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, sometimes called the Little Niagara
, the Niagara of the South
, or the Great Falls
, is a large waterfall
A waterfall is a place where flowing water rapidly drops in elevation as it flows over a steep region or a cliff.-Formation:Waterfalls are commonly formed when a river is young. At these times the channel is often narrow and deep. When the river courses over resistant bedrock, erosion happens...
on the Cumberland River
The Cumberland River is a waterway in the Southern United States. It is long. It starts in Harlan County in far southeastern Kentucky between Pine and Cumberland mountains, flows through southern Kentucky, crosses into northern Tennessee, and then curves back up into western Kentucky before...
in southeastern Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...
. Spanning the river at the border of McCreary
McCreary County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of 2000, the population was 17,080. Its county seat is Whitley City. The county is named for James B. McCreary, a Confederate war hero and Governor of Kentucky from 1875 to 1879. It is the only Kentucky county to not have a...
Whitley County is a county located in the state of Kentucky. 2005 census projections list its population at 38,029 . The county seat is at Williamsburg, though the largest city is Corbin, and the county's District Court sits in both cities...
counties, the waterfall is the central feature of Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park is a park located just southwest of Corbin, Kentucky and is contained entirely within the Daniel Boone National Forest. The park encompasses and is named for its major feature, tall Cumberland Falls...
On average the falls, which flow over a resistant sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...
bed, are 68 feet (21 m) high and 125 feet (38 m) wide, with an average water flow of 3,600 cubic feet per second (100 m³/s).
Under a full moon
Full moon lunar phase that occurs when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. More precisely, a full moon occurs when the geocentric apparent longitudes of the Sun and Moon differ by 180 degrees; the Moon is then in opposition with the Sun.Lunar eclipses can only occur at...
on clear nights, an elusive lunar rainbow or moonbow
A moonbow is a rainbow produced by light reflected off the surface of the moon rather than from direct sunlight. Moonbows are relatively faint, due to the smaller amount of light reflected from the surface of the moon...
is sometimes formed by the mist emanating from the falls.
In June 2004 Tyler Mac Williams made a 7:00am descent in his kayak on the far side of the fall.
- Caudill, Harry
Harry M. Caudill was an American author, historian, lawyer, legislator, and environmentalist from Letcher County, in the coalfields of southeastern Kentucky.-Biography:...
, "Night Comes to the Cumberlands
Night Comes to the Cumberlands is a book by Harry Caudill that brought attention to poverty in Appalachia and is credited with making the Appalachian area a focus of the United State government's "War on Poverty"...
", 1962. ISBN 0-316-13212-8