Hikes to caves + waterfalls in Chattanooga, TN

Image of a waterfall pouring into a green pond next to a large, slanted rock.
We've said it before, and we'll say it again — do go chasing waterfalls | Photo via NOOGAtoday

Table of Contents

Written by Gabriella Bellot

Recently, a reader asked us about hikes to area caves + waterfalls

We caved and made a guide for those wanting misty mornings by the water and serene explorations of cave formations. Let’s take the plunge.

Photo of a large waterfall pouring into a lake and surrounded by trees.
Foster Falls also serves as a perfect spot to bring your swimsuit + jump in | Photo via NOOGAtoday

🥾Waterfalls

Lula Falls at Lula Lake, 5000 Lula Lake Rd. | On Open Gate Days, there are several hiking trails you can take to reach the 120-ft waterfall — Lula Lake recommends the 4.2-mile Out + Back route.

Glen Falls TrailGlen Falls Trailhead, TN-58 | Try this quick, beginner-level hike that features stone steps + of course, a waterfall.

Rainbow Falls, 304 Ohio Ave. | Located on Signal Mountain, this moderate hike leads to a waterfall that often showcases rainbows in its mist on sunny afternoons.

Foster Falls Climbers Loop Trail, 498 Foster Falls Rd. | This 2.5-mile trail in Sequatchie features the Foster Falls waterfall, scenic views along the Fiery Gizzard Trail, and moderately rocky terrain.

Stinging Fork Falls, Spring City Area | A little over an hour away, this rocky trail features a 30-ft waterfall amid green moss + a creek. 

Benton Falls Trail, 3171 US-64, Benton | This Chilhowee Recreation hike is an easier, 3-mile trek that leads to a 65-ft waterfall.

Photo of an underground cave with several lights shining throughout
The Big Room Cave at The Caverns, which is 1 of the largest commercial cave rooms in the US | Photo via NOOGAtoday

🥾Caves

Raccoon Mountain Caverns, 319 W Hills Dr.  | If you’re looking for something more structured, the Crystal Palace tour offers a guided walk into the first 1/4 mile of the Raccoon Mountain cave.

Ruby Falls, on Lookout Mountain | While not a formal hike per se, this classic attraction offers a 2-in-1 with both a 145-ft waterfall + cave tours.

Pettyjohn’s Cave, 3440 Chamberlain Rd. Lafayette, GA | If you’re wanting to get down + dirty, this 6.5-mile underground trail is perfect for adventurous cavers. Disclaimerwhile this cave is open to the public, it is recommended to bring proper equipment and travel with someone more experienced, as the cave has been home to several injuries in the past.

Lost Cove’s Buggytop Cave, Buggy Top Cave Trailhead | It’s recommended for beginners to tag along on a ranger-led trip to help get familiarized with this wild cave. DisclaimerA permit is required to enter this cave.

Bonus: The Caverns, 55 Charlie Roberts Rd., Pelham | Last summer, this underground music venue opened a new cave show room with guided tours.

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