Where is Cumberland Falls State Park
Located southwest of Corbin, Cumberland Falls State Park resides entirely in the state of Kentucky. The state park is contained within the Daniel Boone National Forest. Cumberland Falls State Park contains two notable sets of falls; the Cumberland Falls and the Eagle Falls. The park also contains acres of protected forest and riparian areas. The state park is located 86 miles and about a one hour and thirty-minute drive north of Knoxville, Tennessee, 204 miles and about a three-hour drive northeast of Nashville, Tennessee, and 179 miles and about a two hour and forty-five-minute drive southeast of Louisville, Kentucky. The park also resides near several other outdoor recreation areas. These areas include the Big South Fork River and Recreation Area and the Kentucky Ridge State Forest.
How Large is Cumberland Falls State Park
Cumberland Falls US State Park covers a total area of about 1,650 acres. The park’s geography mainly consists of dense hardwood forest, riparian streams, and open meadows. The Cumberland Falls found in the park provided the park’s name and are the highest falls found in the park. These falls sit at a height of 68 feet and are 24 feet taller than the Eagle Falls found in the park. Other amenities found in Cumberland Falls State Park include a visitor center, interpretive center, 20 miles of hiking trails, and the Dupont Lodge. Sections of the Cumberland River that flow through the park have been designated a Wild Kentucky River, and the acres of forest found in the park have been designated as a State Nature Preserve.
Cumberland Falls State Park Weather
The weather at Cumberland Falls State Park changes frequently throughout the year. In the summer, temperatures in the park average between 60- and 90-degrees Fahrenheit. In winter, these temperatures cool considerably and average between 25- and 50-degrees Fahrenheit. The warmest temperatures of the year arrive at the park in June, July, and August, and the coldest temperatures find the park in December and January. On average, Cumberland Falls State Park receives around 100 days of rain per year. These 100 days of rain accumulate to a yearly average of around 40 inches. In winter, Cumberland Falls State Park frequently experiences snow and freezing rain. Yearly snowfall totals in the park average around 12 inches.
When did Cumberland Falls Become a State Park
Cumberland Falls State Park first became a state park in 1931. The park was established partly because of T. Coleman du Pont’s offer to buy the land in 1927 before a hydraulic dam could be established. Pont unfortunately passed away before he could buy the dam. However, his wife purchased the falls and the surrounding 593 acres in 1930 for 400,000 dollars. The park was established in 1931 after the Kentucky General Assembly approved the park’s creation. After a two-million-dollar renovation in 2006, the American Automobile Association upgraded the park’s rating from two stars to three.
Things to do in Cumberland Falls State Park
Cumberland Falls State Park offers visitors the opportunity to participate in and experience a variety of outdoor recreation activities. The most popular adventures and activities visitors can expect to find in Cumberland Falls State Park are listed below:
Explore the Visitor Center
Our State Park Visitors Guides suggests the visitors center at Cumberland Falls State Park is the perfect place for visitors to start their adventure at the park. The visitor center houses exhibit and displays that discuss several characteristics about the park including ecology, geography, and geology. Also, within the visitor center, there is knowledgeable park staff that can answer more specific and individualistic questions visitors may have about the park or their trip.
Join in an Interpretive Program
After exploring the visitor center, individuals who are curious to learn more about Cumberland Falls State Park should take advantage of the park’s various interpretive programs. These programs are led by knowledgeable park staff and discuss various topics relating to the park’s ecology, wildlife, and geography. Programs offered by the park vary daily and operate on a rotating schedule. A schedule is normally posted in the park’s visitor center.
Take a Hike in the Park
Cumberland Falls State Park contains over 20 miles of hiking trails that visitors can enjoy. These trails guide visitors throughout the park and reveal various ecosystems and geologic features. Certain trails in the park offer views of Cumberland Falls and Eagle Falls. The visitor center or the park’s website can supply visitors with trail maps and more information regarding trail specifics such as length and difficulty.
Take in a View of the Falls
For obvious reasons, the Cumberland Falls are the park’s most notable and popular feature. These falls span 68 feet and are quite impressive. The Eagle Falls are also located within Cumberland Falls State Park. The Cumberland Falls Trail is the most popular route visitors take on their journey to see the namesake falls. The trail is .5 miles long and starts at The Dupont Lodge.
