Niagara Falls Southern Cousin

Niagara Falls Southern Cousin

When it comes to waterfalls, I find it very hard to pass up the chance to see one if it's somewhere close. 

 

 

That's especially true when I am traveling through Southeast Kentucky, which is home to one of the most amazing waterfalls anywhere in the Southeast.

 

 

Cumberland Falls has been a popular tourist attraction since the early 1900's. Its size and the sheer volume of water pouring over it earned the falls the nickname "Niagara of the South." Today, thousands of people a day come to relish in the majesty of this amazing natural wonder.

 

 

From the parking lot you can see the mist rising up in the distance.  Although the water is relatively calm here, it is easy to see that something dramatic is about to happen just a few hundred yards away.  Follow the trail past the gift shop and head over to the overlook at the top of the falls where you can sometimes feel the mist rising from the floor of the gorge and the volume of the rushing water can drown out the sounds around you.

 

 

 Located just west of  I-75 near Corbin, KY, Cumberland Falls State Park  is one of the crowning jewels of the Kentucky State Park system, which boasts being the "Nation's Finest."  The falls is more than a hundred feet wide and 70 feet high with sheer rock walls on one side that are even higher.

 

 

More than just a waterfall

 

 

While the falls are the main draw at the park, this is a full service resort perfect for a weekend getaway. Overnight accommodations include a lodge and cottages as well as a campground.  There is also a restaurant providing views of the Cumberland River. For the more adventurous folks, there are guided rafting trips available and 17 miles of hiking trails.

 

 

Perhaps, the most unique feature of Cumberland Falls is the "moonbow." While exact definitions of what that is vary, the "moonbow" appears when there is a full moon and weather conditions are right.  (I have been to see it only once and it was well worth the three hours to get there and back from Knoxville).  According to the park (and many other sources) the waterfall created "moonbow" is the only one of its kind in North America and most likely only one of two in the entire world. The park at one time was even home to the "Moonbow" hotel, built ride beside the waterfall.

 

 

Other things to see and do

 

 

While you are in the area, there are many other things to check out.  Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is about 30 minutes west. It is a park filled with natural arches, waterfalls, and a lot of history.   In nearby Corbin, you can eat at the original KFC and learn a little about the restaurant chain's history.  Pine Mountain State Park, General Burnside State Park and the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park are also within an hour's drive of Cumberland Falls State Park.

My name is Clayton Hensley (a.k.a. the knoxdaytripper). Born and raised in East Tennessee (with a few years in SW Virginia), I have been traveling the backroads and hiking in the mountains for as long as I can remember. Through my writing and photography, I hope to inspire people to experience places they might not have heard about before or look at familiar places in a new light.

For more than 20-years now, my wife and I have called Clinton, TN home. We have two children who (for the most part) love to travel with us. My “real” job is working as a communications director for a large church and in what little spare time I have, I like to garden, take lots of pictures, collect Coca-Cola stuff and catch up on all those shows I miss because I’m always doing something else.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons