Seventy Six Falls

Lake Cumberland, Kentucky, USA

About Seventy Six Falls


Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2012-10-23
Date last visited: 2012-10-23

Waterfall Latitude: 36.77916
Waterfall Longitude: -85.12591

Seventy Six Falls was kind of an ominous waterfall for us because we noticed three shrines or crosses that we believe commemorated loved ones who probably lost their lives here.

After our visit to this plunging waterfall (I don’t know how tall it is though I’d guess it’s around 90ft or so), it became apparent why people might have lost their lives at this spot.

Seventy_Six_Falls_046_20121023 - Seventy-Six Falls
Seventy-Six Falls

In general, waterfalls tend to be located in places with dropoffs and cliff exposure (because that’s how waterfalls get formed in the first place), but Seventy-Six Falls took the danger up another level.

Why was Seventy-Six Falls so dangerous?

It turned out that the inherent danger at this waterfall came from attempting to get a good view of it.

Without knowing any better, I just followed a trail that went down some steps from the small parking lot (see directions below).

Then, after crossing a bridge over the waterfall’s feeding creek, I ended up at the sheltered picnic area near the brink of Seventy-Six Falls.

Seventy_Six_Falls_010_20121023 - Looking towards an inlet from Lake Cumberland from the picnic area atop Seventy Six Falls (and a potential danger spot for improving the view of the waterfall)
Looking towards an inlet from Lake Cumberland from the picnic area atop Seventy Six Falls (and a potential danger spot for improving the view of the waterfall)

Unfortunately, the views from up here were not very satisfying so the next thing to do would be to try to improve upon the view.

That was where I noticed a cliff-hugging ledge right behind a fence urging visitors not to go onto this ledge with fatally high drop offs.

Further complicating matters was that there was a tree blocking the view of Seventy-Six Falls from here, which meant you’d have to go even further along the ledge in order to get beyond the tree obstacle.

And that’s where I think people have died, which is especially tragic when you consider that there’s a much easier way to experience this waterfall without risking your life.

Experiencing Seventy-Six Falls The Much Better Way

Seventy_Six_Falls_059_20121023 - The flat barricade at the overlook of the Seventy Six Falls that was way safer than the other side by the picnic area
The flat barricade at the overlook of the Seventy Six Falls that was way safer than the other side by the picnic area

From the small parking lot, instead of going straight to the sheltered picnic area at the top of Seventy-Six Falls, go on the trail to the right.

There are stairs that parallel the road a short distance before going up more steps towards a lookout with a flat concrete railing.

As you can see from the photo at the top of this page, the views of Seventy-Six Falls from this lookout were quite good.

The trail even kept going beyond the overlook, but unfortunately, we didn’t go further to see where it went so we can’t say anything more about it.

Seventy_Six_Falls_050_20121023 - Another look at the Seventy-Six Falls from the sanctioned overlook
Another look at the Seventy-Six Falls from the sanctioned overlook

Finally, I’d imagine that if there was enough water on Lake Cumberland, you could conceivably boat your way towards the side arm of the lake that led to this canyon.

I figured you’d get an unusual perspective of the Seventy-Six Falls from here, but I have yet to see in the literature anyone capturing such a view by foot or by boat so I’m not even sure how feasible that view would be.

Finally, I’ve read in the literature that this waterfall got its name from the numerical value given to the survey area that covered this region.

Authorities

Seventy Six Falls resides outside Lake Cumberland State Resort Park near Snow in Clinton County, Kentucky. Therefore, I don’t know who administers this waterfall. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, I think you can still try to visit the Lake Cumberland website.

Seventy_Six_Falls_003_20121023 - Looking at the walking path leading to the picnic area and the official lookout above Seventy Six Falls
Seventy_Six_Falls_060_20121023 - Looking down at the steps leading over the bridge traversing the creek upstream of Seventy Six Falls and ultimately ending up at the sheltered picnic area
Seventy_Six_Falls_005_20121023 - Looking upstream from the footbridge at a small cascade on the creek responsible for the Seventy Six Falls
Seventy_Six_Falls_007_20121023 - The picnic area at the top of the Seventy Six Falls
Seventy_Six_Falls_008_20121023 - We saw a pair of crosses or shrines by the picnic area at the brink of the Seventy Six Falls, which made me wonder how many people have lost their lives here
Seventy_Six_Falls_011_20121023 - The end of the fence at the picnic area above Seventy Six Falls
Seventy_Six_Falls_012_20121023 - Beyond the fencing on the narrow, leaf-covered ledge with dangerous drop offs
Seventy_Six_Falls_021_20121023 - Looking back towards the Seventy Six Falls from the dangerous ledge
Seventy_Six_Falls_031_20121023 - Context of the roots and exposed tree conspiring to obstruct the view of Seventy Six Falls from the dangerous side
Seventy_Six_Falls_061_20121023 - The alternate path to the sanctioned overlook
Seventy_Six_Falls_044_20121023 - If we didn't stand on the concrete on the sane overlook side, we got this view of the Seventy Six Falls
Seventy_Six_Falls_062_20121023 - Looking across the creek towards the shelter picnic area adjacent to the brink of Seventy Six Falls
Seventy_Six_Falls_053_20121023 - Another look down over the foliage towards the Seventy-Six Falls from the sanctioned overlook

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We came to Seventy-Six Falls from Williamsburg, KY en route to Mammoth Cave National Park.

I’m sure there are many ways of getting here, but we’ll just describe our route so at least you have a sense of how long it took us and the directions when you get close to the falls itself.

Driving from Williamsburg to Seventy Six Falls

From Williamsburg, we went about 20 miles west on Hwy 92.

Then, we turned right onto US27 (going north) and drove for about 3.5 miles before the Hwy 92 continued on the left.

We then went about 31 miles on Hwy 92 towards the town of Monticello.

Within Monticello (the nearest town to the falls, I believe), we turned left onto Hwy 90, headed west and left town as we continued for another 18.6 miles.

Seventy_Six_Falls_002_20121023 - Context of the parking area and the steps leading closer to the Seventy Six Falls
Context of the parking area and the steps leading closer to the Seventy Six Falls

We then turned right onto Hwy 734 and then an immediate right at the fork onto Hwy 3062 (Seventy Six Falls Rd according to my map).

We continued on route 3062 for another 1.7 miles to the parking area on the left side of the road.

Oddly enough there was an absence of signage for the Seventy Six Falls when we pursued it in our Appalachians 2012 trip.

We’re not sure if signs were taken down (to discourage visitation due to the tragedies possibly) or if they were never there to begin with.

But given our experience with most of the Southern waterfalls being well signposted, the absence of such signage during our visit was definitely noticeable.

Driving from Bowling Green to Seventy Six Falls

If you are on the I-65 going northeast of Bowling Green, then at about 20 miles, take the Louis B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway exit towards Glasgow (Hwy 90 I believe) and follow the Hwy 90 for about 66 miles.

The KY734/KY3062 turnoff would be on the left.

Finally, for some additional geographical 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.

Right to left sweep from the brink of the Seventy Six Falls at the picnic area


Right to left sweep of the falls from the dangerous side


Right to left sweep from as far back as I could go on the sanctioned viewing area by the picnic tables


Left to right sweep of the falls from the safer lookout across the gorge


Fixated on the falls before zooming out for context as seen from the safer viewing area across the gorge from the picnic area

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Tagged with: lake cumberland, clinton county, kentucky, waterfall, snow, williamsburg, albany, monticello



Visitor Comments:

Crosses February 11, 2017 5:23 am by H. - Actually, the crosses are for the people that have passed diving off of the falls... ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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