I went to visit my friend in Corbin and we decided to go to Cumberland Falls. Our first plan was to hike to Eagle Falls, which is near Cumberland Falls, but not as well known and it’s a 3-mile hike to get there. I was up for the 3-mile hike – I’d get in my daily exercise AND get to see gorgeous scenery!
That was the plan.
Then someone warned me about this being the time of year for snakes to come out. I chickened out because I didn’t have proper hiking gear with me and I didn’t want to take the chance of running up on a snake. Also – I’m terribly afraid of snakes and would probably have a heart attack if I saw one!
So we went to Cumberland instead and hiked down to the beach. It wasn’t a taxing hike; there are steps and handrails most of the way. The whole way down is magical, though! The trees grow so tall to get to the sun and it provides a canopy of shade for visitors. But, when you look up, you see the sun poking through the leaves and you hear birds and frogs and the water roaring in the background.
The rocks that create the Falls area are massive! Some are flat enough to crawl onto. They can provide a new and interesting angle to view the falls, or just a place to relax in the sun – a way to get off the path for a few minutes.
The beach is at the base of the falls, a bit downstream from the main attraction. It’s relatively small, but so interesting! There are lots of trees on the beach. Many of them are dead and lie tangled in each other’s branches. They are very smooth from the water’s erosion and quite beautiful in their own way.
Some of the trees are alive and seem to sit atop the sandy soil with roots exposed, yet are lush and colorful despite the root’s conditions.
The beach is where the boats are launched for the white water rapid tours. I was taking tons of photos during my hike, and when I saw the guides preparing the boats for launch, I had to get closer because the boats, their helmets and gear all provided a shock of brilliant color that looked so good against the muddy water and brown rock facing surrounding them.
There are lots of man-made ruins at the Falls, too. I was told that there used to be a snack bar on the beach that was popular in the 40s and 50s. My friend’s parents lived in the area at that time and said the beach at the Falls was THE place to be in the summer. There are still remnants of the concrete walls, steps and sidewalks that were there at the time. Those ruins have been pushed up against the natural rock formations by repeated flooding over the years. They, too, are beautiful in their own way.
If you’ve never been to Cumberland Falls, make a point to go. It’s known as Little Niagara and is the only waterfall in the Western Hemisphere that produces a Moonbow under the full moon.