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Tips on how to See the Spectacular Moonbow at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in Kentucky in 2023

Practically 100 individuals crowded the Higher Overlook, eagerly gazing into the darkish abyss above the thundering waterfall in search of a touch of a lunar rainbow. It was a superbly clear evening with twinkling stars above and the moonlight was beaming brightly. Someplace within the mist above Cumberland Falls, I may see the faint moonbow.

After which my digital camera’s shutter clicked. The intense LCD got here to life. There was the photograph of an excellent lunar rainbow reflecting within the water droplets within the air.

It was the primary time I’d seen the Cumberland Falls moonbow in Kentucky. And years later, it’s nonetheless one thing I take into consideration each month. If you wish to witness this phenomenal pure occasion, right here is all the pieces it’s worthwhile to know to plan the most effective journey.

What’s a Moonbow?

The primary time I visited Cumberland Falls State Resort Park it was overcast and dreary. Nevertheless it was my first time, so I parked the automotive and walked the brief distance to the highest of the roaring waterfall. I didn’t keep for lengthy, however I mentally bookmarked the park for a future journey.

Then, simply as I used to be leaving, a park ranger requested me a query that might change all the pieces. “Are you coming again tomorrow for the moonbow?”

It was the primary time I’d heard the time period, so I needed to look it up. A “moonbow” is a naturally occurring occasion when moonlight is mirrored off water droplets within the air round a waterfall and creates a colourful lunar rainbow.

Moonbows are considerably uncommon as a result of it requires three components working in live performance: a full moon, a cloudless evening, and plenty of water droplets within the air. Right here’s the way it all works collectively:

A full moon will mirror about 13% of the solar’s mild again to Earth. That’s concerning the minimal quantity of sunshine required for a moonbow to seem.

As a result of the total depth of the total moon is required to see a moonbow, it must be a cloudless evening. Even faint whisps of clouds are sufficient to dam a moonbow from showing.

Lastly, the moonlight requires a number of water droplets within the air to mirror and create the colourful rainbow. Small waterfalls won’t ever have a moonbow as a result of there aren’t sufficient water droplets within the air. Massive, churning waterfalls that kick up a visual mist through the day are finest.

Taking all these into consideration, Cumberland Falls in Kentucky is without doubt one of the finest locations within the Western Hemisphere to see a moonbow.

Cumberland Falls Moonbow Dates in 2023

Use this chart to plan your journey to see the Cumberland Falls moonbow. The most effective time is the evening of the total moon, however anytime inside two days earlier than or after will also be nice occasions to see it. Plan the most effective time every evening to reach to make sure you have most moonlight for the moonbow.

Listed here are the Cumberland Falls Moonbow dates in 2023:

Dates in daring are the total moon


Wednesday, January 4 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, January 5 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday, January 6 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 7 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sunday, January 8 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.


Friday, February 3 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 4 7:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 5 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Monday, February 6 9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 7 9:30 p.m. – 11:30 a.m.


Sunday, March 5 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Monday, March 6 9:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 7 10:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Wednesday, March 8 11:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.
Thursday, March 9 12:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.


Tuesday, April 4 9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 5 10:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Thursday, April 6 11:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Friday, April 7 11:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.
Saturday, April 8 1:00 a.m. – 3:00 a.m.


Wednesday, Could 3 9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Thursday, Could 4 10:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Friday, Could 5 11:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Saturday, Could 6 1:00 a.m. – 3:00 a.m.
Sunday, Could 7 2:00 a.m. – 4:00 a.m.


Thursday, June 1 9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Friday, June 2 10:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Saturday, June 3 11:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Sunday, June 4 12:30 a.m. – 2:30 a.m.
Monday, June 5 1:30 a.m. – 3:30 a.m.


Saturday, July 1 9:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 2 10:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Monday, July 3 11:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.
Tuesday, July 4 12:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Wednesday, July 5 12:30 a.m. – 2:30 a.m.


Sunday, July 30 9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Monday, July 31 10:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Tuesday, August 1 11:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Wednesday, August 2 11:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Thursday, August 3 11:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.
Monday, August 28 9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 29 10:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Wednesday, August 30 10:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Thursday, August 31 11:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Friday, September 1 11:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.


Wednesday, September 27 9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Thursday, September 28 9:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Friday, September 29 10:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Saturday, September 30 10:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Sunday, October 1 11:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.


Thursday, October 26 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Friday, October 27 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 28 9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 29 9:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Monday, October 30 10:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.


Saturday, November 25 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 26 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Monday, November 27 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 28 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 29 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.


Sunday, December 24 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Monday, December 25 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday, December 26 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 27 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 28 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Attending to Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

I returned to Cumberland Falls State Resort Park a yr after studying concerning the moonbow. I used to be staying at a cabin within the Massive South Fork Nationwide River & Recreation about 45 minutes away. For months I had deliberate to see the moonbow – the time was lastly approaching.

The park is hidden, however straightforward to seek out alongside KY Freeway 90 – it’s solely a few 20-minute drive from I-75. However it’ll really feel like for much longer on the winding, two-lane freeway. It’s a scenic drive throughout daytime, however at evening it seems like a tunnel on a carnival experience.

There’s loads of parking on the customer heart beside the river. However on the evening of a moonbow, significantly if the circumstances are favorable, the car parking zone regularly fills up. If the car parking zone is full, attempt parking on the picnic space throughout the street – however watch out strolling throughout the street at evening!

7351 KY Freeway 90, Corbin, KY | 606-528-8412 |

Insider Tip: Plan to reach on the park about 3 hours earlier than the Meridian Passing Time – see the chart above – to ensure a parking area. In search of one thing to do whereas ready for the moonbow? Deliver a folding chair and stroll about ten minutes on the Moonbow Path to a seashore space beside the river.

Greatest Place to See the Cumberland Falls Moonbow

After discovering parking, head towards the customer heart. There isn’t any admission charge for seeing the moonbow, however you’ll must go by means of the customer heart complicated to achieve the waterfall.

The most effective place to see the Cumberland Falls moonbow is the Higher Overlook. It’s lower than a five-minute stroll alongside a paved path from the customer heart. The overlook is located on the high of the waterfall simply ft from the churning water. Metallic rails cemented into the uncovered rocks retains individuals a protected distance away from the turbulent water.

From this overlook, you’ll see the total spectacle of the moonbow.

The appropriately named Moonbow Path descends a flight of concrete stairs, resulting in a hidden Decrease Overlook. Though this was my favourite place to view the waterfall by daylight, it was not place to see the moonbow.

Greatest Time to See the Moonbow

Is a full moon approaching? Will or not it’s a cloudless evening? Is that waterfall churning? Even when all these circumstances are met, you continue to must know when to go to the park to see the moonbow.

And that may be a tough reply.

For the most effective and brightest moonbow, you’ll need to wait not less than an hour after sundown. That’s straightforward within the winter months, however in the summertime the sundown will be as late as 9 p.m. You additionally don’t to attend too late. When the moon is greater than 45 levels above the horizon, the depth of the lunar rainbow will fade.

The most effective time to see the moonbow is about two hours after moonrise. However plan to remain not less than two hours. In the course of the summer season months, the moon doesn’t rise as excessive within the sky, so it takes longer for the moonlight to get above the encompassing bushes. In the summertime months, it is perhaps crucial to remain 5 – 6 hours to see the most effective moonbow

Ideas for a Incredible Expertise

Listed here are a number of ideas that can assist you take advantage of out of your journey to witness the Cumberland Falls Moonbow.

  • Arrive early. You gained’t be capable of see the most effective impact of the moonbow till about an hour or two after sundown, however I might nonetheless advocate arriving early to snag a parking spot.
  • Don’t wait till the final day. There’s a five-day window every month to see the moonbow. Attempt going a day or two earlier than the total moon, slightly than ready till a day or two after.
  • Deliver a flashlight or headlamp. For apparent causes there aren’t any road lamps or lighting across the Higher Overlook. However watch out to not shine the road in anybody’s face or towards any cameras.
  • Deliver a chair, snacks, possibly a blanket, and get comfy.
  • For the most effective expertise ebook a few nights at DuPont Lodge within the park. It’s only a 0.5-mile hike from the lodge to the customer heart car parking zone alongside the Cumberland Falls Path.

