From Waterfalls To Coal Mines At Cumberland Falls And Blue Heron

When I was a little girl my parents, grandparents and another older couple in our family would head to Cumberland Falls State Resort Park nearly every summer. There was a motel there that we would stay in. We’d eat at the motel restaurant, swim in the pool and go see the waterfall. Sometimes, we’d take a picnic there for lunch.

When my mom passed away in 2003, Clay and I, our two oldest children and my dad took a weekend getaway to Gatlinburg. On the way back, we stopped at Cumberland Falls and had a picnic lunch. It was November! And it was chilly but not overly cold. The kids were little but our son loved it. This was his first visit to see a waterfall.

Last week, we surprised the three girls with a day trip. It takes a few hours to get there so we got up bright and early, packed a picnic and headed to Cumberland Falls! We didn’t tell the girls where we were going. The entire trip was a surprise and one they loved! I’ve included a couple photos within this post and also a slideshow with more photos at the bottom.

Day Trip And Picnic At Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

We ate our lunch by the river, then went over to the waterfall area and took loads of photos. Some of the overlook areas were closed for repairs but we were able to get some really pretty photos from the ones that were open.

Day Trip And Picnic At Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

The temperatures were in the lower 70’s, the skies were bright blue and the water was gorgeous! I am so happy we were able to make the trip that day.

Day Trip And Picnic At Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

About Cumberland Falls:

Often called the β€œNiagara of the South,” Cumberland Falls has attracted the attention of countless people since prehistoric times. Although the first permanent, white settlers at Cumberland Falls did not arrive until 1850, people have inhabited this area for thousands of years. Native Americans lived here as long as 10,000 years ago.

Kentucky State Parks

We weren’t ready to go home, yet so after lunch we headed over to Stearns, KY to visit the old coal mining community, Blue Heron. The train wasn’t running so we drove in and got out and walked around. It was so neat to learn about the coal mining operation that took place there.

Blue Heron Mine #18 Coal Mining Community

I don’t know a lot about areaΒ but I’m excited to learn more and hope we can take the kids back when the train rides are open! It is a really neat area to visit but there is one thing I do wish is different. There are areas that represent the church, school, etc with info and photos regarding each one. Other than the main structure, the buildings are all open, steel frames. I would LOVE to see real, reproduction buildings there that look just like the originals. I know the originals were in disrepair and removed and I know real buildings would be more upkeep. But, they would lend so much to Blue Heron and really allow visitors to get a real grasp of what the camp was like when it was open.

Blue Heron Mine #18 Coal Mining Community

That was the only thing I didn’t like about our visit. Other than that, it was a perfect day.

About Blue Heron:

Blue Heron, also known as Mine 18, is an abandoned coal mining town and was a part of the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company’s past operation. The Blue Heron mines operated from 1937, until December, 1962, when operations were no longer profitable. During that time, hundreds of people lived and worked in this isolated community on the banks of the Big South Fork River. Their story is the the story of Blue Heron.

Clay and I plan on visiting more fun areas here in Kentucky and talking about them in a series we call “Blogging In Kentucky“. So be on the lookout for more posts showcasing areas in Kentucky that make great day trip, overnight stays, weekend getaways and vacation spots including lodging, attractions, restaurants and events!

Browse through this slideshow featuring more photos from our day trip to Cumberland Falls and Blue Heron.

cumberland falls upclose
cumberland falls picnic at the river
cumberland falls picnic
cumberland falls clay
cumberland falls picnic by the river
cumberland falls view
blue heron mine 18
blue heron church sign
blue heron church
blue heron
blue heron wheel
blue heron mining community
blue heron mine
blue heron coal mine demonstration
blue heron mine cars
blue heron equipment
blue heron building
blue heron coal cars
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Have you ever visited Cumberland Falls or Blue Heron? What are some places in Kentucky you’d like to see our share?

12 thoughts on “From Waterfalls To Coal Mines At Cumberland Falls And Blue Heron”

  1. I have never visited either place before but they are beautiful! I love to see any places featured in your blog because it gives me good ideas for family trips!

  2. My fiancee family lives in North Caroling and South Carolina and I am looking forward to the trip to visit so we can visit places like this.

  3. Oh wow such a beautiful fall…I dont live far from KY I just may take a trip out there this summer to visit this amazing fall….thanks for sharing with us…

  4. My family has never been to Cumberland Falls or Blue Heron. Thank you for sharing this & your pictures. Cumberland Falls looks beautiful & this will make a great short vacation trip for the family this coming summer.


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