A sign at the beginning of one of the trails at the Cumberland Falls Resort Park calls the falls the Niagara of the south. I have never seen Niagara, but I have visited Kaieteur Falls in Guyana. Like Cumberland Falls, Kaieteur is a single drop falls; therefore, the falls in this Kentucky State Park reminds me more of Kaieteur than Niagara.
Kaieteur is much more impressive as it is 741 feet high; whereas, Cumberland Falls is only a mere 68 feet high. What is nice about Cumberland Falls is it is close to Lexington, Kentucky, and Knoxville, Tennessee. Kaieteur is a continent away in South America in the middle of a jungle.
I have passed this state park perhaps fifty times going back and forth from Chicago to Tennessee. Knoxville, Tennessee was where I went to college, so I have made this drive countless times, but I have never stopped and visited.
I was going to pass it up again on my way to the Big South Fork. On a whim, thanks to articles by the Kentucky State Park Examiner, Patty Davis, I decided to end this unfortunate drought and have a look.
Once off Interstate 75, it was only about 15 miles to the state park. I can’t believe I have not stopped here earlier. I parked in the parking lot and was immediately greeted by the roar of the falls along the Cumberland River. Cumberland Falls is not a waterfall you have to hike very far to see.
I was immediately impressed with the power and the beauty of this waterfall. There are countless overlooks to enjoy its splendor. The park does a great job of offering different angles for waterfall gawkers to do their thing. I was definitely one of the gapers as I hit every location possible except underneath the falls and from the air.
You can also walk farther downstream and walk out among the boulders and the beach to get even more angles. When I was down at the beach I noticed another viewing area on the other side of the river high above a bluff.
I crossed the bridge and continued the waterfall adventure on the other side of the river. There is a 1.5 mile Eagle Falls trail on the other side of the river, also imaginatively called the number 9 trail. This was a somewhat strenuous hike for only 1.5 miles, so this path would not be for everyone.
I hiked this trail to get a view of the falls from the other side of the river. I then climbed the bluff and could see the waterfall from high above. This definitely was one of the most gorgeous waterfalls I have seen in the one day drive vicinity of Chicago.
The Midwest and the South are not known for their waterfalls, but this waterfall is one that should be on your radar. Cumberland Falls also boasts the rare moonbow phenomenon. The only other waterfall with this distinction is Victoria Falls in Africa.
On a clear night with a full moon the mist from the waterfalls creates a moonbow. I did see a rainbow on this trip from the mist, but no moonbow. I must return for this. Here is a moonbow schedule for the rest of 2013. Check back for 2014.
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Its amazing and powerful fall. You Can judge its power just by the sound its emitting, thanks to your video.
Jeff recently posted..Creating a Plane Survival Kit to Make Flying Easier
Thanks Jeff, it sure is powerful.
Beautiful shots. I to have passed by countless times going between Michigan and Atlanta. 🙁 Will definitely have to keep this in mind next time I’m on I-75.
Aaron recently posted..Being a Foodie, Celebrity Cruise Style!
Do it Aaron. Take a couple hours and explore this park. Great opportunity to stretch your legs for the long drive.
Gorgeous! I especially love the video. Thanks for that.
Jason’s Travels recently posted..The Best American Travel Writing of 2013
Not bad for a waterfall in the south. The most impressive one I have seen in the area.
Thanks for the mention!
I’m glad you FINALLY got to see Cumberland Falls State Resort Park; it is one of the most popular parks in Kentucky. The Eagle Falls Trail is also popular because the eassy hike has many rewards.
Thanks Patty for the inspiration. An Eagle Falls trail post is coming soon.
Goodness, I love a waterfall and these are splendid. Now, if I could just get around all the hiking it takes to get to them. 😉
Leah recently posted..Visiting Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial on O’ahu
No hiking required for Cumberland Falls. It is right next to the parking lot. You can hike downstream to get other vantage points or you can cross the river to hike up to the bluff, but the best view from the lip of the falls is right next to the parking lot.
What a beautiful set of waterfalls. Isn’t it nice to take the time to discover these treasures close at home.
Leigh recently posted..Prairie Mountain – A Year Round Day Hike from Calgary
I can’t believe I passed this place up so many times.
i’ve never heard of a moonbow before!! sounds like something that might also involves unicorns. are their unicorns in cumberland falls too, you think?
the lazy travelers recently posted..no travel required: #frifotos
I did not see any, but I was not there during a full moon. There is a full moon now, so I should jump back in the car and find out.
I love all the angles you took the photos from, especially the one between the branches. I think I could listen to/watch that video all day. SO soothing…
Erin at The World Wanderer recently posted..My #Movember #ManlyMoments Bucket List.
The park does a great job of providing trails with different overlooks. The only angle I missed was directly overhead and one from the river.
That looks beautiful! There’s no reason the waterfall shouldn’t be better-known to travelers. Glad you stopped there.
Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..Photos from Jetting Around’s 3rd Anniversary Celebration
I think most people in the area know about it, but it should be more well known to Chicago travelers as it is no that far.
That’s probably 3.5 hrs from here – I need to explore more of Tennessee – it’s got so much natural beauty.
Raul (@ilivetotravel) recently posted..An Itinerary to See the Best of Chile
Tennessee and Kentucky are sure worth a trip. There is a lot to do in both of these states if you like the outdoors.
oh Ted! i love your waterfall photos. i need to get one on one with nature soon!!
lola recently posted..Touring and Tasting in Sonoma, CA
I hope you get the opportunity soon even with cold weather approaching.
Great photo with the rainbow, but wow, nice photo through the logs / branches… that’s a winner. And honestly when I think Cumberland, I can’t help but think of the dead tune…. Anyways, thanks for reminding us America is beautiful through your adventures…
stay adventurous, Craig
Craig Zabransky recently posted..The Sunset Sunday 2014 Calendar – Chasing the Sunset
You can cross the border after your Cumberland adventure and hit Tennessee and Tennessee Jed to continue the Grateful Dead theme.