Everyone has seen waterfalls including some spectacular waterfalls, but has anyone seen large underground waterfalls? The largest waterfall open to the public in the United States is Ruby Falls in Tennessee. Exploring these falls is a very unique way to explore the caves of the United States.
One of the most spectacular (above ground) falls in the world is the Victoria Falls in Africa. These massive falls are on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe and are inhabited by crocodiles (in the evenings one can even see Elephants walking above them). The tallest falls in the world are the Angel Falls in Venezuela - these are as stunning as they are remote.
Why Visit The Ruby Falls and Their Accidental Discovery
Ruby Falls is located in Lookout Mountain (near Chattanooga in Tennessee) and falls for a total of 145 feet or 44 meters.
Drop: 145 Feet or 44 Meters
In addition to the massive underground waterfall, Ruby Falls Cave features some of the most well-known cave formations including stalagmites, columns, stalactites, flowstone, and drapery. So one needn't worry that the fall is all that one will see.
The Falls themselves are at the end of the main passage of Ruby Falls Cave in a large vertical shaft. The stream is fed by natural springs and rainwater and is located 1,120 feet underground. The subterranean stream flows through the Lookout Mountain until it joins up with the Tennessee River.
It was one of the first caves to be fitted out with electric lights and has had public tours since 1930. Today they are open to the public and operated daily.
Ruby Falls is privately owned by the Steiner family in Chattanooga in Tennessee.
Designated: Ruby Falls Together With the Lookout Mountain Caverns Complex Are A National Historic Landmark
Ruby Falls Cave does not have a natural opening. It was discovered when an artificial entrance to Lookout Mountain Cave was being drilled in 1928.
Named: After The Discover's (Lambert's) Wife's Name - Ruby
In 1954 a pathway around the basin was cut so that tourists could enjoy a better view of the incredible falls.
Visiting The Ruby Falls Today
"Journey deep inside historic Lookout Mountain to see the tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public in the United States! Descend 260 feet by glass-front elevator to explore ancient formations along the cavern trail to see the thundering falls."
On the tour, one will not only descent 260 feet by a glass front elevator, but one will also discover the story behind their accidental discovery. One will see all sorts of stunning rock formations and more.
Note: The Cave Walk to Ruby Falls Is Around 1 Hour or More Depending on The Date and Time the Visit
After visiting the underground waterfall, enjoy the eye-watering views of the Tennessee Valley, Cumberland Plateau, and Tennessee River from high atop Lookout Mountain Tower and Blue Heron Overlook. Enjoy their other attractions like the historic Ruby Falls Castle and their exhilarating High Point ZIP Adventure.
Social Distancing: Not Possible During Cave Tours Or In The Elevator
They are easy to reach and are just minutes from downtown Chattanooga. The highway is Interstate 24. Take one's pick of exits 174, 175, and 178 of Interstate 24.
Planning One's Visit To The Ruby Falls
The caves are open daily and are one of the most exciting family-friendly activities in the region. It is an experience at will forge lasting family memories. If one is planning to visit, it is wise to plan ahead as they can easily sell out.
Reservation: Advance Reservations Are Required
Tip: Plan Ahead as Tours Sell Out Quickly and Availiaby is Limited, Tickets Must be Purchased Online
Open Daily: 8:00 am - 8:00 pm (Tour Schedules Vary by Season)
Duration: Most Visitors Spend 2-3 Hours Total at Ruby Falls and Its Various Attractions
Walking: Guests Must Walk Just Under One Mile Round Trip on a Paved Cavern Trail
For an after-hours specialty tour, consider booking their Lantern Tour. On this tour, the cavern and the trails are dark and only illuminated by hand-held lanterns. This tour is offered on Friday nights after-hours and is only for those aged 5 and up.
Cost of Normal Tickets:
Children: $13.95 (Aged 3-11 Years Old - Under 3 are Free)
One can also purchase professional pictures of one's group with the backdrop of the falls. Everyone is, of course, welcome to take any pics of one's own all along the tour (although one can't take too long to snap the pics as everyone must keep pace with the group. If one would like more lime to take their pics, then consider their Gentle Walking Tour.