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Cumberland Falls, Kentucky

Cumberland Falls

Known as the "Niagara of the South," the thundering waters of Cumberland Falls are 65 feet high and 125 feet wide. When the Cumberland River is at flood stage the width of the falls can quickly expand to 300 feet.

Cumberland Falls is dramatic day or night. But it's only at night during a full moon that you can see the Moonbow, a phenomenon said to only be duplicated at Victoria Falls in Africa. Although the first permanent European settlers at Cumberland Falls did not arrive until 1850, people have inhabited the area for thousands of years. Native Americans lived here as long as 10,000 years ago and made their home in rock shelters at the base of the cliffs that line the river. As early as 1650, Shawnee, Cherokee, Chickasaw and the Creek nations visited often and used the area for hunting camps.

Most visitors see, hear and feel the mist from the Cumberland Falls from behind the protective railings, above and below Kentucky's largest waterfall.  Then there are those who hop into a raft and feel the falls' power just downriver from its dramatic drop as they embark on a white water rafting trip on the Cumberland River. The first five miles of the guided trip are white water.  At mile five, the Cumberland Star riverboat appears and takes paddlers aboard for the rest of the five-mile downriver cruise to where the river meets a lake.  Lunch is served from a full-size canoe that's been fashioned into a buffet. 

For the full Cumberland Falls experience visitors must stay at the historic DuPont Lodge resplendent with solid hemlock beam and knotty pine panelling to complement the massive stone fireplaces.  Fifty-one rooms offer beautiful views and full amenities. The park's other accommodations include cabin rentals, cottages and campsites. Cumberland Falls is located in McCreary County which is known for its 40 natural arches and rock formations, 25 waterfalls and more than 100 miles of marked hiking trails. Experience the rush of whitewater on a raft, canoe or tube. From half day to multiple day trips you’ll find thrilling beginner and intermediate rapids on the Cumberland and Big South Fork Rivers. McCreary County is also home to Stearns Trail Town and the Big South Fork Scenic Railway with its spectacular scenic vistas, lush vegetation and mountain streams as it descends 600 feet into the gorge before stopping at Blue Heron Coal Mining Camp, a National Park Service outdoor interpretive site.

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