Height: 145 feet
Trail Type: It’s inside a cave
Hike Distance: Who cares? IT’S INSIDE A CAVE
If you’re anywhere near Chattanooga, you will not be able to escape the billboards for Ruby Falls and nearby Rock City. Yes, it’s a tourist trap and yes, there will be hordes of people, but it’s worth it. Why? BECAUSE IT’S A WATERFALL. INSIDE. A. CAVE.
You’ll have to pay to take the cave tour, which is pleasant in and of itself if you’re into that sort of thing. But the main attraction is Ruby Falls, which appears from a small hole above a huge open area carved out by the creek. The falls drops freely for 145 feet into a small pool. The only annoying thing about the falls is that the owners of the cave and operators of the tour make a spectacle of the whole thing by illuminating the falls in various lights and playing the musical score from Jurassic Park for dramatic effect. You only get about five minutes to view the falls on the tour before the turn the lights out, so make it count.
From Exit 174 off of Interstate 24 in Chattanooga, drive toward Lookout Mountain (and all the signs directing you to Ruby Falls) for about 2 miles and turn right onto Alford Hill Drive. Take the very next left onto TN highway 318 and drive up the mountain for 0.7 miles. Turn right onto TN highway 148. The parking area will be just up the road.
It’s a guided tour through the cave, so you’re going slow and it’s all relatively level. Anyone can do this.