Rock City Gardens is a popular tourist attraction located on Lookout Mountain, Georgia. The gardens feature a variety of natural wonders, including rock formations, caves, and waterfalls, as well as a variety of man-made attractions, such as gardens, sculptures, and a miniature golf course.
See Rock City Gardens: The Basics
The tourist attraction was founded in 1932 by Garnet Carter and his wife, Frieda. The Carters purchased the land that is now a haven for gorgeous views from a local farmer for only $1,000. They began developing the gardens as a tourist destination in 1935, hiring Clark Byers as their landscape architect. Byers was a visionary who helped to transform Rock City Gardens into the magical place that it is today. Beginning in 1935, a promotion via barns across the country began and “See Rock City” was a prominent feature on 900 of them by the time 1969 rolled around.
One of the most popular attractions at Rock City Gardens is, by far, the Enchanted Trail. It’s a 4,100-foot walking trail that winds through the gardens, taking visitors past a variety of natural and man-made wonders. Along the way, visitors can see:
- The Enchanted Trail: This is the main path through the gardens, and it winds its way through a variety of natural wonders, including rock formations, caves, and waterfalls.
- Swing-A-Long Bridge: This is a swinging bridge that spans a deep gorge. It is a popular spot for photos and thrill-seekers.
- Mother Goose Village: This is a children’s area with a variety of whimsical sculptures and gardens.
- Fairyland Caverns: These caves are home to a variety of stalactites and stalagmites. They are also home to a colony of bats.
- Rainbow Falls: This is a 100-foot waterfall that cascades down the side of Lookout Mountain.
For reference, Rock City is:
122 miles north (2 hours) from Atlanta, GA
104 miles (just under 2 hours) from Huntsville, AL
134 miles southeast (2 1/2 hours) from Nashville, GA
171 miles east (3 hours) of Muscle Shoals, AL
In addition to its natural wonders, Rock City Gardens offers a variety of activities for visitors of all ages, including:
- Guided tours
- Rock climbing
- Gem mining
- A children’s play area
- A gift shop
Another super popular attraction at Rock City Gardens is Lover’s Leap. Lover’s Leap is a cliff that offers stunning views of the surrounding area with a fun story to go along with it. The legend of Lover’s Leap tells the story of two young lovers who were forbidden to be together. The lovers met in secret at the location and one day they decided to jump off the cliff together rather than live apart. Their bodies were never found, but their love story continues to inspire visitors to Rock City Gardens today.
In addition to the Enchanted Trail and Lover’s Leap, Rock City Gardens also features a variety of other attractions, including:
- The Fairyland Caverns: A series of caves that are home to a variety of stalactites and stalagmites.
- Rainbow Hall: With round glass panels in the colors of the rainbow, the light passing through them leaves a gorgeous rainbow on the wall adjacent.
- The Mother Goose Village: A miniature village that features characters from classic nursery rhymes. While it looks dated, there’s something very quaint about that fact and I love the way it lights up under the black lights.
- The Rock City Gardens Gift Shop: A gift shop that sells a variety of souvenirs, including t-shirts, hats, and jewelry. There’s also a Fudge Shop that sells goodies and, of course, fudge.
Rock City Gardens is a great place to visit for families, couples, and groups of friends. The gardens offer something for everyone, from stunning views to magical experiences. If you’re looking for a fun and unique day trip, be sure to visit Rock City Gardens!
Are Dogs Allowed in Rock City?
Happily, yes! I saw countless puppers during my visit and they were excited as can be. Heads up, though: only service animals may enter locations where there is indoor dining.
Rock City Gardens Tickets & Admission
- Hours of operation: 8:30am to 5:00pm daily
- Admission: $26.96 for adults, $16.95 for children (3-12), free for children under 3. During special events, ticket prices increase.
- Location: 1400 Patten Rd, Lookout Mountain, GA 37350
- Official website for tickets
Tips for Visiting Rock City Gardens
- Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be doing a lot of walking!
- Bring a camera. You’ll want to capture all of the amazing views.
- Be prepared for crowds. Rock City Gardens is a popular tourist destination, so it can get crowded, especially on weekends and during the summer months. My advice is to get timed tickets for when it first opens in the morning with much less crowds.
- Bring a picnic lunch. There are a few picnic tables located throughout the gardens, so you can enjoy a meal with a view.
- Take your time. There’s no need to rush through Rock City Gardens. Take your time and enjoy all that the gardens have to offer.
- Feel free to re-walk the path with the same ticket. We did the loop twice in a row and I was surprised at how much we missed the first time.
In a Nutshell
Rock City Gardens is a beautiful and unique place that is sure to provide a fun and memorable experience for visitors of all ages. With its stunning views, enchanting gardens, and exciting attractions, Rock City Gardens is a must-see for anyone visiting the Chattanooga area.