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4.0
369 votes

Ruby Falls

1720 South Scenic Highway, Chattanooga, Tennessee 97409 USA

$$
$$$$
Reasonable
Open Now
Fri 8a-8p
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Not Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
  • Outdoor Seating
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“The tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public!”

The US is full of incredible offbeat waterfalls, like the shockingly blue Havasu Falls, the massive Niagara Falls, the enchanting beachside McWay Falls or the lush green tiers of Multnomah Falls, but there's nothing that can really compare to the size and secrecy of Tennessee's Ruby Falls. Deep inside the heart of Chattanooga's Lookout Mountain, you'll find one of America's tallest and most incredible natural features. A hike through the mountain's cave system takes you right to the base of the 145 foot waterfall, which is believed to be the result of 30 million years of erosion through the limestone rock. Water from rain and natural springs gathered and worked their way through the mountain's core to form the falls, which collect at the base and wind their way through and out of Lookout Mountain to join the Tennessee River.

The waterfall remained a hidden secret locked within the mountain until the late 20th century. Few people entered the cave system and the natural entrance was closed to build a railway tunnel. It wasn't until the 1920s when a local spelunker named Leo Lambert decided to open up the caves again and raised money to drill into the mountain. By 1928, he was ready to begin cutting in. As he and his team dug further in, and did some exploring through the natural cave system, they eventually discovered the magnificent falls. Leo decided to name them after his lovely wife Ruby (cue the awwws). It proved to be a popular tourist attraction; it was one of the first caves to have electric lights, and an elevator was eventually put in as well.

Fun fact: although the water is totally pure and safe to drink, it picks up large amounts of magnesium (it's a natural laxative!) as it flows through the cave so it's really not encouraged. Also, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison co-wrote a song called "See Ruby Fall" inspired by the ubiquitous ads for the attraction plastered on barns and billboards across Tennessee and beyond. Sure, the ads are cheesy, but you have to admit...a waterfall inside a mountain is kind of awesome.

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Reviewed by
melissa.rombout

  • 2 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
August 9, 2015
Rated 3.0

The waterfall was truely amazing! Although I didn't enjoy all of it.
We came off season, but it was still verry crowded. The tour was is such a rush! We had to walk none-stop high tempo, so we didn't have time to enjoy the cave, give it a good look or take a picture. When we arrived at the waterfall, you where aloud to walk underneath it 1 time. After like 4 minutes (when everyone can walk underneath it 1 time) they shut off the lights and you have to walk back quickly. Very disappointing!

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Nattles

  • 9 Reviews
  • 8 Helpful
June 11, 2015
Rated 4.0

It was an interesting place. Try to stay close to the guide. They will tell you interesting tidbits but you can't hear them if you're in the back. The Falls was amazing and the story behind it was as well. We spent a little over an hour here. If you're going to Ruby Falls I recommend getting the double package and going to see Rock City which is 10 minutes away.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Tink48

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
May 23, 2016
Rated 2.0

I've been to Ruby Falls several times over the years and I've absolutely enjoyed it each time. But the last time my family and I went, it seems to have changed. In the past, the tour guides would always stop at the featured formations to tell us about them. This time, there were two stops that involved listening to a recording. The tour guide barely stopped at the formations and sometimes didn't stop at all. When we did stop, it was to push ourselves up against the walls so that outgoing tour groups can get past us. When we arrived at the falls, I was disappointed to find a barrier that did not allow you to walk behind the falls (In previous years everyone was allowed to walk behind it). It also seemed like we were only given about five minutes to enjoy the falls and take pictures before the lights went out and we had to move on. The one hour tour felt like 15 mins. Although my family and I made it a fun tour, I was very disappointed at, what felt like, the short amount of time we had to take in the cave formations and the falls. I rated this a two only because the falls are still as magnificent as ever.

1 person found this review helpful
  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
May 21, 2016
Rated 4.0

we went here yesterday, pretty much like a lot of the cave tours you will take. This took a little more than an hour due to the amount of people here. The falls were neat for the few minutes. be sure to get into the front of the group so you have a prime spot. We had a funny guide who explained the history of the caves while making jokes during. There was a package to purchase this tour with rock city and the incline for $50 per person. Rock city was amazing! Would recommend getting there first thing in the morning or right before closing to have a smaller crowd.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
letflore

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
April 3, 2016

Loved the falls, we were driving through and was a very breath taking experience for my entire family. Staff was super friendly, we got there about 9am. It was rather empty got in after about 15 min. but when exiting after 1.5 hours there must have been 200 people in line.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
alyse

  • 18 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
February 24, 2016
Rated 4.0

It was really neat to see all the cave formations and the falls were beautiful. It was a very long wait to get down to the falls and very tight cramped areas with other groups of people passing by, not for claustrophobics. Touristy, good for families

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
matt.bellefeuille

  • 13 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
March 27, 2015
Rated 4.0

Very cool and interesting place. Would have liked to have had a few more minutes to enjoy the falls, but thoroughly enjoyed the sights

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Jeremiah18

  • 2 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
July 12, 2017

With 400+ votes I don't know how I could be the first person to review this. The tour was great. The tour guide, I wish I could remember his name was phenomenal. The waterfall at the end of the tour was breathtaking.

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Reviewed by
lauradelaine

  • 11 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
July 8, 2017
Rated 5.0

Get there early, and see if you can take the second tour down and not the first. Our group was a little smaller as a result.
It was as cool a place as I remembered it to be from my childhood. Such a magnificent place.

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Reviewed by
CraigSingle

  • 25 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
June 27, 2017
Rated 4.0

We had a great time visiting based on a recommendation from a local friend. Definitely buy your tickets ahead of time so you don't stand in super long lines and get there early. We would have given a 5 but it was a mess from construction and it a little commercialized but the waterfall is beautiful. Worth the time and money.

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Ruby Falls

1720 South Scenic Highway
Chattanooga, Tennessee
97409 USA

Hours

Open now until 8:00 pm
  • Sun - Sat: 8:00 am - 8:00 pm

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  • Independent
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Not Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
  • Outdoor Seating
  • No Wifi
  • Private Parking

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