When we first arrived at Cumberland Falls, we wanted to go swimming. It was a hot afternoon, but there was just one problem– you can’t swim in the Cumberland River near the falls! The current is way too fast and it’s too dangerous. Thankfully, one of the staff members at our campsite (Sheltowee Trace Outfitters) let us in on the area’s best kept secret: Laurel Lake.
Laurel Lake is a reservoir built by the US Army Corps of Engineers (hooah, Engineers!) on the Laurel River, which feeds into the Cumberland River. It’s about 30 minutes from Sheltowee Trace Outfitters and hard to find if you’re not familiar with the area, so I highly suggest having a Sheltowee Trace staff member give you directions since the GPS doesn’t work so well. The recreation areas are managed by the Corps of Engineers (essayons!) so it’s free to swim, and the Corps also provides free “first come, first serve” lifejackets for children to borrow.
The locals all obviously know about Laurel Lake, because it was incredibly crowded when we arrived! The parking lot was full, and cars were parked all up and down the side of the highway. The small sandy beach area was full and most of the good spots to sit and sunbathe were full as well. I didn’t do a whole lot of swimming since I’m more of a “sit and splash my feet in the water” type person, but Andy did!
Laurel Lake is not nearly as beautiful as Jamaica, but it was great for cooling off on a hot summer afternoon!
And that wraps our 1st anniversary trip recap! Thanks for reading, friends!
Have you ever been swimming in a lake?