Eagle Falls

Cumberland Falls State Resort Park / Corbin, Kentucky, USA

About Eagle Falls

Hiking Distance: 3 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 80-90 minutes

Date first visited: 2012-10-21
Date last visited: 2012-10-21

Waterfall Latitude: 36.84375
Waterfall Longitude: -84.34362

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Eagle Falls is a light-flowing and short 44ft waterfall adding its output to the Cumberland River from 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.

Eagle_Falls_052_20121021 - Eagle Falls
Eagle Falls

Thus, to appreciate Eagle 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. the designated 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

Eagle_Falls_026_20121021 - Contextual view of Cumberland Falls as seen from the Eagle Falls Trail above the west bank of the Cumberland River
Contextual view of Cumberland Falls as seen from the Eagle Falls Trail above the west bank of the Cumberland River

Perhaps that was why we saw a large sign at the trailhead proclaiming this trail to be voted as 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.

Hiking to Eagle Falls

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 trailhead).

Eagle_Falls_002_20121021 - The trailhead to Eagle Falls or Trail 9
The trailhead to Eagle Falls or Trail 9

And although there was also the option of extending this hike into a longer loop, 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 Eagle Falls, it was said that during flood, this section of trail could be under water.

That probably explained why the trail degenerated into almost a boulder scramble with some boulders containing colored paint as trail indicators.

Eagle_Falls_017_20121021 - Hiking beneath cliff overhangs along the Eagle Falls Trail or Trail 9
Hiking beneath cliff overhangs along the Eagle Falls Trail or Trail 9

In any case, right after the scramble, we found ourselves right in front of the Eagle Falls, which spilled over a side creek that fed the Cumberland River at the waterfall’s base.

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


Eagle Falls resides in the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park near Williamsburg and Corbin in McCreary County, Kentucky. It is administered by the Kentucky Department of Parks. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Eagle_Falls_004_20121021 - Signage at the start of the Eagle Falls Trail
Eagle_Falls_007_20121021 - Julie hiking along the mostly concealed Cumberland River towards Eagle Falls along Trail #9
Eagle_Falls_008_20121021 - Julie hiking along the base of the cliff walls, which the Eagle Falls Trail hugged along the way
Eagle_Falls_010_20121021 - Julie had to duck her head in some parts of the Eagle Falls Trail due to the low overhangs
Eagle_Falls_011_20121021 - We had to ascend a long series of steps up a side trail towards a little shelter with this view of the Cumberland River (impacted by late afternoon shadows)
Eagle_Falls_012_20121021 - Keeping right at this sign to stay on the correct trail for the Eagle Falls
Eagle_Falls_015_20121021 - Going underneath another one of the cliff overhangs along the Eagle Falls Trail
Eagle_Falls_022_20121021 - Looking back at the Cumberland Falls from the Eagle Falls Trail
Eagle_Falls_029_20121021 - More contextual look back at the Cumberland Falls from the Eagle Falls Trail
Eagle_Falls_035_20121021 - Markings on trees indicating we're on Trail 9 en route to the Eagle Falls
Eagle_Falls_036_20121021 - The other end of the loop trail connector, where we could have expanded this out-and-back Eagle Falls hike into a longer loop
Eagle_Falls_038_20121021 - Julie descending steps to get down to the level of the Cumberland River en route to Eagle Falls
Eagle_Falls_039_20121021 - A rough part of the Eagle Falls Trail probably due to history of flooding by the Cumberland River
Eagle_Falls_040_20121021 - Using markings on these boulders as trail markers to help us continue to navigate to Eagle Falls
Eagle_Falls_045_20121021 - Finally making it down to the bottom of the Eagle Falls
Eagle_Falls_049_20121021 - More contextual look from the plunge pool and base of the Eagle Falls
Eagle_Falls_059_20121021 - Context of Julie walking the section of the Eagle Falls Trail with a view of Cumberland Falls as we headed back
Eagle_Falls_060_20121021 - It's all uphill on the way back to the Eagle Falls Trailhead
Eagle_Falls_061_20121021 - Almost back at the trailhead as Julie and I walked along the west bank of the Cumberland River

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 parking lot.

For directions on getting to Cumberland Falls car park, please see that page for directions.

Eagle_Falls_001_20121021 - parking situation along the Highway 90 in front of the Eagle Falls (Trail #9) Trailhead
parking situation along the Highway 90 in front of the Eagle Falls (Trail #9) Trailhead

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 Eagle Falls (Trail #9) 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 parking lot 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.

Find A Place To Stay

Fixated on Cumberland Falls from the Eagle Falls trail with people near the top for scale

Starting with a zoom-in on Cumberland Falls before zooming out to show the context of the falls then panning over to the right to show the Eagle Falls trail besides overhanging rocks

Fixated on 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

Right to left bottom up sweep of eagle falls following the stagnant pools from the furthest right side of the plunge pool

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Tagged with: daniel boone, national forest, mcreary county, kentucky, waterfall, cumberland plateau, corbin, williamsburg, cumberland river, trail 9

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