If you love traveling and visiting all kinds of exotic places then the Ruby Falls, near Chattanooga, Tennessee in the United States is a must-see in your list. This 145 feet high underground waterfall is a treat to the eyes. On seeing this beautifully lighted and splendid waterfall anyone will go “wow”, such is the beauty and enchantment of this place. Chattanooga is a beautiful city with many attractions and Ruby Falls is one among them. You should definitely visit this place when you visit Chattanooga. Ruby falls is located within Lookout Mountain, near Chattanooga, in the United States of America. The falls is owned by the Steiner family of Chattanooga. It is named as one of the” ten most incredible cave waterfalls on earth.
It is America’s deepest public waterfall and largest underground waterfall, standing at 44 meters tall and located 341 meters beneath Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga. The entrance to Ruby Falls is housed within an unusual stone building. The structure has a large ivy-covered tower resembling that of a Gothic castle. Visitors who climb to the top of the tower are rewarded with a beautiful view of Chattanooga. The grounds are beautifully-landscaped. An elevator takes visitors, 26 stories below the surface. The cave path is full of beautiful stalactites and stalagmites which makes the little journey more amazing.
Unlike the other south-eastern caves of the United States of America, you will not find much artifacts in the Ruby Falls Cave as it did not have any natural opening of its own and couldn’t be entered until the 20th century. During the 1900s, the Lookout Mountain cave’s natural entrance was shut due to certain construction work of a railway tunnel, however in the 1920s, Leo Lambert, a chemist and cave enthusiast, thought of reopening the cave as a tourist spot and formed a company to work on it. He decided to make a new opening which would be further up the mountain than the previous or the original opening and planned the transportation of the tourists via an elevator. To accomplish this purpose his company bought a land on the side of the Lookout Mountain Cave and began to drill through the limestone in 1928. While working on this they discovered a small, about 8 inches high and 4 feet wide, passageway. Exploring this passageway Lambert discovered the formerly concealed Ruby Falls Cave and its waterfall. Today, the caves and waterfall are illuminated by various electric lights and shine in all shades of colors, including ruby red. But that’s not how the cave got its name. On Lambert’s next trip to the place he took his wife Ruby there and named the waterfall after her, thus the name Ruby Falls.
The formation of the Ruby Falls Cave took place along with the formation of the Lookout Mountain. The eastern part of Tennessee about 200-240 million years ago was covered with a shallow sea, whose sediments eventually formed the limestone rocks. And about 200 million years ago this area was uplifted and subsequent erosion formed the present topography. The cave which formed on the limestone is still horizontal, as it was while below the sea level. The Ruby Falls Cave is a limestone cave and limestone caves are formed when slightly acidic groundwater enters the subterranean streams and engulfs at a relatively soluble limestone, causing narrow cracks to broaden the passageway and cave in the process of chemical weathering. The stream that makes up falls entered the cave only after its formation. The falls are located in a large vertical shaft at the end of the main passage of the cave. The stream which is 1120 feet under the ground is fed both by spring water and rainfall.
This place contributes a lot to the Chattanooga tourism industry. Its annual visitation exceeds 4, 00,000. The Ruby Falls Cave and the underground waterfall are open to the public year round for exploration and enjoyment. A guide leads you through the cave showing the different formations. Ruby falls can be visited daily from 8:00am -8:00pm. Ruby Falls offers a variety of combination tickets that provide you a substantial savings. Your Ruby Falls ticket includes the tour of Ruby Falls, Fun Forest Playground area, and the Lookout Mountain Tower view. Tickets for adults cost 18.95$ and for children (3-12 years) 10.95$. You can also purchase an annual pass which costs 32.95$ for adults, 16.95$ for children (3-12 years of age) or buy the VIP Cavern Card (includes 2 specified adults and 2 children or grandchildren) for129.95$. Tours to Ruby Falls are sent every 15-20 minutes based on demand. The tour to Ruby Falls lasts on average 1 hour and 15 minutes. The tour is approximately 4/5 of a mile. The tour is on a paved pathway with only a couple of gradual slopes. There are approximately 35 stairs on the pathway, each paired in set of 4-5 with handrails provided.
1. Ruby Falls was one of the first caves in the world to use electric lights.
2. At 145 feet tall, Ruby Falls is one of the largest underground waterfalls accessible to the public.
3. A tour of both the Ruby Falls Cave and the Lookout Mountain Cavern lasted up to four hours in the 1930s.
4. Cavern Castle, the Ruby Falls entrance building, was once used as a dinner/dance hall.
5. The first elevator cost $20,325.
6. Ruby Falls is 837 feet above sea level.
7. The first tour guides were all men. They were paid 75 cents an hour. Women were only used to run the elevator.
8. The best estimate to the actual age of Ruby Falls is 30 million years.
9. When you are at the waterfall, you are actually 10 feet higher than you were when you started the tour.
10. The word “Chattanooga” is a Creek word meaning “rock coming to a point” and it is thought to be a description of Lookout Mountain.
11. Leo Lambert was the first person to explore the Tennessee cave on Mount Etna. It is now popularly known as Raccoon Mountain Caverns