KThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Jul. 25, 2021

Hand pick your site if you can

The sites are inconsistent between their sizes on the Clifty campground.  We had two small tents and one car.  If we had any more gear or people it would have been uncomfortable.  

I had to be careful when parking as I had to avoid the water supply, 2 trees, a safety pole for the water supply (painted brown), electricity box, and then the drop off on the other side of the road.  It did take a few turns to get in and out of the campsite.  We did have cell phone service (Verizon) at the campground.  My friend that was T-Mobile did not have cell service. There are areas in the park where I did not have a signal such as when we went hiking or exploring.  I would pre-download maps for the area on All Trails as that was extremely helpful. 

Some of the campsites at Clifty were much larger and were 2 of my site.  Each site had a water hook up, standard lantern/trash pole, fire ring, electric box, and was a short walk from the Clifty campground bathroom. If you can hand pick your site or scout it out before hand it is well worth doing that if you have a larger sized family or tent. 

I actually preferred Clifty over the main campground (Ridgeline). Ridgeline was down a long winding road.  It had way more folks.  Ridgeline is better suited for the RV and large tent crowds. Look closely as each site is rated for a different RV length and they had one pull in site. At Ridgeline they even have one campsite (tent) that was rated for 16 campers.  Generally, each site was rated for 8 campers.  Ridgeline also had some horse campers as I was able to see their horse trailers when going through the campsite. I saw 3 riders on horseback when I was driving to the camp store.  The stables are in two spots on the road down to Ridgeline. 

Taken from Cumberland Falls State Park webpage "Cumberland Falls State Resort Park is the perfect destination to introduce the family to the thrill of horseback riding. The park offers guided trail rides that are easy enough for the first timer and still adventurous for the more experienced. Riders, age 6 and up will enjoy a 45-minute ride through an eastern Kentucky forest, beautiful in any season. The stables open weekends in May and are daily after Memorial Weekend until Labor Day. Also open on weekends during Sept. and Oct. Rides start on the hour from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Cost is$20.00 per person. Personal horses are not permitted on the trails at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, but there are several opportunities to do so in the surrounding area. There are many miles of trails and several horse camps in the nearby Daniel Boone National Forest and The Big South Fork National River and Recreation area."

Clifty was smaller and quieter.  It felt like it had more trees and only tents on this row of campsites.  The campsites are close to each other as we talked with our camp site neighbors on the both sides.  When I first booked my site I knew of the difference in locations between Ridgeline and Clifty but I couldn't figure out what the difference in settings/vibe would be like and I am so happy that I had picked Clifty. 

The perk about the Clifty campsites is that they are close to the pool.  You can easily walk to the pool with your family when it opens.  The pool is free for campers.  I didn't get to check out their bathrooms but my fellow camper did and she said it was good.  I also discovered a trail and more down behind the Clifty campground.  I only found it as I noticed yellow blazes by the bathroom and followed it back to the trailhead.  Close to the bathroom is the dumpster with a home made jamming device to keep the bears out of the dumpster.  The Clifty bathroom was not ADA accessible as no wheelchair bathroom stall.  Shower wasn't accessible either if you have any mobility challenges. 

Moonbow at Cumberland Falls - We arrived early and had a picnic dinner.  The moon bow is best when the moon is high over the falls.  We were hoping to see it around sun set at 9:30 - 10:00 but we actually had to stay later.  Make sure you take advantage of the picnic tables that are near by and the bathrooms.  The best site to see the Moonbow is at the Upper Falls which is close to the gift shop/snack bar.  You can see the falls from further down at the other observation decks. We hung out there for some time to avoid the crowds at the Upper Falls.  

The parking lot will fill up as it gets closer to the time of the Moonbow. I avoided that by doing the picnic dinner and coming before sun set. The Cumberland Falls remain open till midnight as they know folks will want to see the Moonbow this is only seen at certain times of the year due to the moon.  It was nice to notice the ranger at the entrance of the park as we were leaving.  He was keeping tabs on the crowds at a distance as he wasn't needed at that time. 

Hiking - Ask for a map at the lodge as I didn't see them at the campgrounds or even signs explaining what trail 12 vs 2 was in the area.  Also, be aware that the Sheltowee trail is in the area this is a 333 mile long trail and you will see the white blaze or turtle blazes. 

