This Kentucky Waterfall Produces the Western Hemisphere's Only Regularly Occurring Moonbow

We’re adding this rare experience to our bucket lists.

Evening Moonbow At Cumberland Falls State Park
Photo: JimVallee/Getty Images

About 100 miles south of Lexington in rural southeastern Kentucky, you'll find one of the most unique experiences the natural world has to offer.

At approximately 68-feet-tall and 125-feet-wide, Cumberland Falls is the second largest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. Known as "the Niagara of the South," roughly 3,600 cubic feet of water spill over its sandstone edge every second. And, when the timing is right, it creates a rare, atmospheric phenomenon called a moonbow.

The central feature of Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Cumberland Falls is home to the Western Hemisphere's only regularly occurring moonbow and one of only two places on Earth where moonbows can be seen on a consistent basis. And it's truly a sight to behold.

A moonbow, also known as a lunar rainbow, forms when moonlight is refracted through water droplets in the air. Dimmer than a rainbow, they can only be viewed when the moon is full, and skies are clear.

See this year's moonbow schedule below:

Cumberland Falls MOONBOW dates
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

The best time for viewing the Cumberland Falls moonbow is between dusk and midnight. The moonbow will be highest during moonrise and will "shrink" as the moon continues to rise until it becomes unobservable.

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Keep in mind that conditions must be just right, so seeing a moonbow is not guaranteed.

For more information on Cumberland Falls and the hundreds of other waterfalls The Kentucky Wildlands has to offer, visit

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