Nature Spotlight – Cummins Falls

Nestled in the heart of Tennessee, Cummins Falls State Park is a breathtaking example of natural beauty and a beloved destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Covering roughly 282 acres, the park is located just a short drive from Cookeville in Jackson County and offers visitors a variety of ways to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, including the opportunity to swim at the base of massive waterfalls.

The park’s namesake, Cummins Falls, is undoubtedly its main attraction featuring a stunning 75-foot waterfall that cascades into the river below. The experience creates a postcard-worthy sight, mesmerizing visitors year-round.  

The River Trail, a moderately challenging hike that leads to the falls and ends with breathtaking views, includes the unforgettable experience of wading through the river itself (visitors are encouraged to wear proper footwear for water crossings), adding an element of excitement and adventure to the hike.

Note: ‘Gorge Access Permit’ is required to trek to the base of the falls, but multiple overlooks are available to visit with no permits needed.

Not all hikes are as difficult as the River Trail, as the park’s paths are designed to accommodate multiple skill levels. Those seeking a more leisurely experience will connect with the Woodland Trail as it provides an idyllic walk through serene wooded areas. And, for the riverscape lover, the Caney Fork Overlook Trail is a great option as it offers panoramic views of the Caney Fork River Valley below.

Beyond trails, Cummins Falls includes access to the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River, a popular spot for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing that allows visitors to encounter the water in a whole new way.

Note: Experienced paddlers can explore the more challenging whitewater stretches downstream, while novices can enjoy a relaxing float.

In addition to the wide array of aforementioned activities, camping is another highlight of Cummins Falls, providing visitors the chance to further engage with the wonder of the park by spending a night under the stars.

So, whether you are an avid hiker, a water sports enthusiast, or are simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Cummins Falls State Park is a ‘must-add’ to your itinerary in 2023.

For more information, including permits, go to:

– by Shan Stout, Director of Tourism, Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors Bureau, photos by Brooke Turner


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