Planning a road trip with a dog? If you’re nearby, give Rock City in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, a try. It’s dog friendly!
Road Trip with a Dog
“Radcliff, are you ready for a road trip?” I asked my terrier-mix dog before buckling him into his co-pilot seat. His big brown eyes blinked at me with an inquisitive look. It wasn’t a look of, “Where are we going?” but of, “Why didn’t you ask me if I wanted a treat?”
Buffalo, N.Y., was our ultimate destination this summer, with a planned stop in Delaware County, Ohio, but what road trip does not have a few side trips of adventure? For dozens of road trips made through the Southeastern United States, I always noticed some sort of advertising for Rock City.
Specifically, signs on barns and white lettering painted on red birdhouses read “See Rock City” and billboards. After all these years, I finally did see Rock City. I picked up a brochure in a rest area and realized the iconic attraction is dog-friendly!
Abbreviated Version of Rock City History
Rock City’s modern history dates to 1924 when Garnet Carter developed the 700-acre residential community of Fairyland on top of Lookout Mountain. His wife was interested in European folklore which is how the development received its name. Carter developed the country’s first miniature golf course and franchised it, Tom Thumb Golf.
Frieda Carter developed Rock City into a legendary rock garden. She marked a trail around the larger-than-life rock formations and planted various plants along the trail. Imported German statues of famous fairytale characters and gnomes were placed along the trail. Rock City opened as an attraction in 1932. A challenge Carter overcame was location. The top of Lookout Mountain is away from the main tourist route. He hired a painter to travel U.S. roadways and offered to paint barns in exchange for painting “See Rock City” on them. And as they say, the rest is history.
Visiting Rock City with a Dog
After driving up Lookout Mountain and through residential areas with streets named after fairytales, like Red Riding Hood Trail, Cinderella Road and Mother Goose Trail, this road trip adventure led us to Rock City around 2 p.m. The parking lot was filling up and unfortunately, it was hot, which is typical for a summer afternoon in Georgia. I loaded up Radcliff’s bag (think diaper bag with doggie essentials for a hot summer afternoon: doggie water bottle, poop bags, and dog treats) and was ready for whatever life threw us.
Radcliff’s endurance is hit or miss. Add in heat and humidity and I should have realized it would be a miss during our journey, but he was a trooper. Most of the time.
It’s funny how dogs think they know the way during their first visit anywhere, and this was the case in Rock City. He led the way along the 4,100-ft walking trail as we squeezed through narrow canyons, up and down stairs, and over the Swing-A-Long-Bridge which is a 180-ft long suspension bridge.
Enjoying the Views in Rock City
We paused, frequently, to cool off, hydrate, and enjoy the scenery, such as High Falls, the 90-ft waterfall and viewing seven states at Lover’s Leap. At least, I enjoyed the scenery, my dog could care less.
Outside Café 7, the full-service restaurant, was a dog bowl with water so we made another hydration stop to beat the heat. If you’d like to dine on the Café 7 with your pup, there’s a doggie menu!
I should mention, Rock City has pet clean-up stations along the trail, although I typically carry my own.
I was fascinated with the Fairyland Caverns and the vibrant neon statues and scenes. Radcliff appreciated the coolness of the cave floors. It has an interesting history. Fairyland Caverns was created due to the slow down in visitation due to WWII between 1942 – 1945. To create something new, an artist was commissioned to create the fairytale scenes still enjoyed by all to this day.
Rock City is an American icon and I’m so glad I finally visited. I’m also glad the attraction is dog-friendly because if it wasn’t, I would need to visit another time.
Nuts & Bolts About Planning a Visit to Rock City
1400 Patten Rd.
Lookout Mountain, Ga. 30750
Tel: (706) 820-2531
Visit the Rock City website for current hours of operation and admission.
If you’ll be visiting Rock City with your dog, all pets must be kept on a leash.
Allow at least 2 hours at Rock City but my visit with my dog was much quicker and a bit of a whirlwind. The gardens and rock formations are stunning and I loved spotting a gnome or two, and the gorgeous scenery. Visiting Rock City made my road trip with a dog even more enjoyable and broke up the trip.
View Additional Photos from My Rock City Trip on Flickr
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