Planning a trip to Cumberland Falls State Resort Park? Here's what you need to know about food, lodging and more!
But, in some ways, there's one park that feels like the queen of them all. And that is Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, with its 68-foot drop and also its famous moonbow.
Located in southern Kentucky about half an hour's drive from Corbin and Williamsburg, the state park is in a fairly rural area. Wondering what to expect in the way of food, lodging, and activities? Here's what we found when we visited this year.
Attractions at Cumberland Falls State Resort
Cumberland Falls itself is the main show! The observation path to the falls has both ADA-compliant and non-ADA observation decks.
There's no admission fee to access the park or the waterfall.
This is a massive waterfall, 68 feet tall and 125 feet wide. Just spending some time on the observation deck is well worth it, especially if you find a time when it's not crowded.
Near the time of the full moon, you can also see a special phenomenon: the moonbow. It's the only one in the western hemisphere that appears on a fairly predictable timetable.
The state park website lists dates that are good candidates for seeing the moonbow. But keep in mind that weather can affect your view! You need a clear night.
Interested in learning how to photograph the moonbow for maximum color and clarity? A Kentucky photographer has written a guide!
Aside from waterfall and moonbow gazing, the resort lodge is very nice and is worth a stop for the gift shop and restaurant.
There's also a gem mining activity where you can sieve and rinse through rocks in search of something shiny.
As mentioned above, the state park is at least a half-hour's drive from any larger towns. Somerset is about 45 minutes away. We enjoyed driving up there for a meal at the Charred Oak Whiskey Grill.
But if you want to stick close to the park for everything, here are the options.
For snacking: When we visited, there was a food truck selling funnel cakes, fried Oreos, and shaved ice.
Fast and casual: Moonbow Café is an outdoor food window with burgers, nachos, pizza and ice cream.
Sit-down meals: Riverview Restaurant inside the lodge has a full menu of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and entrees. They also serve breakfast. Check the state park website for their hours.
There's also a gorgeous outdoor balcony area with tables at the lodge.
Of course, you can also pack in food yourself! If you've stocked up on a few groceries before you enter the park, you can even make yourself a basic charcuterie board like we did. Perfect for a quiet, contemplative sit by the falls.
Lodging at Cumberland Falls State Resort
There are two campgrounds in the state park: Clifty and Ridgeline.
The Ridgeline campground is for both tents and RVs; the Clifty sites are for tents only. Both have a bath house, electric and water hookups, and Wi-Fi.
A lot of the sites at Ridgeline were fairly close together. Loop 2 had a few tent spots that were more spaced out, including a walkout spot with more room.
There are several really cute furnished cabins or cottages you can reserve.
And the lodge has plenty of hotel rooms, some with woodland or river views.
Nearby Eagle Falls is a great trail, although one with tons of stairs!
There are 12 trails within the park, ranging from short and easy to a moderate several miles.
Sheltowee Trace, a long north-south route that begins in Rowan County, Kentucky, and ends in Pickett State Park in Tennessee, runs through Cumberland Falls State Park for about 11 miles. This section of it is called the Moonbow Trail.
With trail conditions sometimes being muddy or involving lots of ascent and descent, plan to wear a comfortable hiking shoe or boot. I wore these Keen Pyrenees boots.
There are also guided horseback riding tours through the summer, with horses provided from the park stables.
I hope you get a chance to experience this highlight of Kentucky's great outdoors! Let us know in the comments what you enjoyed from the park.