Rock City Gardens could possibly be one of the most unique attractions I've visited. The winding trail through the gardens will lead you to mossy forests, waterfalls, caves, quirky artwork, mythical creatures, and even a view so good you can see 7 States. Many people say it's located in Chattanooga, TN (since it's only a 6-mile drive from the city), but It's technically located in Lookout Mountain, GA, right on the state border.
The fairytale of Rock City Gardens started when Garnet Carter, who was also the creator of mini-golf, had the idea of developing a residential site on the top of Lookout Mountain. His wife Frieda had a such love for European Folklore, they named the community "Fairyland" in 1924. Frieda saw the beauty and possibilities with Rock City. She created the trails, planted flowers, and even had gnomes imported from Germany. Garnet eventually opened it up to the paying public. During the great depression, they advertised with paintings on the roofs of barns that said: "See Rock City". Today, there are still 79 barns remaining!
Tips Before Visting
- Purchase tickets in advance on their website to reserve a time slot! I recommend purchasing about a week before visiting. Ticket pricing can vary on time and day of visit.
- Strollers are not permitted due to narrow passageways and steps. You can bring a child backpack or front carrier.
- It's partially handicap accessible with a special ramp that will take visitors to Lover's Leap and the 7 States overlook.
- Plan on spending about 2-3hrs here.
- Pets are allowed as long as they are on a leash! The restaurant even has a pet section with a pet menu!
- They have events all year round such as music, character appearances, and festivals.
What you'll Find
The Enchanted Trail
The winding trail through Rock City Gardens is almost a mile long, paved, and an easy walk. You will be surrounded by lush scenery and unbelievable rock formations. Let your imagination take over when you spot the Mushroom Rock, fairytale doorways, goblins underpass, and whimsical artwork.
Needle's eye may be a challenge for people who suffer from claustrophobia. Walking through these two towering boulders is such a neat experience. It didn't get too tight and I was able to comfortably walk through.
Gnomes Overpass & Goblins Underpass
Make your way to Gnomes Overpass and walk over an enchanting stone bridge. Continue and you'll find a little cave named Goblins Underpass!
The Swing-A-Long Bridge
This suspension bridge is so much fun to walk across. It spans 200ft and it does sway back and forth as you walk on it! If this is something you don't feel comfortable walking over, there is an alternative path over a stone bridge. Don't forget to take in the beautiful valley views when crossing the bridge!
Lovers Leap & See 7 States
This was my favorite part! You'll find your way to Lovers Leap, which is a lookout point to where you can see 7 states! It's such an incredible view. Look into the valley to spot one of the iconic "See Rock City" barns! There's also a restaurant with outdoor seating, a gift shop, and restrooms. This is the perfect spot to stop and take a little break.
Fat Man's Squeeze
Continue on the trail and you'll find the steps that lead down to Fat Man's Squeeze. This is another fun narrow passageway to make your way through!
The Iconic Waterfall
After making your way through Fat Man's Squeeze you'll find an observation deck on the side of the Mountain. You'll be able to see Lover's Leap and the incredible 100ft waterfall. This is the perfect spot to stop and take a picture!
This man-made cave has colorful windows. When the sun shines through it makes a rainbow inside!
Hall of the Mountain King
This is such a neat cave to walk through. I love the sculpture of the man holding up the cave, and how it's lighted throughout. Take a look at those whimsical steps!
Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village
At the end of the trail, you'll find the Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village. Enter the cavern and find lighted panoramas of any fairytale you can imagine! In the end, you'll end up at Mother Goose Village. This is a large room with a display of nursery rhymes.
Perfect For Families or Couples
Even though my husband and I don't have kids, we still had so much fun visiting! It's such a fun way to reminisce on your childhood. It's also a beautiful nature walk with easy paved trails! This was one of our favorite things and unforgettable things we did when visiting Chattanooga, TN.
Thanks for reading and don't forget to share!
Do you plan on visiting Rock City Gardens in the future? Let me know in the comments!