Kentucky is home to over 150 waterfalls, many of which are hidden gems that few people know about.
The 15 Best Waterfalls in Kentucky to visit are all worth checking out if you’re looking for a new adventure or just want to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
These waterfalls range from small cascades, like Silver Falls State Park's Goat Creek Falls, to large rivers with multiple tiers, like the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area's Triplett Falls.
There are even falls set in castles like Natural Bridge State Resort Park's Rainbow Fall or Spout Spring Caverns' Crystal Cascade.
With so many amazing locations in this state alone, there is no excuse not to see these natural wonders of Kentucky before they are gone.
1. Best Waterfall in Kentucky: Cumberland Falls
If you love waterfalls, you'll probably love to learn about Cumberland Falls in Kentucky. This majestic waterfall is 68 feet high and 125 feet wide, and it has earned the nickname "Niagara of the South." The falls spill 3,600 cubic feet of water per second, creating a spectacular roar and sight, particularly at night. Cumberland Falls also features a rare moonbow, one of only two in the world.
The waterfall began near the Pottsville Escarpment, and it retreated 45 miles upstream to form a gorge that can reach 400 feet deep. Because of this, it lost some of its height during its journey upstream, but it still carried a huge volume of water when it was first formed. Today, the falls sit between the Rockcastle River and the Laurel River.
There are a variety of ways to explore Cumberland Falls, including hiking the trails and viewing the spectacular falls from the top. The falls are not suitable for horses, but there are guided trail rides available for visitors of all ages. These guided rides cost $20 and last about 45 minutes. You can also take a rafting trip down the Cumberland River. You must have a Kentucky fishing license to fish in the river, and you can purchase a one-day fishing license online.
The waterfall also features a moonbow, which occurs when the moon shines directly behind the water. The moonbow is created by the mist created by the waterfall, which combines with the full moon to create a unique nighttime sight. Moonbows appear about two days before and two days after a full moon and can only be seen if the sky is clear. Moonbows are best viewed between dusk and midnight. The moonbow is at its largest during the moonrise but shrinks as the moon rises.
2. Best Secret Waterfall in Kentucky: Beech Creek Falls Near Ashland
The first thing you need to know about Beech Creek Falls Near Ashland is where to find it. The trailhead is on the southern side of town on Tallulah River Road. From the trailhead, the hike continues south on Beech Creek Trail, which is about 10.3 miles long. After crossing Beech Creek, you'll reach High Falls. It's over 100 feet high, with a 70-foot main drop and a thirty-foot lower drop. This upper tier of the falls is 40 feet wide. Beech Creek Falls is a favorite spot for outdoor enthusiasts in Ashland.
The waterfall is located in the Red River Gorge. It's easily accessible by car and has several hiking trails leading to the waterfalls. There are many different waterfalls here, so you can enjoy a variety of different experiences. You can even try canoeing or kayaking and get up close to the falls.
The trail follows the creek and ascends steeply above its headwater spring. The hike also goes through a beautiful hanging valley. This hike is not long, but it will leave you feeling satisfied and energized. The trail ends at the northern trailhead, also known as the Deep Gap Trailhead.
Another attraction near Beech Creek Falls is the University of Kentucky Arboretum, also known as the Kentucky State Botanical Garden. Open from dawn to dusk, this garden is a great place to enjoy the local and international flora. This garden is a beautiful, green place to walk around, but keep in mind that the summer heat can be oppressive.
3. Best Camping Waterfall: Red River Gorge
The red rock gorge tucked away between the Appalachian Mountains and the Bluegrass Mountains, is one of the most beautiful places in the state. The falls are spectacular, and the trail to them is easy to follow. The falls are accessible year-round. A one-mile loop trail offers views of the cascades, as well as a cave. The best time to visit is during the spring.
The Red River Gorge is situated within the Daniel Boone National Forest. Hikers and rock climbers love this area for its stunning rock formations and scenic trails. The scenic area is also home to some of the best camping in Kentucky. You can camp nearby or choose to hike in the gorge itself. The Red River Gorge is a great place for a day trip, and it is the perfect getaway from the city.
The Red River Gorge is home to several waterfalls, including Torrent Falls, which offers beautiful scenery and is a favorite of local rock climbers. Another waterfall in the gorge is Flat Lick Falls, which is the site of the Legend of the Gray Hawk. The gorge is also an ideal spot for picnics.
