Cliffs area closed for safety at Rainbow Lake in Derby

TELL CITY — In the interest of public safety, the Hoosier National Forest Supervisor has issued a closure order which prohibits visitors from entering an area of high rocks adjacent to Rainbow Lake in Derby, Perry County.  Rainbow Lake is a former quarry filled with water and is available to the public for fishing and paddling. 

The closure order states:

The following area is ordered closed until termination of this emergency closure order:

  1. The following section of the East Rainbow Lake area in Perry County on the Tell City Ranger District, as noted in Appendix A:
  • An approximate 2.33-acre area, consisting of a 100 foot no activity buffer from the Northwestern cliff edges of East Rainbow Lake as identified in Exhibit A.
  • East Rainbow Lake is approximately 6/10th of a mile NW of the Highway 66 and Highway 70 junction in the town of Derby, IN
  • Legal description as described: N 1/2 SW ¼ Sec 33 T5S, R1W, S 1/2 NW ¼ Sec 33 T5S, R1W

Despite signage warning of the risks, visitors have continued to climb the high rocks and even jump into the lake.  Unfortunately, the area has seen several fatalities. 

Mike Chaveas

“We provide lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation on the Hoosier National Forest and encourage visitors to recreate responsibly.  We have to balance outdoor recreation with visitor safety and the protection of natural and cultural resources.  This closure is being put in place to ensure public safety while continuing to allow fishing and paddling at the lake,” said Forest Supervisor, Mike Chaveas. “We hope it encourages visitors to consider the high level of risk inherent in climbing and jumping at this site and effectively dissuades these activities.”

The closure order and map can be found at:

Please use caution and pay attention to your surroundings while you enjoy recreation on the Hoosier National Forest. For more information about closure orders on the Hoosier National Forest, please visit or call 812-547-9051.

For up-to-date information on the Hoosier National Forest, visit , and