Trail Guides

Hike to Kentucky’s Dog Slaughter Falls

January 7, 2019

Don’t let the rather morbid-sounding name scare you off from this one! Dog Slaughter Falls is actually one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Bluegrass! In fact, it’s one of our favorite on-trail hikes in the state, not to mention it’s a fantastic place for any photographer.

The Hike at a Glance

Difficulty: Moderate
Length: About 3 miles
Hazards: Terrain and potential swift water
Rating: 5/5
Landform: View On Kentucky Waterfalls
Photography: View on The Photographer’s Ephemeris

Getting There

Dog Slaughter Falls is located within the Daniel Boone National Forest in Whitley County, Kentucky. It’s located just a short distance from the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. In fact, there is a trail-head located within the state park. The shortest route, however, is from the trail-head off of Forest Road 195.

Driving down Kentucky-90, towards Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, watch for a gravel forest service road on the right. This is FS-195. Turn down this road. 

There are two trail-heads for Dog Slaughter Falls along this road. The first one is about 0.8 miles down the road on the left. Taking this route will require about a 4-mile out-and-back hike to the falls. The shorter route is taken via the second trail-head, which is located about 2.7 miles down the road, on the left. The hike to the falls from here is about a 1.5-mile out-and-back.

The Hike

Overview of the hike to Dog Slaughter Falls. Map produced by Christopher Morris.

The hike out to Dog Slaughter Falls is a scenic hike down an intermediate, moderately trafficked trail. You’ll follow along a lovely, boulder-filled stream for much of the trek out to the falls. The scenery in this part of the state is just breathtaking!

Click here to download a topo map for this hike!
Click here to download a topo with map with LiDAR for this hike!
Click here to download a GPS track for this hike!

After hiking along for a bit, you will reach a point where you can actually see the falls from above. While this is great and all, the real treat is to visit the falls from below! 

Elevation profile for the Dog Slaughter Falls hike. Produced by Christopher Morris. Note that this is drawn at a 1:4 scale. This means that the vertical component is exaggerated by 4 to make it easier to read.

To get below the falls, continue hiking along the trail, watching for a small spur trail off to the right. Simply follow this down the hill and you’ll arrive at the base of Dog Slaughter Falls. 

This is a great place to sit and enjoy the scenery, eat a packed lunch and, of course, take some photos! To return to your car, simply hike back the direction you came. 

Dog Slaughter Falls. Image from Adam Thompson.

Your Thoughts? 

Have you ever done the hike to Dog Slaughter Falls? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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