Looking for things to do near Cumberland Falls? Here are some ideas for activities centered around this southern Kentucky state park.
Cumberland Falls is a great spot for a day or weekend getaway in Kentucky! It's the largest waterfall (by volume) in the southeastern United States, and at nearly 70 feet high, it's a pretty impressive sight.
Are you thinking of visiting and wondering what you should plan for? Here are ten things to do near Cumberland Falls State Park.
1. Walk the Waterfall Observation Path
The must-do on this list is, of course, to go see the falls! There are both ADA and non-ADA options for walking down to the observation platforms.
It's a very short walk from the visitor center, and there are a couple different levels of observation decks.
2. Watch for the Moonbow
Around the time of the full moon each month, you stand a chance of seeing Cumberland Fall's famous moonbow. There's no guarantee it will be visible, but it's worth trying for!
Here's a list of things we learned about the moonbow experience that might help you too!
3. Hike to Eagle Falls
You could call Eagle Falls the “other” waterfall in this state park. Though not enormous, it's quite pretty!
The trail itself, which is less than two miles long, has a nice overhead view of Cumberland Falls at the beginning.
This hiking guide to Eagle Falls has more details.
4. Go Camping
This state park features two campgrounds, as well as cabins and cottages. You can make reservations from a link on the official park webpage.
Camping is open from April through October.
5. Visit the Lodge + Restaurant
Dupont Lodge is a picturesque inn with solid wooden beams and stone fireplaces. On-site dining (including a buffet) is available at Riverview Restaurant. Both are open 7 days a week, year-round.
Check out the overlook on their balcony too!
For more details on some of the park amenities, see my park guide.
6. Take a Rafting Tour
You can take a rafting tour to the waterfall (a similar concept to Niagara’s Maid of the Mist).
Choose from either the Rainbow Mist (daytime) tour or the Moonbow Mist (nighttime) tour. A guide paddles the boat during this 30- to 45-minute water tour. Advance reservations are highly recommended!
7. Take a Kayaking Tour
Participants meet up outside the state park for routes on either the Cumberland River or the Big South Fork River.
8. Go White Water Rafting
If you're visiting in summer, you can book a Cumberland Below the Falls whitewater rafting trip, which brings you near the base of the falls. This is a Class III all-day trip that includes lunch. GoPro rentals with helmet mounts are available too!
Class III rapids are moderate, which are usually not overly intimidating even for beginners.
In spring, you can book a whitewater rafting trip on Big South Fork River. Their half-day trip is suitable for beginners, while the full-day trip takes on rapids up to Class IV and is more intermediate.
9. Visit Somerset
Somerset is about 45-minute drive from Cumberland Falls. If you don't stay within the state park, you might be able to book a hotel or rental in this small city.
Check out its cute downtown area, local breweries (like Jarfly and Tap on Main), and local restaurants (like Charred Oak Whiskey Grill).
10. Take the Big South Fork Scenic Railway
The Big South Fork Scenic Railway goes to an old abandoned coal mining town. It runs on select days from April through October. The train ride leaves from Stearns, which is about a 30-minute drive from Cumberland Falls State Park.
You'll have about a two-hour window to explore once the train brings you to Barthell Coal Camp, and you can add lunch and/or a guided tour to the ticket.
Back at the depot, you can also have a meal at The Whistle Stop Restaurant, which offers hearty homestyle cooking.