls

The Ruby Falls is a cascading waterfall located on Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga and measures 145 feet (44m).

Ruby Falls is on Lookout Mountain, which lies on the border of Georgia and Tennessee. Visitors can drive to Ruby Falls from downtown Chattanooga or northwest Georgia.

Visiting this waterfall is a surefire way to have fun. The trip’s highlight is getting to journey into Lookout Mountain, deep enough to see America’s tallest and most spectacular underground waterfall.

Descend 260 feet into the cavern by glass-front elevator and walk along a trail to watch ancient cave formations. The falls at this point are thunderous, and you shouldn’t miss them.

Ruby Falls is open daily except Christmas Day, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Cave tours vary by season, only offered from May through September (ziplining not included). People purchase tickets online or at the entrance gate upon arrival, but note that you may need cash for this. Also note that for tours, as we will cover shortly, tickets are only available online.

History Of Ruby Falls

In 1905, the original Lookout Mountain Caverns were sealed to build a railroad tunnel through the entrance. Seven years later, Leo Lambert purchased and reopened it as Ruby Falls for tourists to explore.

Lambert had already explored the cave and wanted to reopen it by drilling an elevator shaft through the mountain. While doing so and exploring other areas of interest along the way—he discovered a breathtaking waterfall, which he named for his wife, Ruby.

The Ruby Falls Waterfall

The highlight of all the cave tours at Ruby Falls is the waterfall. However, when you reach it, the lights are dimmed, and nothing can be seen.

The dark is worth it. When the falls are lit, you can see them dramatically illuminated, it looks like an avalanche of crystals falling from above. It’s a spectacle that should not be missed.

Ruby Falls Caves

Ruby Falls Cave, located inside Lookout Mountain, formed through a process called chemical weathering. Here lie geological formations and curiosities not found in the lower part of Lookout (Mountain) Cave.

This cave is home to many well-known cave formations, including stalactites and stalagmites. The limestone in which Ruby Falls formed was laid down horizontally. It built up beneath the sea hundreds of millions of years ago, the same way caves are being developed under oceans all over our planet.

You can find the waterfalls at the end of Ruby Falls Cave’s central passage. They are fed by both rainwater and natural springs, 1120 feet underground.

The water flows into a pool at the cave’s base and then continues through the mountain, eventually joining the Tennessee River.

Ruby Falls Lookout Mountain

The mountainous area of Lookout Mountain is located at the northwest corner of Georgia, the northeast corner of Alabama, and along its southeastern border with Tennessee.

An image of the binoculars atop Ruby Falls Lookout Mountain.

During the 18th century, Lookout Mountain was the scene of numerous battles between Native Americans and white settlers. During the Civil War, it hosted one final battle between Confederate soldiers and Union forces. The Battle of Lookout Mountain on November 24, 1863.

The tallest of Golden’s parks, Lookout Mountain rises more than 7,300 feet above the city just west of downtown. Best known for its beautiful natural splendor and awe-inspiring views, a hike or drive to its peak would be worth every moment.

While hiking to the summit, you’ll see scenic views of Denver in the distance and the mountain peaks surrounding it.

The Ute Indian Tribe’s use of this mountain top as a lookout point has left its mark in the form of names given to local landmarks, such as Buttermilk Ridge.

Throughout history, Lookout Mountain served as a site for various recreational activities, transportation systems (including railroads), water supply services, and telecommunications.

Mountain Adventures

If you are visiting the city of Golden, Colorado, and especially if you enjoy outdoor activities, look no further than Lookout Mountain.

Hiking or biking to the top of a steep mountain can be intense. It will increase your heart rate and give you unparalleled views at the end if you make it all the way.

For those who wish to travel by car, a road leads up to the peak as you drive along this route, spectacular views of other mountains in Taiwan dot your viewfinder.

The grave of buffalo bill, which is located at Ruby Falls.

Home to Buffalo Bill

The Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave is an attraction atop Lookout Mountain. It’s home to the gravesite of Buffalo Bill Cody, as well as artifacts from his life before and at the turn of the 20th century, examples that showcase how fascinating life on our continent must have been during those times.

The museum is not only a tribute to the legendary writer who made an indelible mark on American culture, but its location near Golden provides visitors with stunning views. The history of this mountain, just like the one it offers hikers today is vast and long.

The Lookout Mountain Nature Center

The staff and volunteer naturalists of the Lookout Mountain Nature Center inspire kids and adults to connect with nature. Interactive exhibits take visitors on a tour of the foothills ecosystem while kids enjoy hands-on playrooms.

The Nature Center offers free guided hikes and other educational activities for people of all ages. The preserve is open to the public, so visitors can stroll through it while enjoying their programs.

The Beaver Brook Trail provides hikers with connections to Windy Saddle Park and Denver Mountain Parks’ Genesee Park. Educational Programs like Jeffco Open Space Educators offer programs throughout the year covering wildlife and plant history.

Road Cycling

The roads on Lookout Mountain are a favorite for road cyclists. It was featured in several of the US Pro Challenge races. Mountain bikers and hikers also enjoy the area, climbing trails like Chimney Gulch, a challenging hike with a narrow “single track” that crosses Lariat Loop Road twice before reaching its summit.

