You can explore Kentucky in many different ways. We have several beautiful cities that all hold significant aspects of our great state, we have the Bourbon Trail that can take you across the commonwealth to see several different distilleries, and we most certainly have some of the most beautiful outdoor experiences there are to offer in the country.
One place I had never been and one of Kentucky’s largest attractions is Cumberland Falls located within the Big South Fork area of Daniel Boone National Forest on the Cumberland River. The falls is the largest in the state, one of the largest in the region, often called the " Niagara of the South ", and it separates both McCreary and Whitley Counties, Kentucky. As part of my final Spring Break my girlfriend and I decided to embark on on a mini road trip last month making Cumberland Falls our first stop. I was excited because it was within the area that I wanted to travel to and had heard a lot of great things about. After just a few minutes of arriving at The Dupont Lodge at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, it's warm and friendly atmosphere, and awesome architecture pretty much let me know that it is best place to stay when visiting this region of Kentucky.
First and foremost when looking for somewhere to stay as an EKI ambassador, our mantra is to always to tent or car camp. However with February being a little chilly and that fact that our two dogs do not do well sleeping in the cold, we were grateful to have booked a room at the lodge. Most of Kentucky's state parks allow dogs within the lodges in designated rooms for a small fee. We all love our four legged fur friends and leaving them home for an outdoor adventure can be tough to do when we know that they love being outdoors. If you plan to visit any of the state parks be sure to call to make sure you can bring you pet. If you plan on visiting Cumberland Falls they’re more than happy to let you bring your pups and with nearly 30 miles of trails within the park your best friend will get plenty of exercise!
The Dupont Lodge is also a good central location for so many great places within the Big South Fork. We met Pamela Gibson while staying at the lodge, she is a park ranger and does trail maintenance within the park. She also does her own guided hikes throughout Big South Fork and gave us several pointers on places to go. She will be easy to find if you are up early in the morning, we found her full of energy right after our sunrise photo shoot in the lobby getting a group of people ready for the day. If you want to travel within the BSF you can find some maps at the front desk of the lobby and any of the workers can point you in the right direction.
While you’re staying at the lodge you can grab each meal of the day at the Riverview restaurant below the main lobby on the first floor. In winter months the lodge is not very busy, as it is earlier in the year and people still have not gotten into vacation season yet. If you want to bypass the crowds this is the time of year to go, while also bypassing crowds, heat, and bugs. Being early in the season the restaurant was not extremely busy and we were able to get in quickly, dine on a good meal, and have a pretty good desert.
If you’re looking for a quick souvenir there is a gift store above the lobby, though the choices of product are limited you should still be able to snag a nice T-Shirt or photograph to take home with you.
The park overall is great place to visit whether you live in Kentucky or if you are just passing through. If you’re lucky and come during a full moon you can see a Moonbow over Cumberland Falls, one of the few places in the world where they actually occur. You can also catch a good night's rest in a very nice size room that are extremely clean, dine on a delicious and pretty inexpensive meal, and enjoy the company of a very friendly staff.
I hope that every Kentuckian and visitor to Kentucky, gets a chance to see Cumberland Falls in their lifetime. My stay at Cumberland Falls State Park Resort “Dupont Lodge” was great and is most definitely a place I plan to return when I have more time to spend within the park. I suggest staying at least two nights, it’s a great weekend vacation with the family and will not cost you much at all. For more information on the park, trails, and/or to book a reservation: http://parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/cumberland-falls/ #ExploreKentucky