“One of the best swimming holes in the USA!”
Cummins Falls State Park is a 211 acre park located nine miles north of Cookeville on the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River. In the rolling hills of Jackson County where Putnam and Jackson counties meet, the stream gives way to a 75 foot drop. This park is located in the Cordell Hull Watershed. The forest that borders the river includes a variety of oaks, beech, buckeye, sycamore and hemlock. Woodland plants include October’s lady tresses, star chickweed, liverleaf and Allegheny spurge. The property’s long forested streamside protects turkey, quail, eagles and other birds; soft-shell and other turtles; fox, mink, and myriad insects including damselflies and dragonflies. Cummins Falls was named one of the top 10 best swimming holes in the United States in the “America’s Best Swimming Holes” article in Travel and Leisure magazine. The article reads “It’s a hard-earned scramble to the bottom that involves hiking to the overlook, wading across the ankle-deep stream, climbing up to the ridge, and using a rope guide to walk yourself down to the water. This is not a swimming hole for lightweights. Translation: expect a younger crowd. But if you’re agile (and sure-footed), the descent into the cavernous pool is worth the effort."
It is off of Blackburn Fork.
From I-40, take exit 280 to TN-56 North toward Gainesboro for 7.7 miles. Turn right on TN-290, go 0.9 miles. Turn left onto Cummins Mill Road for 2.9 miles. Turn left onto Blackburn Fork Road for 0.2 miles.
Make sure you test how deep the water is before you jump off the ledges-- but this is one of the best swimming holes in the country for sure!
20 minutes from the highway and a 20 minute hike. But it was well worth it! Swimming beneath those falls was incredible.
Great hike and fabulous waterfall and swimming hole!!! Make sure you are prepared!!! You will NEED water shoes with good grip/traction as the moss covered rocks are very slippery and there are a lot of sharp rocky surfaces and you are walking along the river/stream for some parts. You will likely want to wear a bathing suit to take a dip in the water at the base of the falls. Also recommend quick drying clothing shorts would be most ideal. You may want/need A waterproof phone or camera case or consider leaving it in the car. You may at times need 2 hands to navigate over later rocks and obstacles. The terrain is rugged but the hike is not too difficult. There is a short but steep hill to climb up at the end. Be sure to pack a change of clothes or go home wet! May also want to bring a towel. Could be difficult for kids to do independently although there were many kids along the trail doing just fine. Absolutely worth the short detour to find the place. There is also a great fruit stand between the freeway and the park. Fresh fruit/veg and reasonable price -- seasonal (limited) selection.
Really enjoyed hiking and swimming here. Couldn't have asked for better weather or nicer people along the trail. Wear good hiking shoes.
Even if you don't want to hike down and swim, the view from the overlook is worth the visit!
I'm only giving this 3 stars as the falls were closed off due to a recent death. As of now you cannot swim or go down to the base of the falls but there are still some good small hikes to do and some small neat features. Picnic tables all around for eating, bathrooms, water fountains, a grape wine from the local winery where you can try grapes. Overall a decent hour trip around but hoping they open the falls back up soon. The younger park ranger staff was a bit too serious and seemed to be flaunting his authority as well but overall a good experience.
What a great place to take the kids!!!! Water shoes are a must and be careful the rocks are super slippery. The hike to get to the falls is long and strenuous especially the way back up hill. This past summer was our first time at Cummins Falls state park and we will definitely go back
I recently went to photograph the falls in the beautiful Fall colors in November. I wish I had been better prepared. During the mile hike you have to cross the river twice in water that can go up to your knees depending on where you cross. Walking sticks/staffs would have been helpful to maintain balance while crossing the slippery rocks. Water shoes, or waiters are preferred. I would also recommend bringing some water to rehydrate yourself because the hike back out can be demanding. The view is worth the trip, just be prepared.
Very beautiful, a must see. It is about a mile hike down, but well worth it.
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Cummins Falls State Park
- Sun - Sat: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
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