Rock City Gardens is one of the South’s oldest and most popular natural attractions. Just six miles from downtown Chattanooga, Tenn., Rock City is an enchanted, 4,100-foot walking trail showcasing soaring rock formations and lush gardens that include over 400 species of wildflowers and plants. Other features include the Swing-A-Long Bridge that spans nearly 200 feet and the lookout point at Lover’s Leap where you can “See Seven States” while standing over the 140-foot waterfall that cascades down Lookout Mountain. Millions of people from all over the world have visited this nostalgic attraction, making memories worth repeating. Rock City is open daily for self-guided tours from 8:30 a.m. to dusk. Visit www.seerockcity.com for more info.
The attraction opened in 1932 by Garnet and Frieda Carter, and was made known partially due to the barn advertising campaign Carter initiated. A sign painter named Clark Byers was hired to travel the nation’s highways and offer to paint farmer’s barns in exchange for letting them paint three simple words: See Rock City. The distinctive black-and-white signs appeared as far north as Michigan and as far west as Texas. The advertising soon began to produce the desired effect and, by the close of the 1930’s, more travelers than ever had seen Rock City Gardens.
Rock City was chosen as one of America's top ten great pastimes by USA TODAY, after the release of National Geographic's book, USA 101: A Guide to America's Iconic Places, Events and Festivals by Author Gary McKechnie.
Length of Walking Tour
3/4 of a mile, typically 1 1/2 - 2 hours. However, this is a self-guided tour, so this is an average time.
Best Starting Point
Beginning of the trail, through the main gift shop at Rock City Gardens, 1400 Patten Rd., Lookout Mountain, GA 30750.
ADA Accessibility Notes
There is a handicap accessible trail. While it will not allow those in a wheelchair to view the entire gardens area, it will allow access to the Critter Classroom, where the Rock City Raptors Birds of Prey show is held Thursday-Sunday each week in the summer. This trail also goes through the heart of the gardens, where many of the different species of flowers, plants, and trees can be viewed, as well as wildlife such as squirrels and chipmunks. The ADA trail leads all the way to the Lover's Leap area in the gardens, where you can See Seven States on a clear day. You can also view the Lover's Leap waterfall and enjoy BBQ from the See Seven States BBQ tent on weekends in the summer.
Pet Friendly Notes
Pets are allowed to walk through Rock City Gardens on a leash! Enjoy the quiet woodland paths and gardens together. Discover ancient rock formations. Explore the 400 species of places, flowers, and shrubs. Each step is a discovery for you and your pet! Stay the weekend and enjoy Lookout Mountain and Chattanooga!
How to Find the Walking Tour
In Chattanooga, from the I-75/I-24 split, take I-24 West towards Downtown Chattanooga. Get off at exit 178, the Lookout Mountain/Market Street Exit. Go straight to the traffic light and turn left onto Broad Street. At the base of the mountain, turn left onto Tennessee Avenue and follow the signs to Rock City.
The beginning of the trail is through the main gift shop at Rock City Gardens, 1400 Patten Rd., Lookout Mountain, GA 30750.