Ruby Falls is one of Chattanooga’s prized possessions. I was lucky enough to have grown up coming here on field trips in elementary school, but neither of my friends had been, so during our Weekend Trip to Chattanooga, we were sure to go!
After spending the morning at Rock City, we made the quick drive across Lookout Mountain to Ruby Falls. Surprisingly, we were greeted by a line that stretched out the door, and our pre-purchased tickets gave us no privilege in line. After our 45-minute wait, we were standing at the doors of the 260-foot elevator and waiting to go down the into the cavern.
This is the same shaft that the explorer Leo Lewis created in the early 1900's when he found the falls. The most incredible thing, to me, was that he crawled in an opening only one and one half feet tall for over eight hours before discovering the falls. On the tour, you get to see the original crawl tunnel, and I felt claustrophobic just thinking about being in there in the pitch black.
Since the walkways are still extremely small, our group of probably 40 had to walk in a single file line. That made it very hard for our tour guide to point things out as we were walking. Alternatively, a built-in P.A. system gives you information and points out the viewpoints along the tour. There are very cool natural formations like the Tobacco Leaves, the Elephant’s Foot, and one really cool hands-on formation.
We arrived at the waiting area just before the falls, and our guide told us to look up and around the falls once we'd entered to see from where the water originally fell. Once the previous tour group came out, we walked into a very dark opening and followed the sound of the rushing water to the fall.
The lights slowly began to turn on from the bottom of the formations, and before we knew it, we were face to face with the beautiful, 126 feet high, underground waterfall. We stood in awe for so long that we forgot to get a decent picture in front of the falls when it was lit with white light.
Only a few minutes in front of this natural wonder was not enough. I hope when John and I come back, we go on an extended tour or a lantern tour. Ruby Falls was absolutely mesmerizing, and I am so glad that I got to take two of my friends on their first visit.