I recently met my friend in Paducah, Kentucky and we visited Mantle Rock Preserve near Smithland, Kentucky. No dogs are allowed so this was a great time to visit since I did not have Ellie along with me for this trip.
The trailhead starts out from a small parking lot with several informational signs at the beginning of the trailhead. The signs describe how you are retracing the steps of the Trail of Tears and the Cherokee Indians. It is believed that during the winter of 1838-1839, one group had to shelter near Mantle Rock due to the harsh conditions.
The trail is a loop which totals 2.75 miles long, but another option is hiking to Mantle Rock and then hiking back the same way. This route is not quite 1 mile total.
The trail quickly turns to the right and then comes to a “T”. The quickest way to the natural arch is by taking a left and then after a short distance you enter the nature preserve. On a sign here, I saw a marker for Mandy Falls just down the road from the Mantle Rock parking lot. We also decided to see what that place was (see pictures below)!
From here, it is just a short walk to Mantle Rock.
Mantle Rock is the largest freestanding arch east of the Mississippi River at 188 feet long and about 30 feet high. It is a pretty impressive sight! We got a pretty clear view since we visited in February and there were not really any leaves on the trees.
You can walk around and underneath the arch.
From here, we backtracked to the parking lot and then decided to check out Mandy Falls. Just down the road on the left, is a small pulloff. Mandy Falls is a small series of cascades and then a final waterfall that tumbles about 10 feet into a pool below.
Special thanks to Amy for meeting me in Paducah for a fun weekend!
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