Visit Cumberland Falls
for Amazing Views and a Unique Experience
About a 20 minute detour off of I75 in Southeastern Kentucky, you will find Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. The centerpiece of the park is Cumberland Falls, a massive waterfall on the Cumberland River as it snakes through the hills and hollows. Access is easy. Parking and admission are free. Cumberland Falls makes for a wonderful afternoon, evening, or extended stay.
The Cumberland River tumbles 68 feet/21 meters sending up a large spray. Paved hiking trails and overlooks provide wonderful views and photo opportunities. Some of the better views require going up and down hills and stairs. The surrounding forest is a mix of native deciduous trees and eastern red cedars.
I last visited about 2 -3 days after a massive, Spring rain. The water was brown and muddy, but the view was still amazing. Most of the time, the river is fairly clear and the falls appear white. The clean, earthy aroma of the forest is intoxicating. Any time of year, you will not be disappointed.
Cumberland Falls is one of the few places in the world where you can view a moonbow. A moonbow is a rainbow caused when moonlight is refracted through the spray of a waterfall. You can witness the moonbow many times each year, weather permitting. I was fortunate enough to see it as a teen. Witnessing a natural phenomenon that few others will see is a special feeling.
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
Parking for Cumberland Falls lies adjacent to the Cumberland River. After parking my car, I walked along the river to the park entrance. A pair of Canada Geese came out of the water as I passed. The roar of the falls becomes louder as I approached the entrance. After passing the Visitor’s Center and gift shop, I was immediately treated to an amazing view with the falls being just a few yards away.
The setting was peaceful. Families strolled along the paved paths and gazed over the rails. A hippie played wood flute. The mellow, native-sounding music fit the setting perfectly. While amazing views await just inside the entrance, a short hike leads to different perspectives. I climbed and descended the steep stairs that follow the river to more overlooks. Birds chirping filled the canopy with song. It was a wonderful promenade through the woods . Amazing views awaited and did not disappoint.
The parkalso offers camping, cabins, and Dupont Lodge, a wonderful hotel for your family to stay. My parents love the Riverview Restaurant at Dupont Lodge and have dined there many times. Good food, service and the view of the falls keep them coming back.
You can purchase souvenirs in the gift shop. Hotdogs, burgers and such are served at the lunch window near the park entrance. You can eat at a table under an umbrella or on one the many benches. The Visitor’s Center has exhibits about the geology and history of the region.
Other Nearby Activities
The area around Cumberland Falls in Southeastern Kentucky offers a lot for families who like the outdoors to do. Again, your family can camp or rent a cabin. Horseback riding is available nearby. Miles and miles of hiking as well as canoeing/kayaking can be enjoyed at the nearby Big South Fork River and Recreation Area. For a rustic train ride, try the Big South Fork Scenic Railway. Fish, birdwatch, or search for wildlife: deer, raccoons, black bear.
If you are really adventurous and in excellent shape, you can hike from Big South Fork north for 323 miles along the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail through the Daniel Boone National Forest.
I have visited Cumberland Falls many times and always leave amazed at the beauty and the wonder of nature. So if you are passing through Southeastern Kentucky on I75 and want a quick stop that you will not forget; or, if you want a wilderness adventure in rural Appalachia, then check out Cumberland Falls and the surrounding area.