KY - Cumberland Falls State Park

Discussion in 'Kentucky' started by rdmullins, Aug 10, 2020.

  1. rdmullins

    rdmullins Member

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    Starting a new thread for just the state park campground since the other threads here are somewhat confusingly labeled along with the Corbin, KY KOA which is a fair distance from the park.

    We stayed here Friday evening through Sunday morning. It was almost full; there was one empty slot and it appeared to have a reservation card on it from someone who apparently didn't show up or cancel.

    This was easily the most cramped spot we've ever attempted. I strongly suspect the campground itself was laid out as tent camping originally (and there were quite a few folks in tents) and at some point they decided to gravel the pads and call it RV camping too. I may not the best in the world at backing a trailer, but usually manage. At this site there was no way. The folks directly across from us moved their truck but I still couldn't maneuver around the tree due to the way their camper (fifth wheel) stuck out in the roadway despite having the tires right up against the curb at the back of the site. I got it as close as I could to 'lined up' then unhitched and pushed it the rest of the way (neighbors helped with this step, which was nice). With our pup's back bumper touching the curb our front bunk still extended to about one foot (give or take) from the road. The back bunk hung out over the end of the site which was an adventure in itself. :-D

    Utilities were a stretch, literally. There are shared boxes and water hookups between every two spots, so if you get the spot on the right (as we did) and your hookups are also on the right (ours are) you're going to have to get creative. I've been burned before on being too far from water so I had a 50' hose I could use, but we had to pull our electric cord all the way out and it was still off the ground for a ways over by the box. One of our daughters tripped over it once. Lesson learned, I clearly need to pick up a 30 amp extension cord and store it in the pup.

    Just overall kind of an odd arrangement. We didn't really have much space on our spot after we crammed the camper and truck into it so outside time was pretty minimal.

    Pros - the bathhouse was nearby and very clean and fairly modern. There's a grocery store at the campground with the staples but it seemed to keep odd hours; I think we only managed to find it open once in our trip. As for the park itself, it's a little off the beaten path (~30 minutes or so off I-75) but the waterfall is nice, there are several hiking trails (although see 'cons' below) and most things are pretty centrally located. The DuPont Lodge is just up the road from the entrance to the campground and is phenomenal in terms of rustic 'parkitecture' with its cut stone exterior and exposed beams inside. Definitely worth a visit, and they have a great restaurant with an overlook of the river valley. The campground had a ranger on site who was very nice and knowledgeable.

    Cons - Well the camping spaces are definitely small. I don't know that I would pull our pup back again, or if we do we'll try to get a slot closer to the front of the campground. (Those sites still aren't very wide but they're deeper). You can't really access any trailheads without driving to them and there's very limited parking at those areas... which leads to people parked not quite off the side of the road and can make for a challenging drive on already narrow roadways. We only did one short hike at a trail we could access from the visitor center parking lot. Incidentally the visitor center is closed on weekends which seems bizarre (but could be COVID-19 related). There's also a depressing amount of graffiti and trash around the trails.

    So there we go. It's a nice enough place, but a little on the crowded side.
     
  2. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Well-Known Member

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    I actually really like this campground. As you say, some of the sites are pretty tight, but the short length keeps the bigger rigs away. I think it’s perfect for pop ups and single axle TTs. We were just there a few weeks ago in July, which was our second trip there in a couple years. I like the sites down by the playground the best. They’re a little bit wider and we had plenty of room in both (16 and 22). With a longer rig there are two sites up by the bathhouse that may work (it’s either 9 and 10 or 10 and 11) This was site 16 from a couple years ago.

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    The distance to the hookups unfortunately is an issue at a lot of KY State Parks where most do the shared pedestals. So I’ve learned over the years to always keep plenty of hose and cords in the pup. I will give props to Cumberland Falls on our 2018 trip though. Since I was one of the first ones there early on a Friday (it was also early in the season) the workers at check-in offered to let me borrow a 30A extension if mine didn’t reach. I had enough cord so I didn’t need to take them up on the offer. I don’t know if they still do anything like this or if I just got lucky.

    Weird Hours and closures are definitely COVID related. This is one of the most popular Parks in the state, so they actually had to keep it closed longer than all but one other park earlier this year to limit crowds.

    The best trail there in my opinion is Eagle Falls which gives great overlooks of Cumberland Falls and leads to a beautiful smaller Eagle Falls. Dog Slaughter Falls is also a nice hike but is actually outside the park in the National Forest. I still need to get back to check out the fire tower one of these days once things have calmed down and returned to normal. I didn’t want to go this last trip since it was so crowded.

    Also, no review of Cumberland Falls would be complete without mentioning the Moonbow. It’s one of the few places in the world where it happens regularly, monthly near the full moon. We caught it on our 2018 trip, but it was a little too overcast to see with the naked eye, but a long exposure on my DSLR revealed it.
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    Eagle Falls
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    Dog Slaughter Falls (no clue why it rotated it)
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