Edwards Point via the Rainbow Lake Trail Rainbow Lake Wilderness, TN
miles
LENGTH 4 MILES
DIFFICULTY 6.5 Easy
Medium
DURATION 2-3 hours
ELEVATION GAIN
740
feet
TRAIL TYPE
There And
Back Again
Edwards Point via the Rainbow Lake Trail

Hike along the scenic Middle Creek passing Rainbow Lake Dam as you make your way to Edwards Point, one of the best views in the Chattanooga area. Beginning from the Rainbow Lake trailhead, this route is easier than the trail from Signal Point but the second half is still quite rocky in places. This is a perfect hike for a hot summer day.

The parking lot is quite small, so get there early. The trail begins to the left, heading downhill until reaching Middle Creek. The first section of trail has several side trails that reconnect. Just stay to the left the whole way down. A short section here will be a paved path but most of the trail is a wide gravel path. A signed intersection will point you again to the left. As you approach the creek, a short side trail on the right leads you underneath a large rock overhang.

When the trail meets the creek, several side trails continue to the right around Rainbow Lake and the dam and are worth exploring. To continue to the suspension bridge, head down to the creek and follow it a few feet downstream.

Cross the suspension bridge and stay left while climbing up a rocky section of trail. The trail navigates along several large rock faces with a few arches up high. Further on you'll pass the signed Lockhart Arch. Pass a couple unmarked side trails that angle away from the gorge cliffs to the right before arriving at Edwards Point.

Edwards Point, a large rock outcropping, offers panoramic views of the Tennessee River Gorge and Signal Mountain. Keep sharp watch over children and dogs as a fall from the edge would not be good for your health. Soak up the view then head back the way you came. If you want to add three more amazing views for just a mile, also check out Julia Falls Overlook.

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Elevation Map Length (miles) by Elevation (feet)
Slope Breakdown
Elevation Gain
Elevation Range
Grade Range
Length
Elevation Gain
0 - 250 ft/mi
~ 0 - 5 %
0.9 mi
88 ft
250 - 500 ft/mi
~ 5 - 10 %
0.7 mi
259 ft
500 - 750 ft/mi
~ 10 - 15 %
0.3 mi
183 ft
750 - 1000 ft/mi
~ 15 - 20 %
0.1 mi
126 ft
1000+ ft/mi
~ 20+ %
0.1 mi
199 ft
For out-and-back hikes, elevation loss is the same as the gain.
Terrain Map Click to control map
Navigation
0.0 mi
0.0 mi - Trailhead
0.1 - 0.2 mi
0.1 - 0.2 mi - Stay Left Several side trails that reconnect. Just stay to the left.
0.35 mi
0.35 mi - Turn Left Signed intersection. Turn left for Rainbow Lake.
0.45 mi
0.45 mi - Large Rock Overhang Large rock face and overhang on right.
0.65 mi
0.65 mi - Middle Creek and Rainbow Lake Dam Reach Middle Creek. Continue downstream to reach the suspension bridge or explore around the dam on several side trails.
0.7 mi
0.7 mi - Suspension Bridge, Then Stay Left After crossing the bridge, stay left.
0.95 mi
0.95 mi - Rock Walls and Arches Pass several rock walls and arches including the signed Lockhart Arch.
Next .5 mi
Next .5 mi - Stay Straight Several unmarked side trails to right heading away from gorge edge. Stay straight, following wider path and white blazes.
2.0 mi
2.0 mi - Edwards Point
Details
length4 miles
difficulty6.5 Easy-Medium
duration2 - 3 hours
trail typeThere And Back Again
blazeBlue (Rainbow Lake), White (Cumberland)
elevation gain740 ft.
state Tennessee 
park/forestRainbow Lake Wilderness
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
hoursSunrise - Sunset
parking feeNone
trailhead coordinates 35.124801, -85.361796 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°7.49, W 85°21.71 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 35°7'29'', N 35°7'29'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
35.124801, -85.361796 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°7.49, W 85°21.71 most GPS units use this one
N 35°7'29'', N 35°7'29'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Google Map It
The parking lot is open from 6am - 10pm.
Parking Capacity
11 parking spots + 1 handicap spot. Overflow along the road.
Notes
Restrooms are available at Signal Point Park just down the road.
Sections of the trail are very rocky.
Several steep drop offs. Be careful with children and dogs.
Nearby Hikes
Similar Hikes
Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
4 (1)
hikethesouth-1 year ago
Kid Friendly Route to Edwards Point
This is the slightly easier, significantly less rocky, and shorter route to Edwards Point, which is why everyone I saw with kids was taking this path instead of starting from Signal Point. You do miss 3 additional views, but either way the views from Edwards Point are fantastic and exploring around Middle Creek and Rainbow Lake Dam is nice as well. Great hike and great location to the city.
Easy-Medium | Hiked Summer 2019
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