“It’s a very beautiful place,” comments Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill, about Cummins Falls State Park
in near Cookeville, Tenn. “It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.”
Located on the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River, Cummins Falls
recently became the 54th addition to the Tennessee State Parks System
. A favorite spot and swimming hole for residents of Jackson and Putnam County for 100 years, the 211-acre site is also home to the state’s eighth largest waterfall that stands 75-feet high.
“The waterfall is fantastic. There couldn’t be a more perfectly designed waterfall,” says Hill. “All of the necessary components are there with an upper and lower pool flowing water year around.”
Ray Cutcher, head park ranger, agrees, “Never seen as anything as spectacular as this waterfall.”
Even with all of its beauty and years of memories made here, Cummins Falls was almost lost. A couple of years ago, the land was closed to be auctioned off to a developer for home sites. Thanks in part to the fundraising efforts of Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, the land was purchased and saved for future generations to enjoy.
“Tennessee is a beautiful state,” says Hill. “There is a tremendous amount of varied and interesting places.” “There are always opportunities to acquire special places, and this one came our way.”
Today, the day-use park is open year around from 8 a.m. until sunset. While the park is
officially open, enhancements to the park – including trails, additional road work, restroom facilities and a small park office – are still part of the overall park management plan. However, there is a well-walked pathway that leads to the swimming hole.
Cutcher says the hike down to the swimming hole is a(n) pretty, adventurous trip that is about 1.6 miles one way. “There’s a little of a hike involved going down, but it’s beautiful.” He adds you can see the water flowing, and view life in the river.
“Everything is pretty much in its natural state. There hasn’t been much change to the area, only the addition of the parking lot.”
Another bonus is the wilderness-like feel to it.
“You don’t hear any cars, just the sounds of nature. It’s a good escape from the everyday rush, even though you are still near Cookeville.”
For those not up for the hike down, there is an easy walk (about half a mile) to view of the waterfall.
As the Tennessee State Parks System recognizes its 75th year
, Hill says the best way to celebrate is by opening a new park. “Cummins Falls is a fantastic place that people all ready know about, love and enjoy.”
photo credit: (top left) courtesy of Tom Woods; (bottom right) courtesy of Terry Bonham