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18 of the Best Waterfalls in Kentucky

By | Last Updated : 16th December 2021

The lush green state of Kentucky is home to several breathtaking waterfalls. Some flow impressively throughout the year, one being the Cumberland Falls that is named as ‘Niagara of the South’ due to its significant size. However, you’ll find some that do not flow or reduce to a trickle during the hot, dry months. But, visitors still don’t fail to come to these spots to take in or observe the beautiful foliage and rock formations all around. While you are here, you can view it from several angles- base, top, and even behind it from the caverns. Many also feature a swimming hole where you can enjoy cooling off.

Waterfalls in Kentucky

1. Cumberland Falls

Cumberland Falls in Kentucky

The impressive 69 feet tall and 125 feet wide Cumberland Falls has rightly been nicknamed ‘Niagara of the South.’ Located within Cumberland Falls State Park in southeastern Kentucky, it boasts breathtaking views as it gushes down over the ledge into the rocky gorge with a roaring sound. Be sure to experience the mist and the spectacular moonbow it produces on a full-moon night. If visiting during the day, do keep your eyes peeled for various birds like woodpeckers, chickadees, finches, and many more.

Nearest City: About 19 miles from Corbin

Hiking & Other Activities: It is close to the parking lot. However, if seeking a long and strenuous hike, you could tread along the 2-mile trail to the nearby Eagle Falls. The state park offers many other recreational activities like fishing, swimming, rafting, and picnicking as it overlooks the Cumberland River. Camping and lodging facilities are also available here.

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2. Eagle Falls

Eagle Falls in Kentucky

Eagle Falls is another picturesque waterfall of Cumberland Falls State Park. It dramatically drops from a height of 45 feet into a rocky pool that meanders to join the Cumberland River. You can get down to its base after carefully scrambling down the boulders and even behind the falls if the water levels are not too high. Many brave souls also attempt to swim in the cold waters in the summer season.

Nearest City: About 18.8 miles from Corbin

Hiking & Other Activities: Hiking the 3-mile loop is quite strenuous with several steep points. However, you can enjoy the jaw-dropping views of Cumberland Falls, the scenic gorge, and overhanging rocks on your way.

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3. Greasy Creek Falls

Greasy Creek Falls in Kentucky

One of the picturesque waterfalls in Cumberland Falls State Park is Greasy Creek Falls that plunge over a sandstone cliff. It appears gorgeous, especially after heavy rainfall. You can enjoy swinging off the rope and jumping into the pool below during the hot months. 

Nearest City: About 35 miles from Somerset

Hiking & Other Activities: The waterfall and Greasy Creek are accessible on the way to the old 127 Bridge.

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4. Mill Springs Falls

Mill Springs Falls in Kentucky

Mills Springs Falls is a series of waterfalls that sits on Lake Cumberland. You could either go to the adjacent mill to admire its beauty or take a boat ride to get close to it. If lucky, you will witness the functioning of the water-powered grist mill that produces cornmeal. Surrounded by lush scenery, the spot is excellent for picnicking and gathering insight into the area’s history.

Nearest City: About 9 miles from Monticello

Hiking & Other Activities: It is an uphill trail requiring to climb several steps to access the mill and waterfall area. If you ascend a little further, you will also find a gift shop where you can buy cookies and bread made from the mill-produced cornmeal.

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5. Meadow Creek Falls

Meadow Creek Falls in Kentucky

Once you’ve enjoyed admiring the beauty of Mill Spring Falls, you can kayak along Lake Cumberland to reach the nearby Meadow Creek Falls. It is a hidden waterfall that is not visible while you’re riding on the waters, making it a less-visited spot. But, once you find it, you will surely be mesmerized by its beauty. There’s a short but scenic passage that leads you behind the waterfall to feel its droplets fall on you.

Nearest City: About 21.5 miles from Delta

Hiking & Other Activities: There’s no known hiking trail here. To reach it, you can boat towards the east direction of the boat dock. Many smaller cascades and other natural wonders surround the area that you can take time exploring.  

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6. Yahoo Falls

Yahoo Falls in Kentucky

One of the state’s tallest, Yahoo Falls cascades from 115-foot height within Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. It’s best to visit it during the spring as it reduces to a trickle during the summer. The shallow pool below invites visitors to wade into which it. You can also walk along the passage that leads to the back of the waterfall. While exploring this area, you might even encounter many wildlife species like white-tailed deer, gray fox, elk, and bobcats.

