Kentucky is just packed full of natural arches. In fact, it’s ranked either second or third in the United States for most number of natural arches. We are behind only Utah and possibly Arizona. East of the Mississippi, however, we are ranked number one! 

That means that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of natural arches to be seen in the state! Many of these are off designated trails and seldom visited. It’s up to the intrepid explorer to put in the time, energy and research to find these hidden treasures. In this spirit of exploration, I’m not going to spoil the locations of these arches here. I’ll leave that up to you 😉 

So, without further ado, here are my five favorite natural arches in Kentucky that I’ve found so far!

5. Daylight Twin Arches

Daylight Twin Arch West
The western most (and largest) portion of the Daylight Twin Arches.

The western most (and largest) portion of the Daylight Twin Arches.

We’ll start this list off with a pair of arches that are incredibly easy to find and get to; the Daylight Twin Arches. Located along a forest service road in Laurel County, Kentucky, you can’t get much easier than these two arches! 

Pictured here is the western arch of the twin arches. It is the larger and, in my opinion, more photogenic of the two arches. This is a great way to start off one’s arch hunting career. 

4. Castle Arch

Castle Arch, located within the Red River Gorge Geological Area.
Castle Arch, located within the Red River Gorge Geological Area.

Castle Arch is one of those arches in the Red River Gorge that isn’t particularly hard to find, but it is a pretty good work out to get to. Reaching this impressive arch requires a thigh burning, off-trail climb up some pretty steep terrain.

As a bonus, it’s possible to scramble up to the top of this arch and get a pretty great view!

3. Phalanx Arch

Phalanx Arch, Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.
This was pretty lucky timing with a horseback rider passing right under the arch! It gives a great perspective to the size of this thing.

Phalanx Arch is easy to get to, but it’s not so easy to find its location. It’s a bit of a local secret. If you can manage to find the location, however, it’s well worth a visit. There’s also a plethora of other arches in the area! 

2. Bolton Twin Arches

The eastern (and larger) portion of the Bolton Twin Arches.
The eastern (and larger) portion of the Bolton Twin Arches.

This is another easy arch to reach, but it can be somewhat challenging to find its location online. It’s a pretty neat little natural wonder, with two arches appearing side-by-side. Pictured here is the eastern arch, which is the larger of the two arches. 

1. Skyview Arch

Sky View Arch, Red River Gorge, Kentucky.
Skyview Arch is a hidden gem in the Red River Gorge. 

I’ll finish this countdown with my personal favorite arch that I’ve been to so far; Skyview Arch. This is one of the last remaining spots in the Gorge that truly few people know about (though there are certainly other, more secluded areas). 

Despite being located near a very heavily trafficked area, this arch is seldom visited and I saw few to no signs of other visitors during my visit. 

It’s not necessarily easy to reach this arch either. It requires a semi-sketchy scramble to get down to it. There is virtually no trail to it, though sharp-eyed individuals should be able to spot a very faint path where a few people have passed before. 

Bonus: Sampson’s Pillar 

Sampson's Pillar Arch, Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.

Okay, so I couldn’t resist throwing in one more bonus arch. What can I say? I just love them all!

Samson’s Pillar is located off a forest service road in McCreary County. It’s seldom visited and you won’t find much mention of it online. Reaching it wasn’t particularly easy either. It required going up a formidable hill, only to have to scramble down the other side. 

Despite the work required to find and visit this arch it’s really pretty impressive! It’s a unique example of a pillar type arch. Samson’s Pillar is certainly one of the more unique arches I’ve had the pleasure of visiting! 

Just the Tip of the Iceberg

So, there you have it, 5 (plus a bonus) of my favorite arches in Kentucky. While these are some of my favorites, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Recall that earlier I stated there are potentially thousands of arches in the Bluegrass. This means that there are so many more arches out there to see.

I personally look forward to many more years of arch hunting in my home state. I hope this list has inspired you to get out there and start exploring! 

To wrap this discussion up I’d like to ask a question: What are your favorite Kentucky arches? Let me know in the comments below! Also, if you enjoyed this list and the photos presented here, I encourage you to check me out on Instagram (@SerialPhotog). That’s how you can keep up with all my latest adventures!