Rock City in Chattanooga, TN is So Spectacular, You Have to See It to Believe It!

Posted on | 7 Comments

Have you ever been to Rock City? Chattanooga, TN has a garden with spectacular views and artistic rock displays that make for a unique adventure. You will find Rock City Gardens at Lookout Mountain, GA (right near Chattanooga). Here are all the details you need before your next visit.

Rock City Garden in Chattanooga, Tennessee

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 of tips to help make your trip to Rock City with kids fun and memorable!

Rock City Quick Facts

Rock City Gardens
Regular hours: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm (closing times and evening hours vary with seasons and special events)

Is Rock City Free?

Unfortunately, no. Rock City tickets are $26.95-$29.95 for adults, $16.95-$19.95 for 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 higher.

*These prices reflect the price for regular admission according to the website at the time of writing this post. Please check prices before visiting as prices are subject to change.

Is Rock City Parking Free?

Yes! Rock City Parking is free.

How Long Does Rock City Take to See?

When you visit Rock City, plan to stay for about an hour or two, if you walk at an average pace.

Find a place to stay near Rock City

This article contains Stay22 affiliate links.

What to Expect at Rock City: Chattanooga, TN

I’ve tried to describe Rock City to friends who have never been there before and have always found it a difficult place to explain. Rock City is a true gem, and I have never visited anything quite like it before. 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 massive ancient rock formations are accented by statues, a rope bridge, clever signs, and more.

Colorful passageway through Rock City in Chattanooga, Tennessee
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. You will also find a ton of native plant species, rock features, and adorably crafted gnome landscaping.

Rock City garden space at Lookout Mountain in Georgia
Rock City in Tennessee’s Gnome Garden

See 7 States From the Lookout at Lover’s Leap

As we climbed to the top of the trail, we eventually ended up on Lover’s Leap located atop Lookout Mountain. Here is where you can see seven states! You may want to bring a couple of quarters for the coin-operated binoculars to marvel at nature, featuring panoramic views that are breathtaking.

At the lookout 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 gift shops 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 enchanted trail of Fairy Land caverns and Mother Goose Village are a lot of fun because they are illuminated in the dark. What kid doesn’t like things that are lit up?

The trail ends in a large gift shop that has some interesting souvenirs such as the famous See Rock City birdhouses.

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

Tips for Visiting Rock City: Chattanooga, TN

  • 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 shortcut does exist that allows you to skip some of the trickier spots on the trail, but overall you can’t really backtrack 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 sheer clothing, they will glow too.
  • Rock City is a true marvel of nature, so please make sure to keep it clean and do not leave trash lying around.
  • During the year, Rock City also has several special events including their current Enchanted Garden of Lights.
  • Have questions? Looking for further information? Check out Rock City’s FAQ page.

Tips For Your Vacation to Chattanooga, TN

If you are vacationing in Chattanooga for multiple days, you may want to consider buying one of the Rock City attraction package deals. For those who live close by, Rock City offers a reasonably priced annual pass into the park.

The gardens are only 6 miles from Downtown Chattanooga, so you won’t have to worry about a long drive to get to this adventure.

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

The Ultimate Guide to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

We have everything you need to have a great trip to Chattanooga, TN in our handy guide! Visit Downtown Chattanooga and plan out your memorable vacation.

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

Sign up for our email newsletter.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chattanooga Cruise Director
11 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?