Getting on/off motorcoach. At Rock City, walking 100-foot trail; 35 stairs in sets of 4-5 stairs with handrails; uneven, some inclines. Ruby Falls entrance building is handicapped accessible; cave not wheelchair accessible. Elevator down to starting point of cave walk, approximately 4/5 of a mile one way; hard packed dirt, uneven paths.
Before the arrival of the Europeans, the land where Asheville now exists lay within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation. At the hotel, we’ll sit back and enjoy a presentation given by a local expert who has collected and continues to share Cherokee legends, and who plays the Cherokee flute, rattle, and the Native American drum. Our presenter also plays the five-string banjo, guitars, and the Appalachian dulcimer. Through this presentation and performance, we’ll delve into hundreds of years of Cherokee culture and history in a short time including one of America's darkest tragedies, the Removal of tribes to the West, and into the present. After our presentation at the hotel, we will board our motorcoach and take a short drive to Lookout Mountain. The mountain was the setting for two historic battles. The so-called “last battle of the Cherokee” took place in August of 1794. The 1863 Battle of Lookout Mountain —also known as the Battle Above the Clouds — sounded the death knell of the Confederacy when Union troops prevailed. As we ponder its history, we can marvel at the panoramic view of seven states.
Lunch will be at a restaurant located at Rock City.
More than 200 million years of weathering have produced the massive, unusually shaped sandstone boulders in what is now known as Rock City, situated at 1,700 feet above sea level atop Lookout Mountain. During this self-directed exploration, you can traverse a walking trail more than 4,000 feet long that features not only these ancient rock formations but caves and gardens with more than 400 species of native plants. You may walk at your own pace and see what interests you most. There are places along the trail to sit as well as easy access back to the starting point. Our Group Leader will be available to answer any questions about trail logistics. We’ll then hop back aboard the motorcoach for a short drive on the mountain top to Ruby Falls, where we will go on a walking exploration with a local expert. We’ll learn how this extraordinary geological wonder was discovered in 1928 by a team of excavators who came across it 1,120 feet beneath the surface. The waterfall is 145 feet high, falling through a cavern created by the same geological forces as Rock City and Lookout Mountain itself. When they say don’t drink the water, they mean it! The water in Ruby Falls contains high concentrations of magnesium.
This is your time to enjoy dinner on your own or with newfound friends. Your group leader will be happy to offer suggestions.