Cummins Falls Trail, the perfect day hike for the adventurer in all of us. Not too long. Has wonderful scenery. A little difficult to get to, but not bad enough to scare hikers away. The payoff is a wonderful waterfall whose base is one of the great swimming holes in the United States. This Cummins Falls Trail has it all.
Located in Cummins Falls State Park just off of I-40 near Cookeville. It is a small day-use only park in Tennessee’s Eastern Highland Rim. It is easy to overlook so don’t miss it. A quick trip is all a person needs to get to the falls. However, once there, the park has a way of making time slip away. Basking on some rocks, hearing the water crash, and soaking in the river water at the base of the falls has a way of doing that.
The trailhead is located just off the parking lot. From there the trail will give you two options, a chance to see the falls from the overlook or you head directly to the base of falls on the downstream trail. I recommend going to the overlook. The views of the overlook are quite nice and the trail continues from the overlook down to the base. My wife and kids went with me to the overlook and from there I continued on to the base of the falls. This worked great for us. After the overlook we split up, my wife took the girls back for a morning snack and I headed to the base.
From the overlook the trail is packed dirt and well-marked. Easy to follow, it heads downhill all the way to the banks of the Blackburn Fork Creek. Here the trail gets a little tricky. From the banks of the creek upstream to Cummins Falls is unmarked. I just looked for the easiest path to follow. This part of the trail does require some wading into the creek. During my spring visit the water never got higher than my knee. Like all hikes be cautious, only you know your limits. The rocks were a bit slippery so good water shoes and a hiking stick might be handy.
The closer to the falls that I got the more rock scrambling I had to do. Just use your best judgement on how to get there. The creek will be slippery in places and uneven in others. It is worth seeing from the base, but no view is worth getting hurt over.
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Cummins Falls Trail
Distance 2 miles RT
Time about an hour
Trail Difficulty Moderate
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