Trail

Julia Falls Overlook

Chattanooga, TN
Length: 0.90 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

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This trail begins at Signal Point, and follows the first half mile of the southernmost section of the Cumberland Trail.

From the parking lot, the trail follows a paved pathway to the Signal Point overlook, where there is a picnic area and beautiful views over the Tennessee River Gorge. From the viewpoint, turn right and follow the fence until there is a break. Here the trail drops a steep 200 feet down a set of wooden switchbacks dubbed “the mousetrap.” These are very steep in places, and can be slick when there has been recent rain.

Once at the bottom, the trail levels out, and heads west along the white blazed Cumberland Trail for another quarter of a mile before reaching a point where the trail turns to the right at a wide viewpoint. Here you have another view of the river and Raccoon Mountain, as well as Edwards Point directly ahead. When there has been rain you can see Julia Falls across the gorge to the northwest.

The Cumberland Trail continues from here to make for several other day hikes, but to complete this section turn around and retrace your steps back to the car for a one mile out-and-back.

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Trail Features

Surface type Dirt
Elevation gain 200 ft.
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms No
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store Yes
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles
Yes

Trail highlights

Picnic Area, Shaded Hike, and Viewpoint

The views on this trail are excellent, and there are several large rocks that make great natural “slides,” if you are comfortable with very dirty pants.

The viewpoint at Signal Point is well barricaded with a rock wall about three feet tall, however the Julia Falls Overlook has no barrier or safety railing, and the drop into the gorge is severe. The views can also get very crowded on nice days.

Insider tip: turn right just past the main viewpoint and continue for another 20 yards until there is a huge “slide rock” to the right. Directly across from this is a slightly overgrown trail that leads to a rarely used viewpoint, with a cool fissure in the ground kids will find exciting, and a stone table that makes a great snack spot/changing table. The views of the gorge aren’t quite as good but it’s still beautiful, and worth it if you have young walkers and want to avoid potential crowds.

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $0.00

There is no parking fee, however the parking lot is only open from dawn-dusk, so make sure to be back at the car or it may be locked in after dark.

Trail Contributor

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I am the Branch Ambassador for Hike It Baby Chattanooga. A native of Richmond, VA, I spent most of my adolescence and early adulthood hiking and camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and once my children were born started taking them on adventures with me! I am a portrait photographer and freelance writer, trying to hike my way through all the trails southeastern Tennessee has to offer.