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back at Cumberland Falls towards dusk
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
Closest available address
Park is located 19 miles southwest of Corbin, Kentucky
Park is open 24 hours.
Best time to visit
Summer, Fall, Spring
The Niagara of the South
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park was established in 1931 and has 1,657 acres. The park is located in the Daniel Boone National Forest of eastern Kentucky. The namesake Cumberland Falls is the main attraction, and it can generate a rare moonbow each month when moonlight forms the lunar equivalent of a rainbow. The park also has a lodge with a restaurant, pool and tennis courts. Park activities include hiking, horseback riding, camping and picnicking.
The falls became a well-known and admired state landmark in the 1800s. A threat came in the 1920s when a hydroelectric dam was proposed above the falls. In 1927 Coleman du Pont offered to purchase the falls for use as a park. He did not live to see the park’s establishment, but his wife was able to acquire the falls and 593 acres and conveyed the land to the state. The Civilian Conservation Corps then built many park facilities.
Referred to as the Niagara of the South, Cumberland Falls is a sight to see at 65 feet high and 125 feet wide. After a heavy rain the falls are even more impressive. However, the river can overflow its banks at such times and flood some trails, which is exactly what happened during the first visit in September. While hiking was the primary reason to visit, seeing a moonbow was the main reason to return. There was a faint moonbow in December, but it was oh so cold to view. Even with a bonfire that night the temperature was still freezing so catching a moonbow in summer is a better option. While it’s famous, the moonbow was not especially notable. As for hiking, the 9 Trail worked well as a 1.5 mile moderate hike with good views of both the river and the falls. The lodge itself is a bit dated but has a certain rustic charm, and the staff was very pleasant. Cumberland Falls is one of those natural wonders that you should check off your bucket list when in the area. If you can time your visit for a moonbow, you can check the list again but don’t expect to find a pot of gold.
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