Natural Arch Picnic Area

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Open to groups of up to 50 people.

Natural Arch Picnic Area, located on Stearns Ranger District, is a great place to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. The main attraction is a spectacular sandstone arch that spans nearly 100 feet. An overlook provides visitors with a panoramic view of the arch.

Eight picnic sites, two group picnic shelters, grills, water fountains, toilets, playgrounds and hiking trails provide year-round enjoyment. The amphitheater and group picnic shelters may be reserved for special events. Each group shelter has six picnic tables to accommodate up to 36 people. Each shelter has a large grill, a serving table, electricity and water. Please note that the water is shut off during the winter season.

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View Natural Arch Guide and Map

A fee is required to use this area.

Nearby Trails: Natural Arch Trail #510 (1 mile)
Buffalo Canyon Trail #508  (5 miles)
Panoramic View Trail #528 (.50 miles)

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Open to groups of up to 50 people.
Operational Hours: Day-use area only, open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Overnight use and camping are prohibited.
Reservations: Two picnic shelters and the amphitheater may be reserved by calling the Stearns Ranger District office at 606-376-5323. Unless rented, these facilities are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 
Area Amenities: Accessible,Fee charged for some activities,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water
Fees A fee is required at the Natural Arch Scenic Area. You may pay at the site or purchase a pass at a local vendor or at the Stearns Ranger District office. Free use is available with an Interagency or Golden Pass, which must be displayed on the vehicle dash to receive the free discount. The picnic shelters and an amphitheater are available for group rental at $25/day each.
Open Season: Open all year
Usage: Heavy
Closest Towns: Whitley City
Water: Potable drinking water is available.
Restroom: Accessible toilets are available at the picnic shelters.
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service
Information Center: Stearns Ranger District
3320 US 27 North
Whitley City, KY 42653

General Information


The picnic sites, upper shelter, main overlook, amphitheater, restrooms and most pathways are accessible.  


Take US 27 south from Somerset for 21 miles; turn right on KY 927 and follow the signs for 2 miles. From Whitley City, proceed north on US 27 for 5 miles; turn left on KY 927 and follow the signs for 2 miles. 


Parking is available at the picnic shelters and amphitheater. 



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Nature Viewing

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Picnic tables There are 8 picnic tables and 2 shelters with 6 tables each.
Drinking water Potable water is available.
Toilets Vault toilets are available.
Fee charged for some activities Day use fees and shelter/amphitheater rental fee.
Accessible Picnic sites, upper shelter, main overlook, amphitheater, restrooms, and most paths within the picnic area are accessible.