Chattanooga Now See a moonbow at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

Chattanooga Now See a moonbow at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

August 1st, 2017 by Jennifer Bardoner in Get Out - Bestmonth

Cumberland Falls

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

A moon bow at Cumberland Falls

Photo by William Cox

Chasing waterfalls: Before this month's touted "main" celestial event, the Great American Solar Eclipse, you can head to Cumberland Falls State Resort Park for a chance to see another happening in the heavens: a moonbow. While this natural phenomenon can be just as elusive as America's first total solar eclipse since 1979, the falls, known as the "Niagara of the South," are worth the trip regardless.

Not Niagara?

The falls themselves span 125 feet wide, creating an impressive curtain as they drop seven stories. And the park's historic Dupont Lodge offers a worthwhile view of the Cumberland River from a large observation deck.

Lovely luna: Sometimes called a white rainbow, a moonbow is a rainbow created by the refraction of the moon's light. Cumberland Falls is the only place in the Western Hemisphere where this occurs on a predictable schedule.

Finicky phenomenon:

Like its daytime counterpart, the conditions have to be right for a moonbow to appear: succinctly put, on a clear night during a full moon with rising mist.

To the falls: You can catch a "Rainbow Mist Ride" to the falls courtesy of Sheltowee Trace Outfitters Wednesday-Sunday from mid-June through Labor Day weekend, water and weather permitting.

Full moon schedule:

This month's full moon is Aug. 7, but since the moonbow can appear several days before or after the full moon, the park will stay open all night Aug. 4-10. Prime viewing times for each night are listed on the park's website.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Equestrian epitome: Tour the park, located in the 708,000-acre Daniel Boone National Forest, via the more than 20 miles of trails. Tackle them on two or four legs — the park was rated the No. 2 spot for horseback riding trails in Kentucky Living magazine's 2016 Reader's Choice Awards.

Wild frontier:

Many of the park's trails connect to backpacking trails in the Daniel Boone National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service says the forest "embraces some of the most rugged terrain west of the Appalachian Mountains." Head here for adventures to your heart's content.