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This is how we came to see Ruby Falls. My wife Dolores and I wanted to see Rock City, which is near Chattanooga, Tennessee. We knew of it from an earlier trip. What I didn't know was that we could see three attractions for a discounted price: Rock City, the Incline Railway, and Ruby Falls. I purchased two adult tickets at $45.90 each and saved $10 total.
We went to Rock City first. It is located on top of Lookout Mountain, six miles from Chattanooga. Breathtaking See Seven States panoramic views, gardens with more than four hundred native plants, and offering massive ancient rock formations, Rock City is a true marvel of nature!
Dolores and Joe at Rock City
We then went to take a ride on the steepest passenger railway on the globe, Lookout Mountain's Incline Railway. Straight up at a breathtaking 72.7 percent grade, the Incline's trolley cars climb through the natural beauty surrounding historic Lookout Mountain, famously known as America's Most Amazing Mile!
Lookout Mountain's Incline Railway
We had started at the top of Lookout Mountain and went down, then came back up. We walked around and looked at the amazing views from the top of the mountain where many wealthy people have homes. I always like to see how the other side lives. We then went to see Ruby Falls. Ruby Falls is the nation's deepest and largest waterfall open to the public, more than 1,120 ft beneath the surface of the ground. Hundreds of gallons of water amaze tourists and rush over every minute.
Due to geographical limitations, the Southern Railroad Company was forced to construct a tunnel through some portions of the mountain and along the face of Lookout Mountain for one of its lines, in 1905. This tunnel sealed off and intersected the original, natural entrance to the Lookout Mountain Cave.
A local cave enthusiast, Leo Lambert, knew of Lookout Mountain Cave, its history and had explored the cave prior to it being closed off. He devised a plan to reopen it to the public. A group of investors, along with Mr. Lambert, decided to enact his plan in 1923. From the surface above, his plan was to access the cave by drilling an elevator shaft down from another point on the mountain. In the fall of 1928, work began.
While excavating the elevator shaft, a worker with a jackhammer, felt a gush of air and discovered an opening in the rock on December 28, 1928. Still one hundred sixty feet above the Lookout Mountain Cave, this opening was located at the two hundred sixty foot level. An opening was discovered, 5 feet wide, and eighteen inches high.
Original Cave Opening was 18 Inches High and Five Feet Wide
Lambert entered this void to explore the new cave, along with a small group. Several stream beds, flowing passages and a number of beautiful and unusual rock formations, were discovered while exploring the cave. They finally reached its spectacular waterfall, by pushing their way deeper into the cave. The crew and Mr. Lambert were in awe by its beauty and magnificence, and returned to the surface to share their new discovery with the rest of the group. In and out of the cave took about seventeen hours.
Unusual and Beautiful Rock Formations
Lambert took his wife Ruby along with many other people, to see the wonders they had discovered, on his next trip into the cave. Lambert told his wife that he would name it in her honor, Ruby Falls, while looking at the waterfall.
Mr. Lambert developed the newly discovered Falls Cave and the Lookout Mountain Cave and gave tours to the public of them both. The limestone excavated from the cave trails and the elevator shaft was used for the entrance building for both tours. The entrance was advertised as the World's Most Magnificent Cave Entrance. Modeled after a 15th century Irish castle, it was named Cavern Castle.
The Falls proved to be the most popular with its many unusual formations and of course the waterfall, but from 1930 to 1935 tours were offered to both caves. The Lookout Mountain Cave was closed to the public in 1935. The Ruby Falls Cave has brought in millions of visitors during its long history and has been open to the public ever since.
The falls are a one hundred forty five foot underground waterfall. We had to walk some ways before we came to the falls. It was dark and we could not see it until they turned on the lights. The lights are on a timer so we only had a set amount of time to take photos and to walk behind and under the falls. It definitely lives up to the hype!
They have music and lights for the falls which gives a very dramatic presentation of the falls.
Top of Ruby Falls
Ruby Falls from Behind and Below!
It is not easy to get an entire photo of the falls since it is so high and there are so many people on the tour.
Bottom of Ruby Falls
When returning back to the elevator, we pass many interesting rock formations.
After returning to the surface, we go up to the top of the observation tower and check out the view of the Tennessee River and the City of Chattanooga. The Falls and Rock City were definitely worth seeing. The Incline Railway was ok as well. It just did not have as many good views as I hoped to see with all the development around it.
Tennessee River and the City of Chattanooga
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