Nearest City: About 4.5 miles from Whitley City

Hiking & Other Activities: You will have to start your hike from the parking lot near the picnic area. It is a 4-mile out and back trail rated as moderate. On the way, you can take in the breathtaking views of the Big South Fork River, beautiful wildflowers, magnificent rock formations, and also the waterfall.

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7. Princess Falls

Princess Falls in Kentucky

Princess Falls is a 13-foot waterfall on Lick Creek within Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Though a short waterfall, it appears captivating as it cascades from a wide rocky ledge. Even when the flow is not in full force, the scenery compensates for beauty. You can enjoy its views from the overlook or have fun climbing down the rocks to get to its base. The little rock benches also invite people to have a lovely picnic here while appreciating nature’s wonders.

Nearest City: About 1 mile from Whitley City

Hiking & Other Activities: Hiking the 3-mile out and back trail via Sheltowee Trace Trail will take you to the waterfall. You can also spot another smaller cascade flowing on the same creek. Apart from this, views of the river, stunning geological formations, and lush surroundings will greet you.

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8. Flat Lick Falls

Flat Lick Falls in Kentucky

To experience peace and tranquility, you can consider visiting this waterfall within Flat Lick Falls Recreational Scenic Park. The sights and sounds of the waterfall plunging from 33 feet height into the deep pool below are truly enchanting. A refreshing dip here would be the best way to cool off in summer. With a picnic shelter featuring grills and tables, you could even enjoy your meals here.

Nearest City: About 8.5 miles from McKee

Hiking & Other Activities: A paved path through the woods will lead you to the waterfall overlook. Do carry your binoculars to see the various birds flying overhead as you tread along the way.

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9. Anglin Falls

Anglin Falls in Kentucky

This hidden gem flows from a 75-foot height on the Anglin Creek within John B Stephenson Memorial Forest and State Nature Preserve. It gently tumbles into the rock and boulder-strewn pool with spring wildflowers all around and a forested gorge elevating its beauty. Though it reduces to a mere trickle in summer, you can spend time exploring the area’s picturesque beauty, which you will indeed find charming.

Nearest City: About 9 miles from Berea

Hiking & Other Activities: The scenic hike of about 0.7 miles will lead you to the waterfall. While you tread along the moderate route, you could pause to take in the views of the encompassing cliffs and other natural wonders.

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10. 76 Falls

76 Falls in Kentucky

This waterfall on Lake Cumberland might have got its name from the nearby town called Seventy Six. It tumbles from a height of about 84 feet, boasting spectacular scenic views. Since the encompassing areas are fenced off for safety reasons, it is best to witness it by taking a boat ride along the lake for clearer and closer views. You can also swim in the cold waters by the waterfall. Many dare to plunge into the pool from the top of the steep hill, which can be pretty dangerous.

Nearest City: About 6 miles from Albany

Hiking & Other Activities: The lookout is at a short distance from the parking lot. You can spend time exploring the area or picnicking in the sheltered spot near the parking place.

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11. Shanty Hollow Lake

Shanty Hollow Lake in Kentucky

You will find a tall but narrow waterfall just outside Bowling Green in southern Kentucky. It is best to see it dropping in full flow during the rainy season. The surrounding rock formations, small caves, and greenery also provide immense photo opportunities.

Nearest City: About 18.5 miles from Bowling Green

Hiking & Other Activities: The waterfall sits at the end of the 1.3-mile Shanty Hollow Lake Loop Trail. Fallen trees, overgrown bushes, or muddy points can be obstacles on the way.

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12. Broke Leg Falls

Broke Leg Falls in Kentucky

Fed by the Broke Leg Creek, this 60-foot waterfall is one of the main attractions of eastern Kentucky. It provides a spectacular view as it flows into the forested gorge. You can climb down it to get to the cavern behind the waterfall to experience it from a different angle. However, you’ll have to maintain caution while traversing along the slippery paths here. Don’t forget to bring your lunch box as this spot would be ideal for picnicking.

