Chasing Waterfalls

Amanda Harper


Though TLC warned us not to, we can’t help but seek out the incredible beauty of these natural water features...
Did you know that our natural area is home to over 800 waterfalls? If you’re looking to take a hike through our state’s natural splendor, plan to visit one of the seventeen most spectacular waterfalls along The Kentucky Wildlands Waterfall Trail.

The most famous waterfall in all of Kentucky is probably Cumberland Falls (pictured on previous page). Known as the “Niagara of the South,” this impressive sight is absolutely unforgettable—every second, over 3,600 cubic feet of water spills over the edge. Aside from the remarkable power of the falls, the natural beauty surrounding it is worth seeing. The falls are also home to the rare phenomenon known as a “moonbow,” a rainbow created by moonlight. Only two sites in the world naturally create this impressive effect. Special hikes happen on the nights of moonbows, so be sure to visit for more details.

The state’s tallest waterfall is Yahoo Falls in the Big South Fork area. This narrow waterfall cascades down one of the area’s largest rock houses. You can walk all around the falls and take in some impressive views. The moderate hike is fairly short, making it a great trek for anyone who wants a little challenge. While you’re in the area, check out the Big South Fork Scenic Railway.

Arguably the most beautiful one in Kentucky is located in the Red River Gorge area. Creation Falls features a stepped waterfall that spills into a shallow pool that families love to wade in. You’ll see the famous rock bridge and some spectacular natural areas along the trail. Red River Gorge offers tons of hiking, history and outdoor fun.

Want to go chasing waterfalls? They tend to be most impressive a day or two after a steady rain. This will mean that the trail may be slick or muddy, and tree limbs may have fallen. Hiking during the rainfall poses a bit of danger; water levels may rise unexpectedly, even flooding some low-lying areas of the path.

Research any trail before you attempt it. Even some short, relatively easy trails could present challenges for someone in your party. Be sure to note the GPS coordinates of the trailhead and get a map of the trail if one is available. Bring lots of water and a snack. Always wear footwear with good traction, as waterfall trails tend to be slippery. If you’d like to bring your dog, be sure whether that’s allowed. Never jump off of waterfalls and don’t leave marked trails.

  • Anglin Falls | Mount Vernon | Rockcastle County | Moderate 1.7-mile out-and-back hike, mostly uphill
  • Bad Branch Falls | Whitesburg | Letcher County | 60-foot waterfall, moderate one-mile trail
  • Copperas Falls | Clifty Wilderness | Wolfe County | 40-foot waterfall, challenging 3.1-mile out-and-back trail
  • Creation Falls | Wolfe County | Family-friendly plunge pool, moderately challenging 1.4-mile out-and-back trail
  • Cumberland Falls | Whitney and McCreary Counties | 68’ tall and 125’ wide, easy access from parking lot, site to one of two moonbows in the world
  • Dog slaughter Falls | Corbin | Moderately challenging 2.4-mile out-and-back trail
  • Eagle Falls | Whitley City | McCreary County | 44-foot waterfall, 1.5-mile trail
  • Flat Lick Falls | Gray Hawk | Jackson and McKee | 33-foot waterfall, wading pool, easy 1-mile loop trail
  • Jenny Wiley Falls | Staffordsville | Johnson County | 0.9-mile trail, lots of history
  • Lick Falls | Grayson Lake State Park | 3-mile looped trail, accessible by paddling
  • Mill Springs Falls | Mill Springs | Wayne County | Double falls, fully operational mill, paved but steep trail
  • Pine Island Double Falls | London | Double waterfall, 1.4-mile trek
  • Princess Falls | Whitley City | McCreary County | Relatively easy trail
  • Seventy-Six Falls | Clinton County | Well-maintained trail
  • VanHook Falls | London | 5-mile out-and-back trail, several waterfalls along trail
  • Whittleton Branch & Whittleton Arch Falls | Slade | Easy 5.25-mile out-and-back trail, walk behind the falls, natural arch
  • Yahoo Falls | Whitley City | McCreary County | 113-foot waterfall (state’s tallest), moderately easy 5-mile out-and-back trail

To Learn More: 

To locate the beautiful waterfalls along The Kentucky Wildlands Waterfall Trail, visit!