Rock City Gardens announced that its most significant trail enhancement project in recent years is underway, with several features already completed. The Enchanted Trail takes on more of a fairytale feeling beginning with the large arched portal door entrance to Fat Man’s Squeeze, leading to the latest installments in the Hall of the Mountain King.
The new trail features include a completed tunnel with glass ornaments set into the sparkling stone ceiling, use of fiber optics for colors and lighting, scroll design in the stone pathway, and steps showcasing fossils and glowing jewels.
Elements that are currently still in-process involve a decorative railing, troll sculpture and grand staircase. Future installments targeted for 2021 include an all-new Rainbow Hall with windows made from handmade art glass in the order of the rainbow, a bronze door set with colorful glass in the archway, an entrance portal for the Kingdom of the Trolls and an enormous chandelier with large crystals in the colors of the rainbow.
Will Jackson, who is the senior manager of innovation for See Rock City Inc., has led the creative behind the art, as well as the installations and partnerships with other area artists. “Chris Mosey of Ignis Glass Studio began producing the glass rondels for the railings and doorways, and Michael Brandt of Garage Bound began plasma cutting on the decorative railing panels from our digital design files,” said Jackson. “Terry Lohmann and his crew of stone masons began the massive task of building the walkways, overpasses, water features and walls necessary to make this idea come to life.”
The inspiration behind these additions to Rock City can be traced to the legacy of Rock City’s co-founder, Frieda Utermoehlen Carter, who is known for her love of story and desire to weave those stories into the gardens. The tale of the Troll King Peer Gynt has been a major focal point for the innovation team to develop this theme. Much of the design is also anchored around the number seven: seven colors of the rainbow, seven musical notes, seven steps that lead up to the top of the grand stairs and seven total steps in the Hall of the Mountain King.
"Our team at Rock City is committed to living our value of innovation, as we know that the experience our guests have when they visit is paramount to our continued success,” said SRC Inc. President and CEO Susan Harris. “Bringing the trail to life in dynamic and artistic ways is part of our legacy, and Will and his team take seriously the need to shepherd that legacy forward."
Rock City Gardens strives to serve as a leading cultural innovator by partnering with local artisans to bring “Art in Nature” to the Enchanted Trail. Currently Rock City is home to seven sculptures made from recycled and reclaimed materials, inspired by the gardens’ natural beauty and peaceful effect. Just six miles from downtown Chattanooga, Tenn., Rock City is an enchanted, 4,100-foot walking trail showcasing lush gardens, caves and soaring rock formations.