4. Best Family-Friendly Waterfall: Twin Falls State Resort Park
Located in Wyoming County, Twin Falls State Resort Park is the perfect place to explore nature at its best. It features 25 miles of hiking trails and an 18-hole golf course. The park also features a pioneer farm, giving visitors a glimpse of life on the frontier.
Whether you want to hike to a cascade or take a scenic drive, you are sure to enjoy the waterfalls in this park. You can hike to Yahoo Falls on the 0.7-mile trail, which winds through massive boulders before cascading into a beautiful rocky pool. At 113 feet tall, it's a breathtaking sight.
The Red River Gorge is another popular destination for waterfall enthusiasts. This gorge is home to many beautiful waterfalls and is one of the most popular adventure destinations in Kentucky. If you're not up for hiking, try a scenic drive along the gorge to enjoy the waterfalls in all their glory.
5. Best Hike with Kids: Breaks Interstate Park
If you are looking for a nature vacation in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, Breaks Interstate Park is the place to go. This park spans over 4500 acres of land on the Virginia-Kentucky border. You can hike and mountain bike trails, or you can rent a cabin for an extended stay.
The park is best known as the "Grand Canyon of the South." Its five-mile-long gorge is 1,650 feet deep and is home to a variety of wildlife and nature. Visitors will enjoy hiking, camping, and even special concerts and dinners. This park is perfect for nature lovers and is open from April 1 to October 31. It is pet-friendly, but guests are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.
You can explore the park by hiking, biking, or rafting. It offers more than three million visitors each year. Among the highlights are the still pools and pristine riverfronts. You can also raft down the Class IV-VI rapids of the Russell Fork River or stand on the panoramic overlooks and take in the stunning views. There are also many wooded campsites and miles of hiking trails to explore. In early May, you can also see the stunning Catawba rhododendron blooming.
6. Best Castle Waterfall: Spout Spring Caverns
Spout Spring Caverns is a cave system that includes many unique natural attractions. Visitors can hike through the caves and see several small waterfalls, including the crystal cascade. This attraction also has a swimming hole. This is one of the best waterfalls in Kentucky to visit.
Visitors can enjoy the view of the waterfall while hiking or backpacking. There are several hiking trails for all abilities. The waterfalls are a natural attraction and draw in visitors from all over. Whether you want to experience a peaceful moment or get a dose of adrenaline, waterfall hikes in Kentucky will provide a memorable experience.
The waterfalls at Spout Spring Caverns can be viewed from several angles. Some of them have cascades as high as 30 feet. You can also hike the 3.5-mile trail that hugs the cave.
7. Best Waterfall for Photography: Raven Run Nature Sanctuary
If you're looking for an easy hike, consider Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, a 734-acre city park in Lexington. This park has numerous hiking trails that lead to waterfalls and other natural features. The trails are well-maintained and color-coded, making them easy to navigate. The nature center also offers educational programs. At Raven Run, you can see the Rainbow Spring, which produces a rainbow when the sun hits it just right. The waterfalls and surrounding forests are also perfect for relaxing.
Visitors can enjoy the water at Raven Run as well as several other Kentucky waterfalls. There are several trails leading to these natural gems, but please note that pets are not allowed. Pets can disrupt the natural balance of the area, causing wildlife to react negatively. Pets also impact water quality and detract from wildlife viewing.
Visitors can take the trail to Anglin Falls, a 75-foot waterfall. The trail leads to the waterfall via a scenic mile-long hike. This nature trail leads to the waterfall at the end of a stream.
8. Best Swimming Hole in Kentucky: Natural Bridge State Resort Park
Natural Bridge State Resort Park is a state park located in Kentucky's Powell and Wolfe counties. It's adjacent to the Red River Gorge Geologic Area and is surrounded by the Daniel Boone National Forest. Its name comes from the natural bridge found within the park. You can hike, bike, or camp in the park.
The park features hiking trails, a skylift, and cave tours. It also features a lodging facility, the Hemlock Lodge, which has 35 rooms with private balconies and is open year-round. If you're staying overnight, the park has two campgrounds that offer primitive and improved sites. Reservations can be made online through the Natural Bridge State Resort Park website.
