Natural Arch

The Natural Arch Scenic Area within the Daniel Boone National Forest in southern Kentucky features a massive 100-foot-wide, 45-foot-high sandstone arch—one of the largest in the state. Considered sacred to the Cherokee Native American tribe, the arch has been protected by a fence built of red cedar—a tree honored by the Cherokee.

Because of its natural and cultural significance, the arch and surrounding 945 acres were protected as a scenic area in 1961. Although severe winter ice storms in 1994 and 1998 severely damaged trees at the site, and more recent intrusions by the southern pine beetle have further damaged local ecology, it still remains a mostly intact landscape.


There are more than six miles of hiking trails that provide access to the arch and surrounding forest, all accessible from the Natural Arch Scenic Area or the Panoramic View trailhead.

Natural Arch Loop Trail (510)

The one-mile moderately strenuous Natural Arch Loop Trail follows a mostly paved pathway with staircases from the parking area to the base of the arch, also passing by two scenic overlooks. It then loops around the arch and sandstone formation on a fairly level dirt and graveled path.

Buffalo Canyon Trail (508)

The five-mile, moderately difficult Buffalo Canyon Trail starts from the base of the cliffs near Natural Arch and follows the Spruce and Copper Creek valleys before returning along the Cutoff Branch. It passes by Chimney Arch, a rarely seen formation at the Natural Arch Scenic Area.

Panoramic View Trail (528)

The half-mile Panoramic View Trail follows along an old roadway on the ridgeline to a scenic overlook.

(606) 376-5323

From Somerset, follow US Route 27 south for 21 miles. Turn right onto KY Route 927 and follow for 2 miles. From Whitley City, follow US Route 27 north for 5 miles. Turn left onto KY Route 927 and follow for 2 miles.


Whitley City Weather

American Byways is an exploration-focused website that helps you discover hidden gems, find unique waypoints, and trek to spectacular natural wonders.

Leave a Comment