Kentucky State Park Waterfall With Other Outdoor Attractions
Cumberland Falls is one of the natural highlights of Kentucky. The nearby State Resort Park features the beautiful DuPont Lodge with hiking trails leading to the falls.
Cumberland Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the eastern United States. Known as the “Niagara of the South”, Cumberland Falls is known for being one of the rare places that moonbows are visible when the full moon is in the sky.
Cumberland Falls State Resort
The nearby Cumberland Falls State Resort Park is the perfect place to stay when visiting the falls. Featuring the historic DuPont Lodge, along with cottages, hiking trails, and other outdoor activities, it’s a great vacation destination for both families and couples.
Cumberland Falls State Park is on the border of McCreary and Whitley counties along Kentucky Highway 90. It features camping, gifts, hiking and the falls’ famous moonbow.
Cumberland Falls is found within the Daniel Boone National Forest and has been called the Niagara of the South because of its size. The relaxing atmosphere and miles of hiking trails make it a popular destination for nature lovers. The area also features several types of lodgings, hiking and horseback riding tours, and a second waterfall, Eagle Falls, to enjoy up close.
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park Features
- DuPont Lodge (51 Rooms)
- Woodland Rooms and Cottages
- Riverview Restaurant
- Campground (50 sites with Electric and Water Hookups, Camp Store)
- Fishing, Rafting, and Hiking Trails
- Cumberland Falls!
Making a Date for the Cumberland Falls Moonbow
The beauty of Cumberland Falls has captivated travelers from the days of Daniel Boone and the American Indians who knew “Cane-tuck-ee” as their happy hunting grounds. The 60-foot high waterfall spills over a boulder-strewn landscape which, when a full moon is visible, creates the only moonbow in the Western Hemisphere.
The moonbow dates are very popular at the Resort, so make sure reservations for those dates are made well in advance, and hope for a clear night! While there are hiking trails that lead to the falls from DuPont Lodge, parking adjacent to the falls is also possible. The park’s visitor center along with a concession stand and gift shop are also next to the waterfall.
Convenient observation decks provide great views of Cumberland Falls. On most nice weekends, the picnic tables and gift shop next to falls are usually filled, which hearkens to the popularity of the falls as a simple day trip in addition to a weekend getaway.
Cumberland Falls Park Area
When the wind blows just right, the mist from the falls will spray gently over the sight-seer at one of the park’s many viewing areas. One path leads to an overlook that is fully wheelchair accessible. Another leads to a sandy beach that offers a view of the falls from below.
During nights with clear skies and a full moon, the falls offers a rare look at a predictable moonbow, a rainbow that is made from moonlight hitting the mist coming from the rocks. There is usually a five-night span in which the moon is full enough to see the moonbow, and the park closes at midnight, giving guests plenty of time to watch for it.
The park also offers a snack bar, gift shop, and visitor’s center which has exhibits of the area’s history and of the plants and animals one may find in the woods. The park also has 12 trails snaking through, many of which offer different angles to view the falls from.
A popular trail, trail #9, leads the hiker to the area’s other waterfall, Eagle Falls. This 1.5 mile trail is moderately difficult but offers both a close-up view of a scenic, remote waterfall as well as clear views of Cumberland Falls along the path. The beginning of the trail is not at the main park, but is marked by a parking area on KY 90, on the McCreary County side of the river.
Two local lodges offer places to sleep, both indoor and outdoor. The park’s Dupont Lodge is up the road from the visitor’s center. It offers 51 hotel rooms, as well as campsites, cottages, and woodland rooms–rooms that are as large as cabins and offer the same privacy as cabins.
Dupont Lodge also offers wireless access, meeting facilities and a restaurant. An Olympic-sized swimming pool is available free to lodge guests, and is open to the public for a small fee. There is also a stable, where anyone 6 or older may start a guided horseback trail tour. Rides start ever hour and are $15 per person.
The historic DuPont Lodge at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park recently underwent a renovation in 2006. Its 51 rooms are gorgeous and comfortable with Southern-style decor and appointments. A large observation deck provides excellent views of the winding Cumberland River.
There are also nearby Woodland Rooms and Cottages which provide a touch more privacy than the lodge rooms. The park’s 50-site campground has both electric and water hookups, along with a camp store.
The DuPont Lodge is also host to the excellent Riverview Restaurant. The weekend dinner buffets are very popular with both guests and locals. Quality restaurants with buffets are typical of all the Kentucky State Resort Parks.
Cumberland Falls with its State Resort Park is the perfect destination for a quick weekend getaway. Families will find fun outdoor activities to keep everyone busy, while couples will find romance, quite possibly framed by a moonbow.
Also in the area is the Eagle Falls Lodge, on the McCreary County side of the river. This lodge offers rooms and an RV campground with 40 sites, a pool, cafe, and playground, as well as a close-by general store.