In the winter, the park offers bird-watching opportunities. There are several species of Woodpeckers and various species of Wrens to be seen in the park. During the spring, there are also many wildflowers to view. During your stay at Natural Bridge State Resort Park, don't forget to bring your camera and enjoy the views!
Natural Bridge has a swimming pool and a 60-acre lake, which are ideal for fishing and birdwatching. The park also hosts ranger-led activities throughout the year.
9. Best Waterfall hike: Falling Spring Falls
Falling Spring Falls is located in southwestern Kentucky and has a wide loop trail that leads to the falls. It is also close to a picnic area and provides clean restrooms. The waterfall is over 113 feet tall and is perfect for hiking. The trail offers a one-mile loop and a view of the cave below the falls. Visit this waterfall in the spring for the best results.
Falling Spring Falls is a popular hike in Central Kentucky. The trail is well-maintained and features multiple waterfalls. You can access the trailhead from the main road. While you're hiking the trail, be sure to visit the nearby Buck Creek State Park, which is home to free-range buffalo and wild horses. You'll also want to check out Rockhouse Creek, which features clear, gurgling water. Another short hike is to Moonshine Falls, where you can see crystal-clear water.
If you're looking for something more dramatic, Cumberland Falls is a must-visit waterfall. This waterfall sits in a gorge surrounded by fall foliage. Aside from the waterfall, this park also offers hiking trails, birdwatching opportunities, and white water rafting.
10. Best Place to View Wildlife: Buck Creek State Park
If you're looking for a place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature, Kentucky is the place for you. This state is known for its beautiful blue grass, rolling hills, and horse country. It also offers scenic waterfalls that are easily accessible for those who know where to look. Here are some of the most popular waterfalls in Kentucky. They're all worth a visit. If you're looking for a new experience, consider visiting these Kentucky waterfalls.
Located in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Yahoo Falls is one of Kentucky's tallest waterfalls. Seventy-six Falls cascades directly into Lake Cumberland and is best viewed from a boat. Bad Branch Falls is 60 feet high and is part of the Bad Branch State Nature Preserve, which is also considered one of the most beautiful natural areas in Kentucky. Finally, Anglin Falls is a whimsical waterfall that can be viewed from several angles.
In Jackson County, Flat Lick Falls is a scenic waterfall that is accessible by wheelchairs. The waterfall cascades from a wide ledge and is beautiful even when the water is low. There are benches at the top and below to relax and enjoy the view. A picnic is also allowed in the area.
11. Best Swimming Hole in Kentucky: Moonshine Falls & Rockhouse Creek
If you're looking for a short hike in the woods, Moonshine Falls & Rockhouse creek is a great place to start. The trail winds downhill next to the creek, crosses it with a wooden bridge, and leads to two small rockhouses. Then you'll continue downhill, passing through a large cut in a fallen tree, and descend to the base of the falls.
This hike is about three miles one way with 700 feet of elevation gain. It also includes a fun cable hand bridge crossing the creek. You can also hike a few hundred feet further to Asbury Cascade Falls, which has a nice swimming hole. Another waterfall worth visiting is Confusion Falls, which is about two-tenths of a mile away. While this hike is short, it is a challenging one.
The first waterfall, Moonshine Falls, can be reached via a trail on the left. It can be tricky to find, but it is worth the effort! The second waterfall, Confusion Falls, is about two-tenths of a mile downstream. Depending on the weather, the trail can be quite steep.
The other waterfall you should check out is Confusion Falls, located right next to Moonshine Falls. Confusion Falls is a tributary to Matthews Creek. The confluence of these two creeks is what gave these two waterfalls their names.
12. Best Waterfall for Hiking: Hunt-Morgan State Forest
Hunt-Morgan State Forest is a 3,572-acre tract of land in east-central Tennessee. This land was purchased by the state in 1929 through a tax delinquency sale and deed transfer. Until 1970, it was known as the Lone Mountain Section of Morgan State Forest. In 1970, it became part of the Division of State Parks. The state forest is located on the Cumberland Plateau. It is located near the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Morgan County. It is about fifteen miles west of Knoxville, and 35 miles north of TVA.
