Rock City gives off a magical vibe with its ancient rock formations and gorgeous views of the surrounding landscape. Plus, Rock City is full of fun attractions and activities that the whole family can enjoy.
Visitors to Chattanooga often will stop to take in the sights from atop Lookout Mountain in Georgia.
History of Rock City
Before there was Rock City, Native Americans inhabited the “citadel of rocks” atop Lookout Mountain. The location was a Civil War battleground in what is now known as the Battle of Lookout Mountain and the Battle Above the Clouds. (Long story short, the Union army took control.)
Fast forward to the late 19th century and the Carter family took up residence on the mountain. Having grown up on the mountain, Garnet Carter thought it would be a good place to develop a residential neighborhood along with a golf course.
Because Garnet’s wife, Frieda Carter, was intrigued by European folklore, the neighborhood was to be named Fairland.
Things took longer than planned and in the end, Garnet created the nation’s first mini-golf course. While Garnet was working on Tom Thumb Golf, Frieda developed a rock garden on the property.
Frieda marked a trail around the garden and ended them at Lover’s Leap. Along with wildflowers and other plants she transplanted along the trail, she placed imported German statues of gnomes and fairytale characters.
The walking trail at Rock City is 4,100 feet long and takes visitors through narrow clefts between the rock formations and along gorgeous gardens. It’s fun to go through the Needle’s Eye and Fat Man’s Squeeze.
There are over 400 different species of wildflowers, plants, shrubs and trees at Rock City.
Fact: Rock City is pet-friendly. You can bring your dog on the trails provided that your pooch is on a leash.
Rock City is a fairy wonderland for kids. There are scenes at Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village from popular fairytales.
You are never far from a picture-worthy stop at Rock City.
The massive rock formations are 1,700 feet above sea level and provide incredible panoramic views of Chattanooga.
But it’s not just Chattanooga! You can see seven states from Rock City: Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Paying to use a viewfinder will help you see the surrounding states.
There were notes made during the Civil War era about the ability to see the seven states from the summit. The location was a prime spot to view the Chattanooga Valley and Missionary Ridge Civil War battlefields. The large boulders atop the mountain were described as “a citadel of rocks” in Reverend Daniel S. Butrick’s diary.
Fun Fact: Rock City is listed as one the places to see in 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.
Along the Enchanted Trail, you will spot the 140-foot tall waterfall.
Other points of interest include the 1,000-ton balanced rock.
Rock City hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, including Shamrock City, EarthDayz, Southern Blooms, Summer Music Weekends, Rocktoberfest, and the Enchanted Garden of Lights.
Shopping at Rock City
There are several gift shops at Rock City and you will see a lot of leather goods for sale.
Not to be missed, you can purchase a souvenir See Rock City birdhouse or collectible.
Dining at Rock City
One thing you will notice around the shops is the sweet aroma of fresh fudge being made. You can stop by the Fudge Kitchen and watch the fudge being made and then purchase some – it’s a nice gift to bring to those who couldn’t make the trip with you.
If you work up an appetite while exploring, you can stop by Big Rock Grill, Cliff Cafe, or Cafe 7. If you need another cup of coffee to help you keep going, there is a Starbucks location on site.
If you will be in Chattanooga and are looking for somewhere to eat, here is a post about some of my favorite places to eat in the Scenic City.
Admission and Location
Admission starts at $26.95 for adults and $16.95 for children ages 3-12. (During premiere events, thickets may cost more.) Timed-entry reservations are required.
Annual passes are available and range from $33.00 for a basic pass for children ages 3 – 12 to $53.00 for an adult pass. (Ulitmate VIP passes are also available and discounts are given for purchases of 4 or more passes.)
Rock City is open daily from 8:30 AM until 6:00 PM Eastern time.
While many people think of Rock City as a Tennessee attraction (it’s only 6 miles from downtown Chattanooga), it is actually located at 1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain, Georgia. It’s only 4 miles from Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Parking is free.