|Cummins Falls overlook|
Getting to the base of the falls, however, is not for the faint of heart. In fact, you must be in great athletic condition since the trek requires both a descent and ascent via rope (that is scarily frayed in some places). Absolutely not a hike for children. You are reminded of the dangers of this hike as you reach the primitive trailhead surrounded by crosses and memorials to folks who have died here. But if you are able to make it to the base of the falls, then a vista unlike any other in Tennessee awaits you.
|Memorials at the trailhead remind you to exercise due caution|
|Sarah's descent down the rope trail|
Cummins Falls sits within a natural amphitheatre and drops about 50’, but what’s so spectacular about it is that it cascades over a series of ledges into a deep, turquoise pool. You can launch yourself into the swimming hole and swim right up to the falls or approach it from the side and enjoy exploring the different ledges. You can even make your way behind the falls. I found the perfect spot in the sun to rest my back along one of the ledges while water rushed over my shoulders and legs. There is no greater serenity than being outdoors, listening to the sounds of rushing water in surround sound. Sarah and I literally spent an entire Saturday just lounging around until dusk.
|Butterflies at dusk|
The fate of this natural wonder is currently undecided. The property came up for auction in May 2010, but the Tennessee Parks and Greenways foundation were able to come up with a contingent bid to stave off a developer. What happens next is anybody’s guess, but for now, I feel truly blessed to have been able to visit Cummins Falls in its present, rugged state.
|View from the base of the Falls|