Ruby Falls High Point ZIP Adventure

The zip line at Ruby Falls features a thrilling adventure with spectacular views. There is a 48-foot climbing tower with multiple difficulty levels, so everyone can give it a shot. However, zip lining is not available during the winter. You will have to wait until Spring for your next opportunity.

A man on a zip line at Ruby Falls, showing the beautiful natural landscape in the background.

Ruby Fall Tours And Tickets

An image of the iconic waterfall at Ruby Falls.

Are you searching for Ruby fall tours and tickets? This is all the information you need to make the right decision. Keep in mind that tickets can only be purchased online.

How much does it cost to enter Ruby Falls?

Depending on the tour you select, cost is somewhere between $20 and $40, with discounts for children. Read more below for specifics.

Cave Walk To Ruby Falls

Take a guided Cave Walk to the waterfall at Lookout Mountain’s caverns. Descend 260 feet into the mountain via glass-front elevator and explore its sprawling cave system, which is home to America’s tallest and deepest open-to-public waterfalls

Learn how this cave was discovered, encounter spectacular sights and feel the force of roaring water.

The Cave Walk is a guided, express walk through the cave to the waterfall. It features an overview of cave information and recorded audio in a large group format, but with only one tour running per day, it’s hard for regular visitors to get tickets as soon as they become available.

The Cave Walk takes an average of 1 hour – 1 hour 20 minutes, depending on the date and time of visit, with a round trip walk distance measuring approximately one mile.

Entrance costs $24.95 for adults, and $13.95 for children 3-12. Tickets sell out quickly.

Specialty Tours

Specialty Tours are premium, in-depth experiences with senior-level guides and more time at the waterfall. They’re offered on select dates, unlike regular tours that take place every day of the week.

Lantern Tour

During this after-hours specialty tour, the cavern and its trail are illuminated only with hand-held lanterns. A senior guide leads at a laid-back pace; more in-depth content is covered along the way.

A caver with a headlight and lantern peers into the dark at the Ruby Falls Lantern Tour.

Children younger than five years old cannot come on Lantern Tours.

This tour is available on Fridays after 9:00 p.m. Tickets cost $39.95 each.

Gentle Walking Tour

The Gentle Walking Tour is led by senior-level guides, providing more historical content than other tours.

This is the perfect tour for history buffs who prefer a very gentle pace. Available on Thursdays and Sundays at 7:45 a.m.

Visit the cavern leisurely, and learn about its history before other visitors are let in.

Tickets cost $39.95, and it’s for ages 12 and up.

How To Get To Ruby Fall From Knoxville

A waterfall at Ruby Falls, this time shown in natural light and outdoors.

Take I-75 South to Chattanooga. Near Chattanooga, you will reach the exit for I-24 West (exit 2). Travel on this road until you approach downtown.

Chattanooga, 6.4 miles away (exit #178 from I-75). Head north on US 27 toward downtown and then keep right at the fork in the road to take the second exit, “Lookout Mountain – South Market Street.”

When you exit the interstate, stay left on the Lookout Mountain Ramp. Then drive straight through two-stop streets until you reach Broad Street.

Turn left onto Broad Street, then turn right to head south on US-11 South. After passing under the railroad tracks, Broad Street becomes Cummings Highway (US-41).

Continue on Cummings Highway (Hwy 41) for about 0.5 miles. Take the ramp to your left, which is labeled Ruby Falls. Scenic Hwy-Ruby Falls will be on the right side of this road.

Ruby Falls Incline Railway

The Ruby falls Incline Railway is a funicular railway that climbs the face of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee. At 4 ft 9 inches (1,449 mm), it is one of the world’s steepest passenger railways.

From St. Elmo’s Station at the base of Lookout Mountain, passengers are transported to Point Park at its summit—a scenic overlook that offers a panoramic view of downtown Chattanooga and the Tennessee River. It is just a short drive from here to three main attractions: Ruby Falls and Cavern Castle Rock City (all popular tourist destinations in their own right).

The railway is a single-track line, except for a passing loop on its one-mile (1.6 km) length. This allows it to be used by two cars at any given time and provides an overall grade of 72.7%, making this passenger train one of the world’s steepest routes.

The Ruby Falls Incline Railway features a cabin on a steep slope, shown here with the natural landscape backdrop.

On November 16, 1895, the Chattanooga Incline and Lula Lake Railway opened the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway (Incline No. 2) to transport passengers up the steep slope.

The first incline on Lookout Mountain was the Lookout Mountain Railway (Incline No. 1) and the Chattanooga, which operated from 1886 to 1895 before being dismantled in 1900.

Since 1940, the railway has been run by Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority, the area’s public transport agency.

The Incline Railway is a beloved and well-known landmark in Chattanooga. It has been featured in numerous regional and national publications, including Larry the Cable Guy’s, in February 2011.

The Chattanooga Choo-Choo is a significant tourist attraction, providing more than 100,000 visitors each year with the chance to see its historic train depot.


Ruby Falls is an excellent attraction for anyone in Chattanooga looking for something to do with family or friends. Anyone who appreciates nature, history, and stunning beauty will feel completely charmed by the gorgeous waterfall and the historic town of Ruby.

Fundamentally a family-friendly attraction, Ruby Falls offers something for everyone. It’s highly recommended to families with older children or teenagers. There’s plenty to offer them in terms of entertainment, especially in history.

While you’re in the area, check out some of these other great caves in Tennessee.

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