by MIKE CHAIKEN
One of Chattanooga/Look Mountain Georgia’s most spellbinding and magnificent natural attractions, Rock City was officially established as a tourist destination by entrepreneur, Garnet Carter, and his wife, Frieda.
Now hosting over 600,000 visitors from around the world, Rock City offers a plethora of awe-inspiring rock formations, over 400 native plant species, and the breathtaking “See 7 States” (where convention says you can see seven full states atop one of the highest rock peaks) on an unforgettable journey that will remain in your memory long after your trip ends.
Bring your cameras for plenty of envy-inducing photo ops amidst the looming rocks, cascading waterfall, magical caverns, and unbelievable works of art– both natural and man-made– that truly must be experienced in order to be believed.
Shimmy your way through “Fat Man’s Squeeze,” twist and turn as you navigate “Needle’s Eye” and walk the trail at your own leisure to take in the picturesque sights that have cemented Rock City as a premiere destination for tourists and locals alike.
Here is what to expect and experience on your trip:
SWING ALONG BRIDGE: Swing and sway over mountainous, rocky terrain for a daring way to experience Rock City from a different perspective on the Swing Along Bridge, which spans 180 feet. Take a moment to look over your shoulder at the lush greenery and rolling mountains that surround you as you make your way over this daring and exciting bridge and look down below too… but only if you dare.
FAT MAN’S SQUEEZE: Two gargantuan rocks are propped against each other to create a narrow passage where guests can “squeeze” through toward the next steps of their journey through the Enchanted Trail. The more diminutive you are in stature, the more comfortable you will be in this famous portion of Rock City’s Trail.
GNOME VALLEY: The first known garden gnomes were produced in ancient Germany in the early 1800s, and these mythical, playful creatures are certainly no strangers to Rock City. Have a little fun with your friends and family, to see just how many gnomes you can count frolicking through the Gnome Valley part of the gardens.
MUSHROOM ROCK: The Mushroom Rock, one of the many rock formations that naturally appears to be manually carved to resemble an item or humanoid shape, bears striking resemblance to…you guessed it: a mushroom.
GRAND CORRIDOR: A scenic portion of the trail, serving as somewhat of a breezeway while you make your way from one portion of the pathway to the next, The Grand Corridor features optimal views from both a high and low level, where you can see Rock City from several exciting vantage points.
OBSERVATION POINT: This overlook offers a second look back at the towering HIGH FALLS, (an iconic attraction at Rock City), Lovers Leap and the majestic mountain vista.
Dazzling lighting, relaxing sound effects, and breezy, classical music plays while you meander the trail. We highly recommend exploring the trail numerous times over as you are likely to see new flora, fauna, and formations with each foray into the gardens.
Once you have walked the Enchanted Trail, make your way to the Fairyland Caverns for one of the most nostalgic and magical sights you’ll take in on your vacation, sure to take you on an instant journey down memory lane.
Deep inside the caverns, you’ll be transported to another world of neon lights and old-time nursery rhymes, paying homage to the classic fairytales of Mother Goose, Jack and Jill, Goldilocks and The Three Bears, and one of the exhibits most famous installations, Snow White (which features an entourage of Rock City’s Famous Gnomes instead of the traditional story’s dwarves). One visitor we encountered during our visit noted that the exact figures were on display during her childhood, and she now brings her grandchildren to Fairyland.
Don’t dismay after your journey through the gardens is over as there is still plenty to do at Rock City.
The Summer Music Series, which wraps up in Sept, offers top notch, toe-tapping entertainment from some of the finest multi-genre singers and songwriters you’ll find in the mountains. Taryn Aimee Smith, best known for her Grammy-nominated song, “Expecting Good Thing,” performed the day of our visit. You can check Rock City’s website and social media pages for updates on the rotating line up of featured artists.
Free with park admission, you won’t want to miss the Birds of Prey Raptor Show. Get up close and personal with varieties of owls, falcons, and one hilarious vulture as you learn more about these amazing birds and the tremendous impact they have on our planet.
PHONE: (706) 820-2531
Victoria Henley is host of Backstage Pass on IHeart Radio/FCB Radio and a former contestant on “America’s Next Top Model.”