Eagle Falls

Daniel Boone National Forest / McCreary County, Kentucky, USA

Rating: 1     Difficulty: 2.5
Eagle Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Eagle Falls is a light-flowing and short 44ft waterfall adding its output to the Cumberland River at its west bank just downstream of Cumberland Falls.

It's certainly an easily overlooked waterfall thanks to its tendency to be a follow-up act to its larger neighbor. Thus, to appreciate this falls, one really has to be able to manage expectations and take it for what it is. After all, you can't really compare the two falls so why bother with comparisons?

Nonetheless, what motivated us to hike Trail 9 (i.e. this trail to this waterfall) was the opportunity to get different views of Cumberland Falls that we couldn't get from its more touristed east bank. As we did the trail, we also realized that it was meandering beneath overhanging rocks, hugging ledges, and affording us panoramic views of the scenery across the gorge

Perhaps that was why we saw a large sign at the trailhead proclaiming this trail to be voted the best trail in the state of Kentucky. We're not so sure about that bold assertion, but we were certainly glad we did it.

The trail to the Eagle Falls and back was said to be 3 miles round trip (1.5 miles each way). It wasn't the easiest trail because of its tendency to undulate in addition to being an upside down hike (i.e. going downhill to get to the falls then going back uphill to get back to the car park). And although there was also the option of extending this hike into a longer loop, but we didn't do that option.

Most of the scenic overlooks revealing the gorge as well as the Cumberland Falls was past the loop trail connectors (always staying right to remain on the main waterfall trail). When we got to river level, at which point we were very close to the falls, it was said that during flood, this section of trail could be flooded. That probably explained why the trail degenerated into almost a boulder scramble with some boulders containing colored paint as trail indicators.

The overall time we took to do this hike plus take pictures was about 1 hour 20 minutes.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

View of Cumberland Falls from Trail 9View of Cumberland Falls from Trail 9
On the same day we visited Eagle Falls, we had also visited the Natural Arch of Kentucky, which was around an hour or so further to the westOn the same day we visited Eagle Falls, we had also visited the Natural Arch of Kentucky, which was around an hour or so further to the west
The trailhead along Hwy 90The trailhead along Hwy 90

The best trail in Kentucky?The best trail in Kentucky?

Hiking along the mostly concealed Cumberland RiverHiking along the mostly concealed Cumberland River

Julie had to duck her head in some parts of the trailJulie had to duck her head in some parts of the trail

Stay right at these connectorsStay right at these connectors

Going underneath some overhangsGoing underneath some overhangs

Markings on trees indicating we're on Trail 9Markings on trees indicating we're on Trail 9

The other end of the loop trail connectorThe other end of the loop trail connector

Julie descending steps to get down to the river levelJulie descending steps to get down to the river level

A rough part of the trail probably due to history of flooding hereA rough part of the trail probably due to history of flooding here

Using markings on these boulders as trail markersUsing markings on these boulders as trail markers

Another look at Eagle FallsAnother look at Eagle Falls

The section of trail with a view of Cumberland Falls as we headed backThe section of trail with a view of Cumberland Falls as we headed back

It's all uphill on the way backIt's all uphill on the way back

Almost back at the trailheadAlmost back at the trailhead


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Right to left sweep following the stagnant pool at the base of the falls before panning up to see the eagle falls itself


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

The Eagle Falls trailhead is just 0.3 miles west of the road bridge tranversing the Cumberland River right off the Hwy 90. This bridge is also almost adjacent to the far side of the Cumberland Falls car park. For directions on getting to Cumberland Falls car park, please see that page for directions.

There is more parking on the north side of the road (on the right when going west), though there was some very limited parking space across the road on the south side. Parking at the trailhead was very limited during our visit so we actually had to wait to do this hike until late afternoon when fewer people were on this trail.

If parking is difficult to find, I suppose it's not unrealistic to walk the additional 1/2-mile from the Cumberland Falls car park to the Eagle Falls trailhead (tacking on an additional round-trip distance of one mile).

Finally, for a bit of context, Williamsburg (the nearest town where we stayed) was 70 miles (over an hour drive) north of Knoxville, Tennessee, 183 miles (3 hours drive) northwest of Asheville, North Carolina, and 103 miles (over 90 minutes drive) south of Lexington.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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RELATED PAGES



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