Kidding Around Rock City in Chattanooga, TN

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Thinking about a vacation to the Chattanooga area? One place you may want to check out is the famous garden Rock City in Lookout Mountain, GA (near Chattanooga). Here are all the details you need before your next visit.

Recently, my family visited Rock City during a vacation to the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. We loved the famous garden’s natural, yet creative atmosphere, and not only am I excited to share what we saw and did, but I have a couple tips to help make your trip to Rock City with kids fun and memorable!

Rock City Quick Facts

Website: See Rock City
Regular hours: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm (closing times and evening hours vary with seasons and special events)
Tickets: $26.95-$29.95 adults, $16.95-$19.95 children (3-12), and children 2 and under are free (special event pricing may be different). Weekdays are the lower end of pricing while weekends are highter.
Parking: Free
*These prices reflect the price for regular admission according to the website at time of writing this post. Please check prices before visiting as prices are subject to change.

Find a place to stay near Rock City. This article contains Stay22 affiliate links.

What to Expect at Rock City

I’ve tried to describe Rock City before to friends who have never been there before and have always found it a difficult place to explain. I have never visited anything quite like it before, and I’m not sure that another place like it exists anywhere else in the world.

The 4100-foot paved path winds around amazing natural rock formations, including narrow pathways through large rocks, scenic look-out points, and an underground cavern.  The garden is accented by statues, a rope bridge, clever signs, and more.

A row of colored windows offers both a color tinted view of the valley and a rainbow of light on the path.

At one point, the trail curved by Gnome Valley. All the gnomes were wearing Santa hats in anticipation of the coming holiday season on the day we visited.

Rock City in Tennessee’s Gnome Garden

See 7 states from the lookout

As we climbed to the top of the trail, we will eventually ended up on Lover’s Leap where you can see seven states. You may want to bring a couple quarters for the coin operated binoculars.

At the look-out point, we also found a nice picnic area and extra space for our toddler to explore safely. The park also has a nice cafe and shop located at this point.

We enjoyed an outstanding view at multiple points, including a platform that juts out from the mountain allowing us to see both the waterfall and Lover’s Leap.

At the end of the trail, we descended into a cavern where we saw fairy tale scenes lit up by black lights and an underground waterfall. The highlight of the cavern trail is an open cave room filled with a large display of fairy tale figures in the middle of the room.

The trail ends in a large gift shop which did have some interesting souvenirs such as the famous See Rock City bird feeders.

It takes about an hour to two to see Rock City.

Kidding Around Tips for Rock City

The trail is only partially stroller/handicap accessible. Be sure to bring a baby carrier if you have a young child who might need to be carried. Rock City has done a great job making this natural wonder as accessible and safe as possible, but this attraction is not the type of place where toddlers can run around without close parental supervision (I personally love my Ergo for trips like this!).

Be sure to have small kids use the restroom before entering the park. You will find a well-marked restroom area near the ticket booth.

Pets are allowed in the park on leashes.

The way out is forward. A short-cut does exist that allows you to skip some of the trickier spots on the trail, but overall you can’t really back-track easily due to the tight stretches of the trail. If you tend to be claustrophobic, you may want to visit during a non-peak hour since the cavern can be overwhelming when crowded. And if young kids get tired, you will end up carrying them or dragging them along.

Plan plenty of time. The trail has plenty of places to stop, sit down, and enjoy the scenery if your kids need a break.

Wear white shirts or designs on your clothes, and your kids will get a kick out of watching your clothes glow under the black lights in the cavern. Beware though, if you wear white undergarments under a sheer clothing, they will glow too.

If you are vacationing in Chattanooga for multiple days, you may want to consider buying one of the Rock City attraction package deals.

During the year, Rock City also has several special events including their current Enchanted Garden of Lights.

For those who live close by, Rock City offers a reasonably priced annual pass into the park.

Have questions? Looking for further information? Check out Rock City’s FAQ page.

Rock City is one of my favorite destinations within driving distance of Greenville, South Carolina. Have you ever visited it? What did you think? 

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About the Author
Bethany Winston is the owner and editor-in-chief of Kidding Around Greenville & Kidding Around Spartanburg. She enjoys exploring parks, discovering local events, and meeting the people who make Greenville an amazing place to live. You can contact her directly at [email protected].

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Chattanooga Cruise Director
10 years ago

Great tips about the visit! I love to lollygag at Rock City!

9 years ago

Thanks for this review. I was nervous about going here with my 2-year-old (some pictures I saw online looked like there were no guardrails – maybe they were old pictures! ) but your review convinced me that it would be safe.

8 years ago

Were you able to take your own food in? We are planning to go up this weekend and wondering if we pack lunch and a picnic blanket is there a place to sit and eat there or at ruby falls

7 years ago

Two questions: Is the swing along bridge safe for toddlers? Is there an alternative route?