An Underground Waterfall in Chattanooga Tennessee
A unique cave tour located in Chattanooga Tennessee, Ruby Falls is an underground waterfall that has been a family favorite for over 75 years.
Travelers, tourists, and sightseers that are headed into Chattanooga Tennessee should consider making their way up Lookout Mountain and toward a well-known family cave tour attraction named Ruby Falls. Ruby Falls will also be of interest to cave explorers and those that enjoy the beauty of the natural world. Despite the good air quality, usually excellent tour guides, and well light walking paths within this cave, it may not be suited for those that are claustrophobic.
What is Ruby Falls?
According to the official Ruby Falls Website, Ruby Falls is a natural wonder that is Green Globe Certified. It is located over 1000 feet below ground and is a beautiful underground waterfall that has a tendency to leave visitors breathless.
A one-hour walking cave tour guides visitors into the caverns deep below the earth’s surface. At the climax of this cave tour is a 145-foot underground waterfall that, when combined with well-timed music and light effects, ushers in a feeling of awe.
Geology of Ruby Falls Cavern
While on the way to the amazingly splendid underground waterfall guests are treated to many different geological formations including:
- Drapery formations
- and Helictites
These geological formations are common in all caves, yet at Ruby Falls Cavern these formations have a tendency to take on a life of their own. Common speleothems, or cave formations, at Ruby Falls Tennessee include those that look like candles, dragon feet, potato chips, and many others.
History of Ruby Falls TN
The official Ruby Falls website indicates that Ruby Falls deep within Lookout Mountain owes its discovery to a man named Leo Lambert. Mr. Lambert, back on December 28, 1928, was a chemist and cave explorer who had the dream of opening a cave tour attraction to the general public. While drilling to create an elevator for the Ruby Falls Cavern Leo and his crew discovered an 18inch high 5 feet wide opening. An investigation of the opening required Leo and his men to crawl on their bellies for several hours. At the end of their journey, they were able to finally stand up. Eventually, they would discover a gush of air and the sound of falling water. By following the sound they eventually came across the underground waterfall.
Excited, the very next day Mr. Lambert brought his wife to the cave with him. She fell in love with the cave and the underground waterfall. As a result, Mr. Lambert, in honor of his wife, decided to name the underground waterfall after her. Ruby Falls was open to the public for the first time in 1930. By 1935 it had grown in popularity and Mr. Lambert’s original cave tour was closed to allow for more resources and time to be spent on the Ruby Falls Cavern and Ruby Falls Cave Tour.
Ruby Falls and Ruby Falls Cavern Today
Today Ruby Falls Cavern and the Ruby Falls Cave Tours are still a major family attraction in Tn. By 1954 the pathway to and from the falls changed to allow visitors a somewhat larger walking path and better views of the falls. An emergency exit was added around 1975. This exit, today, also serves as a special haunted cavern that the Ruby Falls Staff runs every Halloween.
Additionally, Ruby Falls is Green Globe Certified. According to the Green Globe website “Green Globe Certification is the premier worldwide certification label for sustainable management and operations.” They go on to report that “To guarantee adherence to the highest international standards, a third-party independent auditor is appointed to work with clients on-site.”
Ruby Falls is committed to environmental sustainability. It:
- Uses solar panels that produce around 16,000 watts of renewable energy.
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
- Reduces waste, recycles various materials and uses environmentally safe products.
- Uses land planning that deals with the development of environmental characteristics.
Ruby Falls also has a gift shop and a small snack area. It is partnered with other attractions to offer small discounts for purchasing package deals. These other attractions include the Tennessee Aquarium, the IMAX, the incline railway, and Rock City.
Critical Notes on Ruby Falls in Chattanooga Tennessee
Like most attractions, not everyone that has been to Ruby Falls has had a favorable opinion. The average rating of this Lookout Mountain underground waterfall attraction, according to Trip Advisor, is 3 out of 5 stars. Some of the complaints include:
- Cave tour groups are too large
- Cave floors are too slippery
- Ruby Falls prices of $15.95 are too expensive for the type of attraction.
- The underground waterfall has cramped corridors
- No bathrooms are in the caverns
- Inexperienced cave tour guides ruin the fun.
Despite these critical claims, there are many people who truly do enjoy their visit and who would be more than willing to return again and again.