This hiking trail to Eagle Falls includes gorgeous overlooks of the impressive Cumberland Falls and close-up waterfall views.
On a recent visit to Cumberland Falls State Park, we were pleasantly surprised by another nearby waterfall: Eagle Falls.
If you're in the area and up for a (moderate) challenge, make sure to visit both the main show (Cumberland Falls) and the gorgeous, quieter Eagle Falls.
This is a 1.8-mile trail with a 633-foot elevation change.
The trail can be slightly shorter if you skip the extra “Loop 9” section and just hike to the falls and back, or slightly longer if you do the optional 0.1-mile trail spur to the gorge overlook.
How Difficult Is This Trail?
The hike to Eagle Falls is listed as a moderately difficult trail. Despite being somewhat short, this trail is definitely on the harder side of moderate because it’s almost all stairs.
Six hundred thirty-three feet of elevation change is quite a bit for a fairly short hike. That said, there's nothing technically difficult about this hike.
What Gear Should I Bring?
Bring lots of water!
There are a lot of stairs, so I recommend a comfortable hiking shoe or boot. I wore these Keen Pyrenees boots.
Also note that the trail is part of a nature preserve area, and picnicking is not permitted.
Parking at Eagle Falls
Trailhead parking is limited.
If there’s no parking, you can always go to the nearby visitor center lot, check out Cumberland Falls, and try again a little later.
We did see one couple walking to the trailhead from the visitor center lot, but you would be walking on a fairly busy road with no shoulder.
Hiking Eagle Falls Trail
The trail starts with an overlook of Cumberland Falls.
This trail quickly begins to climb. Be prepared for lots of stairs.
You'll hike past the trail marker for the Gorge Overlook trail spur.
We did this at the end of the trail, but I'm not sure it was worth the effort. More on that later.
Continue on the trail. Next you'll go down lots and lots more stairs.
Keep going until you get to the Trail Loop 9 / Eagle Falls junction.
Head towards Eagle Falls.
Next you'll get to...
You guessed it! Climb down more stairs!
I kept reflecting on the Grand Canyon warning signs, “What goes down, must come up.” and "Down is optional, Up is mandatory."
Perhaps I was being dramatic.
When you get to the base of the stairs, start following the orange trail blazes on the rocks.
This part of the trail is easier.
When you arrive at Eagle Falls, take some time to enjoy it!
It's quite pretty.
When you head back, climb back up all those stairs you descended. It helps to smile as you go, and remind yourself that you did this to yourself on purpose because you like it.
When you reach the Trail Loop 9 intersection, you can either take the loop (like we did), or take the slightly shorter route back the way you came.
Trail Loop 9 starts along a creek (the creek above Eagle Falls, I think), then begins to climb.
It was a very pretty hike, and I was happy that we did the extra loop.
When you arrive back at the Eagle Falls trail, follow the signs pointing towards the parking lot.
Eventually you’ll reach the trail spur to the Gorge Overlook. You passed this trail spur on the way in.
We did this short trail spur, which has lots of steps and leads to an overlook with a small enclosed/covered bench.
This overlook mostly looks out on trees, so unless you’re hiking when the leaves have fallen, I’d probably skip it. But we did see a butterfly!
Head back to the parking lot and enjoy the rest of your visit!