Adventure Files

Adventure Files: Dog Slaughter Falls

One benefit of living where we do in Kentucky, which many are unaware of, is relatively quick access to hiking trails and waterfalls. Per the Kentucky Waterfalls database, there are over 1,100 waterfalls in Kentucky. The large majority of those falls, being within a two-hour drive from our home. Waterfalls in Kentucky range anywhere from 145’ tall to 125’ wide and are on a mix of public and private land.

At one point, a few years ago, we were checking waterfalls off our list, including VanHook Falls, Overstreet Falls, Twin Pines Falls, and more. In the past few years, we’ve slowed down, albeit a bit more than we had hoped. (Life likes to throw us a few curve balls.)

While still managing to hit a waterfall here or there in the past few years, we haven’t really found our stride again, while the waterfall to-do list has continued to grow.

As I said, we have countless waterfalls within a short drive from our home. Easy to get to for a short weekend hike. After debating on if we should or shouldn’t, we finally bit the bullet and went on what was meant to be a quick hike, just to get out, get some fresh air, and check a waterfall off our list.

Dog Slaughter Falls

Rumored to be named for the drowning of unwanted pets, or the loss of hunting dogs to predatory wildlife, the actual origins of the fall’s name isn’t really known. The Dog Slaughter Creek trail follows Dog Slaughter Creek, a mountain stream that empties into the Cumberland River, and is a popular hike and falls in the area.

From AllTrails on the 2.4 miles, out and back trail:

Dog Slaughter Falls Trail runs parallel to Dog Slaughter Creek through dense stands of hemlock and rhododendron. Near the mouth of the creek, the 15-foot Dog Slaughter Falls provides a scenic place to enjoy nature. The trail meanders over and around massive boulders. It ends at the Cumberland River.

Dog Slaughter Falls actually has two trailheads. The first trailhead you come to from the highway is actually longer than the 2.4 miles. That trailhead is 6.5 miles.

As is with most of our adventures, we tend to not always follow what everyone else does, and on this day, the first trailhead was very popular as we pulled up to it.

In an effort to try to circumvent what looked to be a large group of people on the trail, and make things a bit simpler for ourselves, Harrison, and my daughter Abby, we opted to go down the road a bit farther to a less traveled and less marked trailhead.

Spoilers: Things were not simpler

Fun fact: the second trailhead, while shorter and less traveled, is also the more challenging hike. The hike involved losing the trail for a bit, a less-than-happy toddler, a teenager with sore feet, and a bit more frustration than needed.

Eventually, however, we found our way to the falls, which proved to be worth all the hiccups to getting there. Because of taking the second trailhead, we ended up having the side of the falls we found ourselves at, all to ourselves. We were able to sit, catch our breath, and enjoy nature.

When it was finally time to head back to the car, the hike back proved to be a true challenge, however at this point, baby boy had gotten a snack and was all smiles. A far departure from how he was as we had come down the trail.

All in all, a good quick weekend hike to hopefully kick-start us getting back into our hiking and adventuring ways!


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