Parents and young daughter stand outside the entrance to Ruby Falls

6 Tips for Visiting Ruby Falls This Summer

June 11, 2024

Make the most of your time on Lookout Mountain at Ruby Falls this summer with these easy tips.

1. Pick the cave adventure that best fits your schedule, interests, and personality. With four different cave adventures, you are sure to find the perfect match! Read on for a quick summary of each option.

A woman carries a child and follows another child through a caveThe Cave Walk to the Waterfall is an express guided walk to the waterfall in a larger group format. It gives a general overview of the cave with a short movie about the discovery of Ruby Falls and audio presentations during several stops on the cavern trail. The highlight is the lightshow at the waterfall!  This is a great option for folks looking for the basics about the cave and is just right if you are visiting with younger kiddos.

Specialty Tours

For unique adventures with special access, more time at the waterfall, a relaxed pace or more in depth info about the cave, check out specialty tours offered select days each week.  Tip: The number of tickets available for specialty tours are limited, so be sure to get your tickets online in advance because they frequently sell out.

A male and female couple walk in a dimly-lit cavern holding lanterns.The Lantern Tour is an experience like no other! During this popular after-hours adventure, the cavern is illuminated with only hand-held lanterns while an experienced guide takes you through the cave to the waterfall. The ancient rock formations are especially intriguing in the shadows and seeing the waterfall lit with a system of pulleys and lanterns is incredible. Lantern Tours usually sell out a few weeks in advance, you’ll want to plan ahead to participate.  Since the cave is dark other than the light from lanterns, children must be at least 5 years old to participate with an adult.

Another incredible option is the Gentle Walking Tour.  This is an early-access experience featuring a slow-paced journey along the cavern trail with a senior-level guide sharing in-depth information. Participants set the pace during the Gentle Walking Tour and there is plenty of time for photos during and after the lightshow at the waterfall. This experience is recommended for adults and children age 12 and up.

Young adult woman standing on the cavern trail in Ruby Falls Cave

History buffs love our newest specialty tour, the History Tour.  During this early access cave adventure, participants discover the lore and rich history of Ruby Falls from a senior-level guide while exploring the cavern trail to the thundering waterfall. Like the other specialty tours, this experience features a smaller group with a limited number of participants. Hear stories of legendary events from our 95-year history.  Purchase tickets online in advance to secure a reservation for adults and children age 12 and up.

2. Purchase tickets online in advance of your visit. Tickets are only sold online; walkup tickets are usually not available in the summer.

Tickets for all adventures are timed-entry, giving admission on a specific day and time.Group of people standing in front of a waterfall inside a cave.

Because a limited number of tickets are available for every cave adventure, for best availability purchase Cave Walk to the Waterfall tickets several days in advance of when you want to visit. This also keeps you from waiting around for your tour to start if walkup tickets are only available for tours later in the day.

Lantern Tour ,Gentle Walking Tour, and History Tour tickets should be purchased several weeks in advance at – they go fast (especially in the summer months and during school holidays). has up to the moment ticket availability and you may want to check back frequently if the option you want is sold out.  Tickets are valid for one year from the date of purchase and a guest with tickets may end up changing their reservation.

3. Arrive for your adventure at least 15 minutes before your reservation.

There are no restrooms in the cave and making a pit stop before you take the elevator into the cave is always a good idea.

Parking is free at Ruby Falls with multiple parking lots. Allow a little extra time to stop for photos in front of the water fountain, pollinator garden and the 95th anniversary living sculpture.

4. Visit the scenic overlooks at the park. The views are incredible from Blue Heron Overlook and historic Lookout Mountain Tower!

View angle Tower and sunrise

Sweeping views of the Cumberland Plateau and winding Tennessee River are outstanding at the park.  See if you can identify the Great Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Cumberland, Unaka and Iron Mountains. Depending on your reservation time, you can visit before or after your cave adventure. (The scenic overlooks are temporarily closed in hazardous weather.)Couple standing by viewfinders overlooking Chattanooga

Take the elevator or stairs in the Hospitality Atrium to Blue Heron Overlook.  This secluded nook features benches and a viewfinder equipped with color-correcting lenses giving folks with color blindness the opportunity to see the true colors of nature.

Follow the elevated walkway to the Castle’s limestone tower. Climb the stairs to the lower and upper viewing decks. We promise, the views are worth the climb!

Overlook access is included with admission.

5. Visit the 95th anniversary special exhibit at Ruby Falls running through October 20, 2024

Vintage black and white photo of Ruby Falls Entrance

The exhibit, 95 Years of Wonder! shares a fascinating glimpse of the unusual history of the park with rare photos, newspaper articles and vintage postcards.  Entrance to the exhibit is included with Ruby Falls admission.  View the exhibit before or after your cave adventure.

6. Stay for a casual meal in the historic Castle’s café or get an iced coffee to go!

The summer menu features tasty flatbread pizzas, grilled sandwiches, salads, snacks, yummy desserts, fresh-made lemonade, iced coffee, and local craft beer.Two hands each hold an iced coffee in front of a stone arch with a sign reading My Trip Thru Ruby Falls

Enjoy your meal in the historic Castle, where guests and locals have gathered to make memories around the table since 1929, or on the Castle’s shaded front porch with a cool breeze and views of the valley.

We can’t wait to share the beauty hidden underground with you this summer!

Learn more about our summer adventures at




Lara Caughman

Corporate Communications Manager

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