Nearest City: About 10 miles from Frenchburg

Hiking & Other Activities: Though a short trail, you will have to scramble rocks and hike along steep paths. You can also bring along your dogs here.

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13. Bad Branch Falls

Bad Branch Falls in Kentucky

This waterfall plunges 60 feet over a sandstone cliff into a wooded gorge within Bad Branch State Nature Preserve in Letcher County. Giant hemlock pines and several rock formations all around make it a sight to behold. You can even spend time exploring the nearby natural wonders, including rocky creeks, rock faces, and so on.

Nearest City: About 4 miles from Eolia

Hiking & Other Activities: Hikers enjoy the challenging hike of about 6 miles (out and back). It is mostly rocky, with several elevation gains and exposed roots. You can hike further to the crest of the Pine Mountains following this trail.

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14. Torrent Falls

Torrent Falls in Kentucky

Torrent Falls is one of the state’s tallest seasonal waterfalls sitting on the Middle Fork of the Red River on private property. You can stay in the cabins to get access to the beautiful cascade. It is also a favorite spot among rock climbers that features a climbing wall. With various wildflowers blooming along the creek during the spring season, you will surely be lost in the views as you hike to the waterfall.

Nearest City: About 11 miles from Campton

Hiking & Other Activities: You’ll find two trails leading to this waterfall. The first one traverses under a rock shelter, and the other runs along the creek to its base.

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15. Town Creek Falls

Town Creek Falls in Kentucky

Very few people know about this waterfall, making it a serene place to visit and enjoy nature all by yourself. The creek meanders over rocks and boulders, creating smaller cascades before finally dropping 50 feet into the pool below. You can wade or sit back and dip your feet here while soaking in the scenery.

Nearest City: About 3 miles from Monticello

Hiking & Other Activities: With some steep inclines and declines, the trail will bring you to the dam from where the waterfall cascades. You will also find another track that will take you to its base.

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16. Honeymoon Falls

Honeymoon Falls in Kentucky

Honeymoon Falls is the tallest waterfall in Pine Mountain State Resort in southeastern Kentucky. With such awe-inspiring lush surroundings, it was earlier a favorite honeymoon destination, due to which it earns the name. There’s a cavern behind the falls that you can access to witness it from a different angle. If tired, you can sit by the waters while dipping your feet and enjoying your lunch.

Nearest City: About 6 miles from Pineville

Hiking & Other Activities: The scenic loop trail is about 1.5 miles long, having some steep and rugged sections that make the hike moderate in difficulty level. However, you will be treated with views of rhododendrons and a mountain stream along the way.

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17. Dog Slaughter Falls

Dog Slaughter Falls in Kentucky

Despite its oddly sounding name, this waterfall is gorgeous and well known, located in Daniel Boone National Forest. Though it is merely 15 feet in height, it does not dry up during the hot seasons, making it an all-year-long visiting spot. The crystal clear pool below is a hotspot for swimming. You can also enjoy sunbathing or picnicking in the little sandy area here.

Nearest City: About 17 miles from Corbin

Hiking & Other Activities: The 1.2-mile trail runs along Dog Slaughter Creek and will lead you to the waterfall. It boasts scenic views of rhododendrons and hemlock forests all the way. You can continue further as the path joins the Sheltowee National Recreation Trail, finally ending at the Cumberland River.

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18. Tioga Falls

Tioga Falls in Kentucky

Tiago Falls is another tallest waterfall in Kentucky, consisting of multiple smaller drops as it tumbles down from 130 feet in height. It drains into a rock-strewn pool after flowing down Mulldraugh’s Hill.To access the waterfall, you will have to cross a rail track section which is a part of the ‘Bridges to the Past’ that traverses through the area. However, do keep in mind that since this spot lies within the military training area, the waterfall might not be accessible every time.

Nearest City: About 4 miles from West Point

Hiking & Other Activities: The trail to Tioga Falls is about 2 miles long. It is of moderate difficulty due to some steep inclines and muddy paths. Wearing hiking shoes is an excellent option to traverse along the trail.

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Best Waterfalls for Hiking: Bad Branch Falls, Honeymoon Falls, Dog Slaughter Falls

Best Waterfalls for Swimming: Flat Lick Falls, Dog Slaughter Falls, 76 Falls

Best Waterfalls for Camping: Cumberland Falls,

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