Imagine crawling for 17 hours and discovering an incredible waterfall at the end of the journey. In 1928, Leo Lambert and a team of excavators did just this when they discovered falls located over 1,120 feet below the surface of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN. Leo named his find after his wife, Ruby, and today you can visit the nation’s largest and deepest waterfall open to the public — Ruby Falls.
Once you ride an elevator down 2 stories, you begin your journey along the comfortable 70° path led by a knowledgeable tour guide. Full of anticipation and wonder, there are plenty of amazing formations to see as you make your way towards the 145 foot underground waterfall.
As you trek 1,120 feet beneath the mountain’s surface, you find yourself immersed in a magical underground world of crystal rock formations. The most unusual formations have names to represent the shapes and figures they resemble, such as “Elephant’s Foot” or “Angel’s Wing.” Each one formed over time through natural processes occurring inside the cave. You will also notice stalagmites made from incredible white onyx, while millions of stalactites hang over head.
There is an obvious display of water all around you in the cavern even before you reach Ruby Falls. In fact, the path you walk on hovers over the water source below. There are small bridges, streams and pools of water throughout the cavern that are fed by rainfall. Fortunately for us, the day prior to our visit, there was substantial rain in the area. This meant that we were going to see the falls in all it’s glory as it was really flowing with the increased volume of available water.
As you enter “Solomon’s Temple“, the room where Ruby Falls is located, you are greeted by a beautiful display of lights that cycle through a rainbow of colors for 8 minutes. During that time, the water flows into a crystal-clear pool below as music plays and you watch in amazement. Hundreds of gallons of water rush over the falls by the minute every day as visitors take in the sights and sounds. See the majesty of the falls on the next page!