Images Ideas for Capturing the Moonbow

A mirrorless or bridge digital camera or a smartphone with the flexibility to manually management the settings is the most effective sort of digital camera for capturing pictures of the moonbow. However though smartphone cameras have come a great distance over simply the previous few years, most smartphone nonetheless can’t seize an incredible photograph of the nighttime occasion.

Listed here are some recommendations on organising a digital camera or smartphone to seize pictures of the moonbow:

Digital Digicam

  • Set the digital camera on a sturdy tripod
  • Use a distant shutter launch or smartphone app to set off the digital camera
  • Set the ISO to 800-1600
  • Set the aperture to f/5.6, f/4, or f/2.8
  • Begin with an publicity of 30 seconds. If the photograph is just too darkish or vivid, regulate the publicity time – however don’t change the opposite settings

Smartphone Digicam

  • Flip off the digital camera flash
  • Connect the smartphone to a sturdy tripod
  • Use an app like Digicam+
  • If doable, set the app to Shutter Precedence mode
  • Lock the main focus within the digital camera app
  • Begin with the longest publicity doable for the smartphone
  • Set a selfie timer to seize the pictures

Have You Seen the Cumberland Falls Moonbow?

In the event you’ve seen this totally extraordinary pure occasion depart me a remark under and inform me all about it! Seeing the Cumberland Falls Moonbow was one of the rewarding experiences all yr and that photograph has been certainly one of my favorites ever since.

The place to Keep

The plain selection could be to remain on the state park whereas viewing the Moonbow, however if you need a extra comfy lodge you’ll must journey again to Corbin, Kentucky. It will likely be a straightforward drive, however it’ll even be late.


High quality Suites is a reasonably comfy budget-friendly lodge situated alongside I-75. The lodge options an outside swimming pool and complimentary breakfast. Select from rooms with two queen beds or a single king mattress.

Crimson Roof Inn & Suites is a wonderful selection for place to remain. Positioned alongside I-75, the lodge options inside entry rooms and an outside swimming pool. Rooms characteristic renovated fake hardwood flooring and cozy furnishings.


Fairfield Inn could be an incredible place to remain in Corbin. An indoor swimming pool and scorching buffet breakfast will make the keep nice. Select from rooms with one or two beds, or a room with a sleeper couch.

The Cumberland Falls State Resort Park Lodge encompasses a dozen forms of rooms starting from a single mattress to a two-bedroom suite in a cottage. The rooms characteristic comfy furnishings, free on-site parking, and a variety of facilities.


Cumberland Falls State Resort Park consists of two campgrounds with a complete of fifty campsites. 21 campsites have electrical hookups whereas water is offered for all of the websites. The 2 campgrounds are situated alongside the river with spectacular views.

Corbin/Laurel Lake KOA could be an incredible place to spend a number of nights. The property options massive RV websites, tent websites, and tiny house leases. You’ll benefit from the nights with a mountaineering path to the lake and outside swimming pool.

Regularly Requested Questions

What causes moonbows?

Moonbows are created when moonlight from a full moon is mirrored in water droplets above a waterfall.

Are moonbows uncommon?

Sure and no. Moonbows can occur each month when there’s a full moon. Nevertheless, to see a moonbow you want a cloudless evening and plenty of water droplets within the air.

The place are you able to discover a moonbow?

Moonbows can seem wherever a robust waterfall has clear sky overhead. Among the hottest locations for a moonbow in the US is Niagara Falls, Yosemite Falls, and Cumberland Falls. Victoria Falls in Africa is without doubt one of the finest locations to see a moonbow on the earth.

What does a moonbow appear like?

A moonbow seems to be like a faint rainbow with the total spectrum of colour mirrored in water droplets.

What time are you able to see a moonbow?

You may see moonbows two days earlier than and after a full moon every month. Nevertheless, the spring months are the most effective time of yr to see the moonbow.

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