By Jeremy Patton
McCammon Branch Falls is located near Gray Hawk Community Park in Jackson County, Kentucky.
From Hal Rogers Parkway in London (formerly Daniel Boone Parkway, thanks to a humble politician), drive north on KY-30 for about 19 miles then turn left onto US-421 in Tyner. Continue for about 6 miles then turn left onto Jackson County High School Road. Continue for 200 meters then turn left onto Gray Hawk Community Park Road. Drive to the dead-end. I did not see a sign for Jackson County High School Road, however a big sign was posted for “Gray Hawk Community Park.”
Plenty of parking is available. Facilities include a picnic shelter, basketball court, playground and ball fields.
From the picnic shelter, walk downhill, cross the field then enter the woods at the southeast corner. A trail skirts the cliffs before terminating at McCammon Branch Falls Overlook. It is a short trek.
Warning: when I heard that the waterfall resided near a community park, I suspected that the site would be developed. Boy was I wrong. The narrow trail, consisting of loose soil and slick roots, veered dangerously close to a hundred-foot cliff. I do not recommend it for children, pets or drunks.
The scenery was wonderful, though somewhat marred by a house perched on the hill behind the overlook. The full grandeur of the falls was not apparent until I descended below the cliffs.
Retracing my steps, I found a rope draped over a short ledge. It was an unnecessary, but welcome aid. I followed the cliff-base to the falls where its two tiers roared after several days of rain. It was way better than I expected: taller, wider and more powerful.
It was possible to pass behind it under its rock shelter, but I chose to ford the creek downstream. I followed the cliffs west until they tapered, crossed the creek again then hugged the north wall back to the falls. The gorge was rugged and wild, helping me forget about the outside world, but a few wiffs of manure reminded me that civilization loomed just over the hill.
I found two additional waterfalls, indicated on the map below. I call them McCammon Tributary Falls #1 and #2. The first formed a twin waterfall, but it probably merges during flooding. The second leaped from an impressive bluff. I wish that the photo had turned out better. The hike was off-trail and challenging.
Gray Hawk Community Park appeared to be a great place to take your kids. The gorge and waterfall below it, not so much. Please be careful if you venture there.
The well-known Flat Lick Falls is just a short drive away. You can easily explore both waterfalls in a single day. McCammon Branch Falls is the more impressive of the two, but the overall scenery of Flat Lick Falls is superior. Read my article: “Flat Lick Falls.”
Added 4/5/17 – Updated 5/5/17