Cast a Line in the Cumberland River
Anglers visiting Cumberland Falls State Park will be excited to cast a line or two into the Cumberland River. The river is a freshwater fisherman’s paradise, for it supports healthy populations of bass, catfish, panfish, and roughfish. A Kentucky state fishing license is required to fish in any of the park’s waters, and all Kentucky state fishing regulations apply.
Go White Water Rafting
Another popular activity practiced on the Cumberland River is white water rafting. Visitors looking to experience the sport can contact local outfitters and guides who offer tours and trips. These guides normally provide all necessary equipment and lessons needed to experience a rafting trip down the Cumberland River.
Wildlife within Cumberland Falls State Park is abundant. The park provides a home to a variety of woodland species along with a list of avian species. Species often spotted in the park include white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, racoons, opossums, black bears, wood thrushes, carolina chickadees, northern cardinals, and a variety of others.
Camping in Cumberland Falls State Park
The campground at Cumberland Falls State Park contains 50 campsites complete with electric and water hookups. The campground also contains access to showers and restrooms. Visitors looking to stay within the park’s campground can make reservations online through the park’s website and reservation portal. Other lodging in the park includes several cabins and rooms in The DuPont Lodge.
When to Visit Cumberland Falls State Park
Visitors can visit Cumberland Falls State Park throughout every season as the park is open year-round. However, most of the park’s annual visitation occurs in the summer. During the season, warm temperatures descend upon the park, and allow visitors to experience a variety of the park’s activities. Wildlife in Cumberland Falls State Park is the most active in the spring. Falls within the park are a great time to experience the season’s changing colors and temperatures.
Must Have Items to Bring to Cumberland Falls State Park
A trip to Cumberland Falls State Park will be best enjoyed by visitors who forgo a little packing and planning. The following list includes several items visitors may deem essential for their trip to the park.
Water & High Energy Snacks
While these items may seem obvious, List of Parks advises it is important to note that water and high energy snacks are two of the most important items for any outdoor recreation trip. Visitors expecting to spend an extended amount of time recreating in the park or camp within the park should bring extra supplies of water and snacks. The best snacks for outdoor trips are lightweight, easy to consume, and high in energy.
Sturdy Hiking Boots
A pair of sturdy hiking boots will be really helpful on a trip to Cumberland Falls State Park. The trails at Cumberland Falls State Park traverse a variety of terrain and can trip up even the most experienced of hikers.
Lightweight Rain Jacket
The perfect rain jacket for outdoor recreation should be completely waterproof, lightweight, and breathable. While rain jackets that possess all of these qualities can be quite expensive, they will last for years and provide comfort and protection.
Remembering all of the various equipment you need for your camping trip can be quite challenging. The best way to combat this challenge is with a camping checklist.
Swimsuit & Sunscreen
A variety of activities at Cumberland Falls State Park involve getting into or being near the Cumberland River. Visitors will want to bring a swimsuit and sunscreen along with them to the park in order to enjoy all of these activities.
Where to Stay in Cumberland Falls State Park
Visitors looking to stay within Cumberland Falls State Park have several options to choose from. The park contains numerous campsites, cabins, and rooms within The DuPont Lodge. Visitors looking to stay in any three of these options can make reservations online through the park’s website and reservation portal. Visitors looking to visit the park during peak season should make reservations well in advance. Occasionally during the summer and busy weekends the park’s campgrounds, cabins, and lodge reach capacity.
Food Near Cumberland Falls State Park
The closest food to Cumberland Falls State Park is actually within the park. The DuPont Lodge operates the Riverview Restaurant. The restaurant serves a full menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Visitors looking for other culinary options near the park can first search for restaurants in Corbin or other surrounding cities. However, cities located farther away from Cumberland Falls State Park such as Knoxville, Tennessee have larger culinary scenes.
Airports Near Cumberland Falls State Park
The closest airport to Cumberland Falls State Park is located in Louisville. The Louisville International Airport is about 178 miles and a two hour and forty-five-minute drive northwest of the park. The next closest international airports to Cumberland Falls State Park are located in Cincinnati and Nashville. The Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport is located 180 miles and about a three-hour drive away from the park, and the Nashville International Airport is about 187 miles and a three hour and twenty-minute drive away.