The eastern part of Kentucky – the Bluegrass State – is the Appalachians, so not surprisingly, the best of the state’s waterfalls are located there. Many of Kentucky’s waterfalls are seasonal and springtime is certainly the best time to see them. The alternative is after heavy rain in the fall.
They are generally set in beautiful areas, so if the waterfall is dry when you pay a visit, often other things compensate. A road trip in Kentucky is definitely an adventure; if you are planning one, here are 15 Amazing Waterfalls in Kentucky to help you decide on your route.
1. Cumberland Falls, Cumberland Falls State Park
The most impressive waterfalls are those that have genuine volume.
Cumberland Falls has earned the nickname ‘’The Niagara of the South’’ precisely because of the volume of water dropping over the sandstone – 3,600 cubic feet.
The falls are 68 feet high and 125 feet wide and make a most impressive sight and sound.
They are arguably even more impressive at night time when there is a full moon; the mist produced often creates a spectacular moonbow.
2. Eagle Falls, Cumberland Falls State Park
Whilst not as large as Cumberland Falls, Eagle Falls are most impressive, especially in the springtime.
The flow drops markedly through summer unless there has been heavy rain.
They are 44 feet high with the water pouring down into a rocky cove.
The setting is beautiful, as is every step of the 1.5-mile trail you take to reach them.
The location is Daniel Boone National Forest and the walk is not too strenuous, so active kids will enjoy it.
The State Park is open year-round.
3. Greasy Creek Falls, Cumberland Falls State Park
It is easy to miss the sight of a cascade beyond the third bridge on Greasy Creek simply because of the Cumberland and Eagle Falls’ presence.
It would be a shame because there is more to see than those two ‘’giants.’’
They are more impressive for their ‘’spread’’ than the distance the water actually falls.
In the spring, the flow is fairly strong, though it diminishes as the months go by before the rains return.
They have often been referred to as ‘’delightful falls,’’ though that name is just opinion at present.
4. Mill Springs, Cumberland Falls State Park
These falls which drop into the lake are a challenge to photograph but provide lovely images for those that succeed.
The average drop is around 30 feet and when the park starts to attract visitors in the spring, they are at their best.
Two of the best alternatives to take that photo from are behind the nearby mill or by approaching the falls in a boat on the lake.
Whichever you try, they are a lovely sight.
A third option is to walk off the trail to get down to the lakeside, but if you attempt that, you must take care.
5. Meadow Creek Falls, Cumberland Falls State Park
The main falls are seasonal but there is also a series of cascades above them to enjoy once you head on from Mill Springs.
The cascades vary in drops of between 3 and 6 feet and stretch back many hundred feet from the falls.
At their best, the falls are 35 feet of powerful water, which can be viewed either from within the cascades or below.
Obviously, you need to take care of slippery stones if you venture close to get the best pictures.
Get there in spring.
6. Yahoo Falls, Daniel Boone State Forest
At 113 feet, Yahoo Falls are the tallest in the state.
The trail that includes the falls is a one-mile loop and you can get behind and above them.
The cave behind the falls is huge.
Spring is a lovely time to visit because once summer arrives, there may only be a trickle of water.
Indeed, the creek starts as a trickle year-round but it is soon transformed in spring.
While Cumberland Falls gets most of the publicity, you should make sure you see Yahoo and decide for yourself which is the better one.
7. Princess Falls, McCreary County
This waterfall on Lick Creek in Daniel Boone National Forest is thought to have got its name from a Native American princess – Cornblossom of the Cherokee tribe.
If you follow the Lick Creek Trail, you will find a few good vantage points for a photograph.
They are almost 3.5 miles from the start of the trail; there you will reach the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail that runs beside the Big South Fork River.
The forest is especially beautiful when all the flowers are in bloom.
Dogs are allowed, but only on a leash,
8. Flat Lick Falls, McKee
These falls are among the least known in Kentucky yet they offer lovely views.
It’s a great place for a picnic.
They lie about seven miles south of McKee in a region that is perfect for camping and hiking.
There is rarely a huge amount of water cascading down, but the setting – surrounded by greenery – makes for a lovely photograph.
An improved visitor infrastructure is in progress, with viewing platforms providing different vistas of the falls.
You can park nearby and basic camping is available.
9. Anglin Falls, McKee
Anglin Falls is located in the John B Stephenson Memorial Forest and State Nature Preserve.
At 75 feet high, they make an impressive sight in the spring, but even later in the year, you will enjoy the visit if you are interested in botany.
It does tend to be a bit of an adventure to get to the falls, but that is often part of the fun of seeking out waterfalls.
Ask the locals for Hammonds Fork Road and take a left near an old post office, then the first right, and you are there.
10. 76 Falls, Albany, Clinton County
Some say the name of these Falls on Indian Creek comes from their height as the water plummets into Lake Cumberland.
The falls were even higher before the creation of Cumberland Lake in the 1950’s, so there is surely another explanation? The scenic walk, the falls, and a picnic make a great day out – very relaxing.
You can kayak on the lake and go right up to the falls.
It is important to be careful if you want to get closer on land because people have slipped there in the past.
11. Shanty Hollow Lake, Bowling Green
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Sunday’s adventure was to a magical place where wildflowers were blooming on giant limestone rocks amid an ancient karst landscape. The afternoon sun filtering through the fresh spring leaves was gloriously reminiscent of a fairyland. DSLR pics will be posted to soulgazephoto.com sometime this month. Bookmark it! 🙂
The Shanty Hollow Lake hiking trail just north of Bowling Green is fun year-round and that is good news for those wanting to see the local waterfall.
Unlike many others in Kentucky, it is at its best in winter – from November to the end of April.
The tall and narrow waterfall is located at the end of a canyon.
It is a place that is fairly accessible for families and therefore popular, especially at weekends.
Sadly, the area is getting a reputation as a place that many seem to leave their trash when they go.
12. Broke Leg Falls, Menifee County
The sight of these 60-foot falls dropping into a pool on Broke Leg Creek is stunning and makes for a great photograph.
Best described as a narrow ribbon of water, these falls are easy to reach via steps from the parking lot.
A new highway has meant the falls are further away from the area’s busy traffic.
Do not try any route down other than the steps because all are slippery – perhaps that is where the name came from? A small bridge crosses the creek below the falls, offering a variety of different views.
13. Bad Branch Falls, Whitesburg
These falls – just eight miles from Whitesburg in Eolia – can be combined with a visit to see Kentucky’s only pair of nesting ravens.
The Nature Preserve carrying their name covers a little over 2,500 acres.
The trail of almost six miles is open to the public year-round.
It is a great place for hiking and checking out the flora and fauna.
The falls are close to the beginning of the trail and beginners should know that there are some uphill sections later on.
14. Torrent Falls, Campton
Torrent Falls and Red River Gorge make for a great day out.
Visitors will enjoy beautiful scenery and the place has become very popular with rock climbers.
Red River Gorge is arguably the most popular spot for adventurers in the whole of Kentucky.
It is certainly a place for rock climbers, but if you just want to see the falls, you can do that without much trouble.
The most water is seen around springtime but the colors of the leaves in the fall attract many visitors; after some autumn rain, the falls revive as well.
15. Town Creek Falls, Monticello
These falls seem to be the exclusive domain of the locals; few others know they are there.
They are truly stunning.
Once you have parked, go up over a hill and you will see some standing water.
Don’t be put off – continue down the hill to the right and you will see the falls, which begin at a dam.
On the upper section, there are several cascades before the creek’s slopes steepen with a 50-foot drop.
The trail continues to the base of the falls.
It is likely to take more than one photograph for you to capture them all.