panoramic view from Lover's Leap

What is Rock City in Chattanooga & 6 Reasons You Should Visit

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If you live in the southeast, you’ve probably seen the barns that say “See Rock City.”

But what is Rock City exactly? That’s what you’re going to find out.

Keep reading to discover all that this popular tourist attraction has to offer!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through a link, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Read full disclosure here.

what to do at rock city gardens

What is Rock City Chattanooga?

Most people think Rock City is in Chattanooga, but it’s actually located in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, just below the Tennessee state line.

This “city” consists of rock formations, caves, gift shops, dining, and great views. You will get to see everything this place has to offer by following the Enchanted Trail.

Along the trail, you’ll notice many different species of flowers, plants, and trees. Over 400 different kinds to be exact.

You’ll also notice water flowing along parts of the trail. Small waterfalls, rocky streams, all leading up to the grand finale of the waterfall at Lover’s Leap.

So where is Rock City gardens located exactly?

1400 Patten Rd, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750

Let’s take a closer look at the trail & the reasons why you should visit Rock City!

Below is an outline of The Enchanted Trail. The trail starts at the red star and ends at the red dot. The blue line represents the trail that is wheelchair accessible.

The red path is almost a mile round-trip. The blue, wheelchair-accessible trail is about half a mile round-trip.

map of rock city
You will receive a map like this when you get your tickets at the ticket booth.

Reasons to Visit Rock City Gardens

rock trail
The Enchanted Trail has narrow passages such as Needle’s Eye and Fat Man Squeeze. There are also plenty of areas to rest and take pictures along the trail!

1. The Enchanted Trail

This paved 4100-foot trail winds through Rock City and truly makes this place feel magical. You’ll find all kinds of rock formations, waterfalls, gnomes, bright red doors, and more along the trail. Winding through the Enchanted Trail, you notice a few areas that are quite narrow like Needle’s Eye and Fat Man’s Squeeze. You may even need to turn sideways to get through. You’ll also see a 1000-ton balanced rock on the trail!

wooden bridge

2. Swing-A-Long Bridge

A little before you reach the halfway point of the trail, you’ll have the option to trek across the 180-foot Swing-A-Long Bridge or cross the stone bridge as you make your way towards Lover’s Leap. If you stop halfway across the bridge and look right, there may be a photographer there to take your picture on the bridge. You can pick these up on your way out of Rock City.

see seven states view from Lover's Leap

3. See Seven States at Lover’s Leap

Lover’s Leap is the pinnacle experience of this place. Beautiful panoramic views of the Tennessee Valley surround you.

Stop in Cliff Terrace to grab some food & a drink while you sit outside and enjoy the scenery. They also have a gift shop! At the edge of Lover’s Leap, you’ll notice several high-powered binoculars and the infamous “See Seven States” stone.

Using the binoculars at 1700 feet above sea level, they say you can see Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. And of course you can see Georgia, that’s the state you’re currently in 🙂

TIP: If you’re using a DSLR or mirrorless camera, make sure you bring your polarizing filter to make those colors pop!

waterfall and cliff

4. Observation Point & High Falls

You may be wondering how to get a good picture of this 90-foot waterfall. Observation Point is the perfect place to do that! From this point, you’ll be looking back on Lover’s Leap and High Falls.

neon blacklit fairytales

5. Fairyland Caverns & Mother Goose Village

This one is for the kids. Walking through Fairyland Caverns is definitely a unique experience. Based on German fairytales & folklore, this dark trail provides scenes of classical fairytales that glow in the blacklight.

Mother Goose Village is similar to Fairyland Caverns. After the caverns, you make your way into a dark room called Mother Goose Village: a huge rectangle “table” that brings to life your favorite nursery rhymes like Humpty Dumpty and Little Boy Blue.

6. Free Wine Tasting

After you’ve experienced the mildly creepy Fairyland Caverns & Mother Goose Village, make sure you take advantage of the free wine tasting from Georgia Winery at the end of the trail. Most of the wines are sweet, but 2-3 of them are dry. My favorite was the Blackberry.

Other Things to Know

  • Parking is FREE
  • There is parking for RVs/buses too
  • Pets are allowed (must be on a leash)
  • Strollers are not allowed (won’t fit on the trail)


Tickets for Rock City are currently for timed entry admission. The website encourages you to book online for a specific time. That being said, they do allow walk-ups and the probability of getting a walk-up ticket is pretty good.

When you click on the date via the website, you’ll be able to see how many tickets are left for each time slot. As of right now, they let 80 people in every 15 minutes. So even on a busy day, there’s still a good chance of being able to just walk up and get tickets!

large balanced rock
Disregard the gap in the bench. That’s my attempt to edit out people, ha!

How much time do you need?

The website says most people spend 1.5 to 2 hours at Rock City. I would definitely agree with that, maybe even longer if you like to stop and enjoy the scenery & take lots of pictures.

Dining at Rock City Gardens

There are a few places to eat in Rock City. Of course, expect to spend a bit more than normal since this is a tourist attraction. All dining areas are located inside Rock City except the Starbucks. Here are some of the places you can grab a bite:

  • Starbucks (near the entrance of Rock City)
  • Big Rock Grill (just inside the entrance; sandwiches, salad, soups, hamburgers, etc)
  • Café 7 (by Lover’s Leap)
  • Cliff Terrace (by Lover’s Leap)

Don’t forget to stop at one of the gift shops before you leave. You can buy a “See Rock City” birdhouse!


Is Rock City the same as Lookout Mountain?

Kind of! Lookout Mountain is a mountain ridge located on the southern end of the Cumberland Plateau. Lookout Mountain is also a city in Georgia. Rock City is located in Lookout Mountain.

To add another twist, many people refer to Lookout Mountain as the combination of the 3 big tourist attractions there: Rock City, the Incline Railway, and Ruby Falls.

Is Rock City worth the price?

I personally think it was worth it. The view from Lover’s Leap was absolutely stunning. That being said, if you have a big family, that money can add up quick. Children under 6 get in free so if you have kids under 6, it’s definitely worth it. Many people save Rock City for Christmas, as they go all out with decorations to make it a winter wonderland.

Can you do Rock City and Ruby Falls in one day?

Absolutely. You can actually add the Incline Railway in too! It’s very easy to do all 3 in the same day.

Where can I see the barns?

Roadside barns bearing “SEE ROCK CITY” in huge letters can be seen in many places while traveling in the southeast. Visit this site for a map of the barn locations. 

Looking for more adventures in the eastern United States? Check out the Great Smoky Mountains! This National Park is absolutely beautiful, especially in the fall. If you go, make sure to check out Clingman’s Dome and the trail to Laurel Falls, two of the park’s most popular spots!

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What is Rock City Chattanooga & Why You Should Visit

rock city gardens chattanooga

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