Lookout Mountain's Ruby Falls adds Skyline Loft event space

Contributed photo / Skyline Loft, a new event venue at Ruby Falls, sits atop the castle in what was once a rooftop garden area used for outdoor parties during the 1960s and 70s.
Contributed photo / Skyline Loft, a new event venue at Ruby Falls, sits atop the castle in what was once a rooftop garden area used for outdoor parties during the 1960s and 70s.

Note: This story was updated on Feb. 7 to correct the size of the event space and the years when the space was formerly used for summertime dances.

Ruby Falls, one of Chattanooga's most visited legacy attractions, has unveiled its newest addition — Skyline Loft event space.

Sitting atop the Ruby Falls castle, which was originally built in 1929, the venue offers extraordinary views of the Tennessee Valley and the Cumberland Plateau. The space, which was once a hub for parties and summertime dances during the 1930s and 1940s, will once again be used as a community gathering place.

"The best part about this venue is the beautiful view of Chattanooga," Ruby Falls President and CEO Hugh Morrow said in a phone interview. "It's beautiful during the day, and during the night, you get to enjoy the lights of the city.

"Ruby Falls castle has a long legacy of being a gathering place for the community. ... We are thrilled to carry on this tradition."

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Ruby Falls is known as the tallest underground waterfall open to the public in the United States. Found 1,120 feet beneath the summit of Lookout Mountain, the falls draw an estimated half million visitors every year.


The addition of Skyline Loft is part of a $20 million expansion that Ruby Falls announced in 2016. The construction has been slow-moving, partly due to reconfiguring the original gift shop, while keeping visitors moving in and out in a steady flow.

"And COVID didn't help," Morrow said. "That delayed us by about two years."

Overall, the expansion included elements like historic preservation efforts, parking upgrades, new elevators, and other structural improvements and technological additions like Wi-Fi within the cave so visitors could share their experiences instantaneously through social media. In 2019, Ruby Falls added two zip lines to its grounds, giving visitors yet another reason to prolong their stay.

(READ MORE: Ziplining into adventure at Ruby Falls on Lookout Mountain)

The newly unveiled event space spans an adaptable 3,500 square feet that can be used for corporate gatherings as well as personal celebrations. As a classroom, the space can accommodate about 50 people; as a banquet hall, about 104 guests; in theater mode, about 110; and for receptions, up to 300 people.

The venue has a catering kitchen, a modern audio-visual system, free parking and is currently taking bookings for 2024 and 2025. Guests can choose from a list of approved vendors or choose their own.

Skyline Loft also creates a new market for Ruby Falls.

"We think it will be a unique source of income that will enable locals to have events here," Morrow said. "This gives the local community more of a reason to come visit us."

If people or businesses are looking for "a unique, customizable space to hold an event, that will be special for all who attend, this is a great venue," Morrow said.

More info

— Where: On 12.5 acres along Scenic Highway on the side of Lookout Mountain.

— What: A 145-foot high waterfall 1,120 feet beneath the mountain.

— Owner: John T. Steiner Family Trust.

— History: In 1905, the natural entrance to Lookout Mountain Cave was closed during the construction of a railway tunnel. In the 1920s a chemist and cave enthusiast named Leo Lambert tried to re-open the cave and discovered an underground waterfall in 1928. In 1930, Ruby Falls began hosting visitors.

— Why the name: Lambert named the falls after his wife, Ruby.


Contact Jennifer McNally at jmcnally@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6416.

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