Even some of the signs such as where the waterfall was for the near by Dog Slaughter Falls Trail said the falls were 1 mile away but it was actually several more miles.  I used the All Trails App and kept track of the miles on my Fitbit.  We found the Extended trail on All Trails and that matched up to the GPS tracking we did while on the trail.  We found 3 different signs for this hike in 3 different locations and each time the mileage was off.

  • This park still allows for paying with cash or check.
  • They did have a home made lock on the dumpster by our campsite.  No other bear precautions were really visible as they had the standard trash cans around the park.
  • We didn't see any bears but did keep our food contained.
  • Heads up the camp store hours are very limited.  Make sure you get there early.  We wanted to buy firewood our first night but they were closed.
  • We didn't get to check out the stables but they are on the same road as the main campground.
  • It is a shame that this has to even be posted but it is posted for folks to read.
  • The main campground was booked solid.
  • We were in the other campsite (Clifty) and they did have some openings.
  • They only had one size bag at the camp store (10 pounds for $3.00)
  • We didn't get to see the difference in the bundles.  We ended up buying wood at the lodge.  The Walmart in town did not have firewood.  The Walmart is a good drive away but it did come in handy as we had forgotten some camping items.
  • Cumberland Falls at the Visitor Center
  • Clifty campground had the one shower.  It was not accessible for those that would need an ADA shower.
  • Basic shower
  • Standard tiles and no grab bars within the shower.
  • 4 stalls in the Clifty campground bathroom.  None of them were ADA sized for those who need a larger stall.
  • 2 Sinks and the bathroom could use some slight care as you can see the crack in the picture.
  • Campground rules as posted
  • This was a bathroom that was a slight walk from the tent sites at Clifty.
  • Playground located on a slight hill above the bathroom.  Then the building beyond is the campground pool.  This pool is free for campers staying at Cumberland Falls State Park.
  • The former Dance Pavilion that you will notice is no longer on the entrance sign.
  • Trail located down below the Clifty campground.  I first noticed the yellow blazes by the bathroom.  No maps or signage was easily seen until I followed the trail to the trailhead by the first campsite on the Clifty campground/sites.
  • I finally had to ask for a map at the lodge as I kept seeing blazes and trail numbers but never a good detailed map posted in the area. The All Trails App was a slight help but didn't have these trails when I looked.
  • View behind the lodge at Cumberland Falls State Park.
  • This is the price of the firewood at the lodge which is where we purchased our firewood.  The camp store was closed by 4:30 PM and we didn't see the host.  This campground was unusual as I didn't see any locals selling firewood out of their yards.
  • Example of their firewood bundle at the lodge. The wood was a good quality and burned nicely.
  • Laundry room at the main campground. You will not see a laundry room on the tent side at (Clifty).
  • Example of a campsite that had a tent over in the main portion not (Clifty).
  • Not sure how much this is linked to having trouble finding staff.  This is something to be aware of as it is a good drive to the next town for supplies.
  • We didn't see this sign until the next day and we didn't see the host.  We moved on to other activities.
  • Clifty Campground was my favorite at this park.  It is tricky and tight as the main row of campsites is next to a ravine/drop off so you have to be careful when backing in and out of your sites.  Notice campsite 49 this is where I would camp if I were to come back.  It is alone and a nice sized camp site. Easier parking as well.
  • Ridgeline which is what I am calling the main campground.  This is where the camp store is located, camp hosts, camp laundry room, and they also had a playground at the end of the loop.
  • Near by hike Dog Slaughter Falls
  • Short video of Clifty campsites please turn on the automatic captions in your Google Browser under accessibility settings.  Campsites here do vary in size so do your homework.  Campsites start at number 40 so ignore the number 34.
    Play button icon
  • Clifty campground (Playground and information sign so you know which way to turn at the Y).
  • Pool Rules
  • Pool Hours 12:00 - 7:00 PM.  You must show proof of camping which was easy enough to do and the pool was beautiful.
  • Pool entrance has many stairs but you can park in the Handicap spot and take a side trail and entrance into the gate. I found this on my 2nd wandering around as the stairs would have been a challenge for some folks.
  • Main pool view
  • I almost missed the campground.  I knew they had two campgrounds.  Go to the pool for Clifty and then use the main campground sign for the Ridgeline on the other side of the road further down.

Report Content