|Notes and comments:
Blue Trail: The blue loop trail provides a pleasant woodland walk, approximately 1.7 miles in length, with mostly gentle gradients. Care should be taken at the two points where it crosses the road. It is mostly well marked by signs, and by blue blazes on trees. At one point it splits into two, but soon rejoins. Part of the route is shared with the yellow trail, which can be somewhat confusing.
Pink Trail: The pink trail is a loop off the blue trail, skirting the soccer fields at the western edge of the park. It is approximately 0.8 miles long, and is mostly flat. At its northern end, where it joins the blue trail, is an impressive swing bridge.
Yellow Trail: The total length of the yellow trail is 3.9 miles, but it is in three sections, each of which may be hiked separately. There are no steep gradients on the trail. I thank Sharon Brueggeman for help in mapping the trail.
The first section (0.9 miles) starts at "Trail Central" within Shackleford Ridge Park , and sets off northeastwards, then turning south. It crosses the road within the park (at which there is a display board with a trail map), and continues to the southwest, as though it was going to complete a loop. However, at the southwest corner, where there is another display board, it dives off towards the south.
The second section (1.1 miles) leaves the park altogether, continues southwards for some distance, crosses Edwards Point Road, and eventually joins a "jeep track", used by bicycles, motor bikes and ATVs.
The third section (1.9 miles) consists of the jeep track itself, which runs all the way down to Edwards Point - a dramatic viewpoint, high above the Tennessee River , which is unfenced and dangerous!
The first and second sections of the trail are fairly well marked, with yellow blazes on trees (although it can get confusing, when sections of the trail are shared with other trails). The jeep track has almost no trail markings, and repeatedly divides and rejoins, mostly to avoid flooded sections. The yellow trail follows the main north-south line of this track.
Orange Trail: This trail is not for the faint-hearted! It is difficult to find (it took me three tries - thank you, Pam & Colin, for your patience!) and in places the terrain is extremely rough, with loose rocks and fallen trees. From Trail Central to the swing bridge, where it joins the Bee Branch trail, is 2.2 miles. From the swing bridge to the trailhead on Ohio Avenue is a further 1.1 miles. From the swing bridge to the other (better known) swing bridge below Rainbow Lake is 0.4 miles; from there to Ohio Avenue is 0.7 miles.
From Trail Central in Shackleford Ridge Park , the trail goes off to the southeast, crossing the park road. At an information display, it is joined by the yellow trail, and continues south to Edwards Point road. The trail markers on this section are yellow. It crosses Edwards Point Road , and runs parallel to it for a while, then arriving at a path junction, where the orange trail turns left (southeast), and the yellow trail continues straight on (southwest).
Orange (and similar colors) of trail marker are present on this section, and take the trail right at a fork, over a ridge, and down to a path junction (point G on the map). However, this is where your problems start! There is an orange blaze on a tree down the path to the right (south), but this is not the trail! Two trails go off to the left (northeast) - the further one is the orange trail, which then branches off to the right (southeast). If you reach the stream, you have missed the turning!
The trail now follows Middle Creek to the south, and in places it is very picturesque. Despite there being few trail marks along this section, it is easy to follow, eventually going down a steep section to the west bank of Middle Creek. An inviting trail to the southwest, alongside the creek, eventually dead-ends! Instead, you have to climb a steep, narrow and unmarked trail up the hillside on the right, to the foot of the cliffs. It may well be that there is another way to get to this point, but if so, I missed it, and you probably will as well! The trail then follows the foot of the cliffs for some distance - this is the rough section of the trail! There are occasional trail markers, but if in doubt, follow the foot of the cliffs! Eventually the trail leaves the cliffs and descends gently towards the stream, joining the Bee Branch trail at the western end of the swing bridge. To get to Rainbow Lake , follow the trail along the western side of the stream. To get to the trailhead on Ohio Avenue , cross the bridge and follow the Bee Branch trail.