Cummins Falls State Park is located just minutes from Cookeville TN and is one of the many family-friendly local adventures enjoyed by its residents! As the weather warms up and the trees are in bloom, I have cabin fever! It’s time to get out and about, ya’ll!! You really must visit Cummins Falls State Park!
The centerpiece of the park is Cummins Falls, a picturesque waterfall that drops 75 feet over a series of stairstep rock ledges into a pale-green plunge pool that’s been rated one of the 10 best swimming holes in the U.S. by Travel and Leisure magazine. The falls are located nine miles north of Cookeville on the Eastern Highland Rim, a region in Middle Tennessee known for its caves and scenic rivers. The address is 390 Cummins Falls Lane Cookeville TN but it is in Jackson County, not Putnam.
From the parking lot, it’s a short walk (less than half-a-mile) along a gravel road to the overlook at the edge of the enormous gorge carved by the falls. From the overlook, it’s 1.2 miles to the bottom of the gorge. After the trail reaches the bottom of the gorge, it’s .6 miles upriver to the falls. This portion of the hike requires wading in ankle deep or knee deep water. Wear good waterproof hiking shoes. No flip flops, trust me!
As you approach the plunge pool at the base of Cummins Falls, you’ll be hopping over boulder-sized steppingstones. The falls are as wide as they are tall. The river drops in a series of cascades, and the sound of rushing water echoes off the limestone cliffs that line the top of the forested, bowl-shaped amphitheater. It’s really a site to see for the adventurous spirit to hike to the bottom.
What goes down, must haul itself up! It’s a great workout and beats the treadmill, that’s for sure!! Use great caution with small children and dogs that don’t like water like my Gracie, bless her heart!
The park is open daily from 8 a.m. till sunset year round. Overnight camping is prohibited. For directions to Cummins Falls State Park, visit the park’s web site at: tn.gov/environment/parks/CumminsFalls
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SOURCES: knox.news.com & tnstateparks.com