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Cory Ramsey's "Top 5 Kentucky Waterfalls"

from June 2013 Issue

Cory Ramsey's

These are best viewed in the springtime after a few good rain showers.

Everyone knows about Cumberland Falls, which is so high and wide that it's billed as "The Niagara of the South," but Cory Ramsey, who has seen more waterfalls than most of us, says that while it is spectacular, it is not quite his favorite Kentucky waterfall.

In fact, it's not even his favorite waterfall at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park.

Ramsey, who is building a personal brand as an outdoorsman, likes to make hiking and enjoying Kentucky's diverse scenery as easy as possible for others by developing a top five list in various categories.

Here, in ascending order, is his list of what he considers his "Top 5 Kentucky Waterfalls," in a state that offers many:

5. Shanty Hollow Lake. This falls on the edge of a small Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Lake north of Bowling Green is at the end of Ramsey's personal favorite hiking trail. He has seen it frozen in winter, gushing in spring, and dry in mid-summer. And it's not likely to be crowded at any time. "Not promoted as well as, say, Yahoo Falls in the Big South Fork, but just as impressive," he says.

4. Nolin Lake State Park in Edmonson County. Ramsey describes this one as "not a tall waterfall, but wide." With Nolin Lake as a backdrop, he says, it is well worth the visit. A new bike path has routed traffic away from the falls, but you can still get there. "Best bet is in the spring after a few good rain showers," he says.

3. Tioga Falls. They won't let you in the depository to see the gold stored at Fort Knox, which is south of Louisville. But on the same Army base you can hike a trail that leads to these falls. Ramsey calls it "an impressive series of waterfalls best seen a couple of weeks before leaves appear on the trees in the spring." Like most, it's better after a rain. And you get to drive by the gold on the way there.

2. Cumberland Falls near Corbin. This is considered one of Kentucky's best assets, but Ramsey notes that it was almost dammed in the 1930s to produce electricity. It was saved by the DuPont family and a legislative override of a veto, and what became Cumberland Falls State Resort Park was born. "The fact that it was almost lost is enough of a reason to find it today," Ramsey says.

1. Eagle Falls. It's not on a nature license plate like Cumberland Falls, but Eagle Falls is in the same state park, and Ramsey says it "is a show-stopper every time I visit." What makes it special? "It's all a combination of huge boulders, the hemlock trees, and the secluded feel overall."