Natural Arch Scenic Area

Area Status: Open
This area is Open
 

Natural Arch Scenic 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. Picnic sites, group picnic shelters, playgrounds and hiking trails provide year-round enjoyment. The amphitheater and group picnic shelters may be reserved for special events.

Natural Arch Scenic Area Guide and Map  (just picnic area)
11x17 with Trails #508, 510 and 528 (trails and picnic area)

Trails:

Natural Arch Trail #510 (1 mile)
Buffalo Canyon Trail #508  (5 miles)
Panoramic View Trail #528 (0.5 mile)

Photo of Panoramic View of Natural Arch Photo of Hikers on the Natural Arch Photo of Natural Arch from the trial

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Day-use area only. Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Overnight use and camping are prohibited.
Reservations: The amphitheater and two group picnic shelters may be reserved. Unless rented, these facilities are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Call the Stearns Ranger District at 606-376-5323 for more information.
Area Amenities: Accessible,Fee charged for some activities,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water
Fees A fee is required at the Natural Arch Scenic Area. Hang Tag or Sticker. $3/day; $5/3 day; $30 annual. You may pay at the site or purchase a pass 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.
 
Permit Info: A Special Use Permit is required for commercial activities (for example: fishing tournaments, boat rentals, trail rides, outfitter guides, races, etc). A permit is also required for all noncommercial group uses involving more than 75 people.
Open Season: Open all year
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions:
  • Day use area; hours are from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Camping and overnight use prohibited. 36 CFR 261.58 (u).
  • Food and trash storage are mandatory, to reduce odors that attract bears. Unless cooking or eating, store your food inside a hardtop vehicle, the trunk of a car or a bear-resistant container.(Order DB-02-15)
  • Alcohol use prohibited: Consumption of alcohol is prohibited on national forest land and Kentucky lakes and waterways. KRS 222.202; (Order DB-02-15)
  • No fires outside of a fire ring provided by the Forest Service or outside of a stove, grill or fireplace. (36 CFR 261.16)
  • Your fire must be DEAD OUT before leaving. (36 CFR 261.5) You will be held liable for suppression costs if your fire starts a wildfire.
  • PROHIBITED: Failing to dispose of all garbage, including any paper, can, bottle, sewage, waste water or material, or rubbish either by removal from the site or area, or by depositing it into receptacles or at places provided for such purposes. (36 CFR 261.11)
  • PROHIBITED: Dumping of any refuse, debris, trash or litter brought as such from private property. (36 CFR 261.11)
  • PROHIBITED: Climbing, rappelling, or otherwise attempting to ascend or descend from cliffs, arches, or other rock formations in the Natural Arch Scenic Area. (Order 16-05-15)
Closest Towns: Whitley City, KY
Water: Drinking water available
Restroom: Accessible vault toilets
Passes: A fee is required at the Natural Arch Scenic Area. Hang Tag or Sticker. $3/day; $5/3 day; $30 annual. You may pay at the site or purchase a pass 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.
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service
Information Center: Stearns Ranger District
3320 US 27 North
Whitley City, KY 42653 
606-376-5323
859-488-2822

General Information

General Notes:

Special Events
In a rustic setting, the amphitheater will accommodate up to 300 people. The covered stage is equipped with electrical hookups for audio and visual equipment.

Commercial events and groups of 75 people or more require a special-use permit from the U.S. Forest Service. These permits take time to process, so plan ahead when organizing an event that may require a permit. 

The amphitheater is available on a first-come, first-served basis unless posted as reserved. You may rent the facility up to one year in advance. 

Contact the Stearns Ranger District office for more information at 606-376-5323.


Directions:

Take US 27 south from Somerset for 21 miles. Turn right on KY 927 and follow the signs for 2 miles.


Accessibility:

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


Parking:

Parking is available at the scenic area, picnic shelters and amphitheater. 


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities


Nature Viewing

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Outdoor Learning

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Picnicking

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Amenities

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


https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/dbnf/recreation/recarea/?recid=39726