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For Adventure and Beauty, Visit Kentucky’s Natural Arches


SPONSORED CONTENT -- (StatePoint) Kentucky’s natural arches. They are not just eye-catching, they are an adventure.

Seeing a natural stone arch, whether thumbing through a magazine or finding one in nature, often elicits a sense of awe and wonder. The image of thousands of tons of rock seemingly suspended in midair can be difficult for the human brain to comprehend.

Natural arches, with their layers of rock and sediment, are the result of centuries of erosion from seas, rivers or weathering. These naturally formed wonders can be found all over the world, and more than 2,000 arches of varying shapes and sizes can be found in the great state of Kentucky. In fact, the Bluegrass State has more of these astonishing formations than any other location east of the Mississippi River.

“In many places, such as the Western United States, seeing a natural arch is often a matter of driving to the right spot and looking out the window. Kentucky however, comes with an abundance of adventure,” says Mike Mangeot, commissioner, Kentucky Department of Tourism.

For instance, to experience the glory of Natural Bridge in Slade, Ky., you must hike the trails through some of the most beautiful scenery in the entirety of the Daniel Boone National Forest. When you reach your destination, try not to let your jaw drop as you marvel at the sandstone formations that have been slowly sculpted in the 900-ton behemoth over the last 270 million years. Then make your way to the top of the arch itself, some 65 feet above its base, and take in one of the most spectacular views that the Daniel Boone National Forest has to offer.

One of the many cool things about natural arches, particularly those in Kentucky, is that no two are alike.

For every massive arch like Natural Bridge, there are plenty of smaller, but no less amazing formations. A prime example is Angel Windows Arch. The top of the taller window is only 7-feet high and just as wide, thus giving visitors a chance to experience the intricate sandstone formation up close. Located in the Red River Gorge less than a tenth of a mile off a paved road, Angel Windows is the perfect short hike for everyone in the family.


While a vast majority of Kentucky’s arches can be found in the southeastern part of the state, there are several scattered throughout the west as well.

For geology fans who want to stick close to the city, Louisville’s Cherokee Park has what you are looking for, so long as you are ready to really look. In terms of arches, the Cherokee Park Double Arch is tiny when compared to formations like Natural Bridge. Standing just 5 feet high on the side of a hill and partly masked by foliage, spotting the Double Arch is essentially like finding a needle in a haystack. However, once you find it, you can’t help but be amazed at how a sinkhole caused solid limestone to erode and form not only one arch, but two stacked on top of each other.

If you find yourself in west Kentucky near Paducah, make sure to check out Mantle Rock in nearby Smithland. Mantle Rock, located along the Cherokee Trail of Tears, is a 30-foot-high natural sandstone bridge spanning 188 feet. In addition to its massive size, it features extraordinary bluffs, shelters and honeycomb formations.

This just scratches the surface of the natural arches that you can explore in Kentucky. For more information on the phenomenon and where to look for them, check out the Kentucky Visitor’s Guide at

“Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures or to be blown away by breathtaking scenery, Kentucky, with its spectacular geologic formations, is the place to be,” says Mangeot.

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