The Hunt-Morgan State Forest is a great place for people who enjoy the outdoors. The property has hiking trails, birdwatching, and other activities. You can also go mushrooming, hunt deer, and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the area. Visitors are encouraged to wear hunter orange while they're at the forest.
You can access the state forest from NY 80 or 91. Alternatively, you can also take NY 13 toward Truxton. From there, Morgan Hill Road becomes the Public Forest Access Road and takes you into the southern section of the forest. In addition to trails, the state forest has numerous hiking opportunities, as well as information on safety and regulations.
13. Best Waterfall Hiking: Clifty Falls State Park
Clifty Falls State Park is located near the Ohio River. It offers beautiful views of the river and full hookup RV camping. The park also offers Wi-Fi and laundry facilities. There are also shelter house reservations available. Regulars suggest visiting the park in April when the waterfalls are in bloom.
Clifty Falls State Park has a hiking trail that is both easy and challenging. The 3.8-mile Trail Two is mostly in the creek bed, and it passes the falls several times. Many of the inclines are similar to rock climbing. The trails also allow visitors to descend the falls and climb the Observation Tower.
If you're looking for a waterfall with a little more height and a little more depth, Clifty Falls is the place for you. Located near the park's north entrance gate, this waterfall has a six-story rock formation. During wet seasons, it flows in sheets. The waterfall is accompanied by a paved walkway.
Clifty Falls State Park is a hidden gem on the border between Kentucky and Indiana. The park has ten hiking trails that cover a total of 12 miles. The longest trail is 4.5 miles long. The park offers a lodge and a full-service campground. The park also has a swimming pool and a full-service campground. There are a variety of hiking trails in the park, and the park is a popular place to visit throughout the year.
14. Make You Feel Like You’re in Paradise: Princess Falls
The hike to Princess Falls is a great day trip for the whole family. You can take your dog with you as long as they are well-behaved and leashed. You should bring plenty of water and snacks and wear comfortable shoes. If you're participating in the GO BIG 2022 Challenge, you can earn 7.6 points for the hike.
Princess Falls is located in the Daniel Boone National Forest in McCreary County, Kentucky. You can find the park by driving south on US-27 or taking KY-92. The park is usually crowded, especially on weekends. The trail to Princess Falls begins at the Yamacraw Day Use Parking Area, which is located between the towns of Monticello and Stearns. Once you arrive, follow the signs for the Sheltowee Trace, which will take you 0.5 miles to the falls.
Another popular hiking destination in Kentucky is Honeymoon Falls, which earned its name due to the fact that it was a favorite destination for honeymooners in the past. This 25-foot waterfall is surrounded by diverse flora and rock formations. If you visit the waterfall in the spring, you'll find it very picturesque.
You can also explore Dog Slaughter Falls, which is located in the Daniel Boone National Forest and is named for its unfortunate victims - dogs. The waterfall is gorgeous, and a hike to its base is a must for any waterfall lover.
15. Best Place to Find Peace: Eagle Falls
If you're looking for a waterfall that's both breathtaking and beautiful, you've probably heard of Eagle Falls in Kentucky. Located in McCreary County, Eagle Falls is part of Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. It is a 44-foot drop that lands on rocks on the shoreline of the Cumberland River.
There are several reasons to visit Eagle Falls. This waterfall is located near Parkers Lake, Kentucky. The water from Eagle Creek falls 44 feet and lands on rocks below the shoreline of the Cumberland River. The falls' 2.7-mile (6,500-step) hike is rated moderate. This hike provides an incredible view of the falls and their surroundings.
If you're hiking in the area, you'll want to be careful about the rocks. There are some dangerous rock faces, and long falls from high places can cause death. Make sure to keep a safe distance from the edge and keep young children close. When hiking in this area, remember that falls from a high place are the number one cause of non-health-related death in Kentucky.
Eagle Falls is not far from Cumberland Falls. You can find it by following Eagle Creek. It has several areas where you can play and wade in the creek. The trail also leads to the base of Eagle Falls. While it is a steep hike down, there are stairs that make the descent safer. The trail also has plenty of boulders and sandy spots. You can even get a view of Cumberland Falls from the base of Eagle Falls.
There are over 150 waterfalls in Kentucky, and we can’t highlight them all. But if you were lucky enough to visit the Bluegrass State, these 15 falls should be on your list of must-sees.