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Twin Arches Trail

Intermediate
 4.7 (12)

This short lollipop trail leads to two of the largest natural bridges in the US


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Map Key

0.9

Miles

1.5

KM

84%

Runnable

1,604' 489 m

High

1,395' 425 m

Low

117' 36 m

Up

274' 83 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

23%

Max Grade (13°)

Dogs Leashed

Description

This short little trail is packed with features. Starting from the Twin Arches trailhead, a wide trail descends into the forest with a mostly sandstone base and a few easy steps. After about a quarter mile, you'll reach a fork in the trail. The description assumes you take the right fork, but you can go either direction.

Just after the fork, you'll descend a narrow, steep staircase with about 20 stairs. It becomes apparent that you're walking along the ridgeline, and you can see sandstone bluffs through the trees across the valley formed by Charit Creek. A short distance later, you'll notice that there is a steep drop off on both sides of the trail. At this point, you are standing on top of the south arch, although it isn't obvious because the arch is about 20 feet wide at the top and relatively flat. Trees obscure the view, but if you venture near the edge, you can see the return trail below.

Between the south and north arches, another steep staircase (about 70 steep, narrow stairs) descends down to the base of the arches. If you turn around at the bottom of the stairs to face the arches, North Arch is on the left and South Arch on the right. North Arch spans 93 feet and has a height of 62 feet with a 51 foot clearance. South Arch is larger with a span of 135 feet, a height of 103 feet with a 70 foot clearance. Large boulders present at the bottom give evidence of the erosion/collapse process that lead to the formation of the arches. The openings are so large it is good to get a good view of them through the trees, but you can walk beneath both arches to get a better idea of the scale.

From the arches, you can follow the signs back to the parking lot or continue on to the Charit Creek Lodge or "Jake's Place" via the Twin Arches Loop Trail. Charit Creek Lodge is a backcountry lodge accessible only by foot, bike, or horse; Jake's place is an old homestead site.

The return trip to the parking lot features a couple of impressive rock shelters carved into the same sandstone bluff that forms the arch. There are a couple of sets of steep steps (about 25 steps each) to ascend with similar narrow treads to the ones you descended earlier on the way out. Just after the 2nd set of steps, you reach the branch point. A right takes you back to the trailhead.

Shared By:

Lost Justpastnowhere with improvements by Cm Schnet

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 12 votes

#403

Overall
  4.7 from 12 votes
5 Star
67%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#4

in Tennessee

#403

Overall
39 Views Last Month
1,495 Since Sep 15, 2020
Intermediate

0%
8%
77%
0%
15%
0%

Photos

North arch
Apr 5, 2021 near Oneida, TN
Arches
Mar 6, 2018 near Oneida, TN
You wouldn't ever know you were on top of the arch, until you get off of it.
Sep 3, 2018 near Oneida, TN
On top of a bluff before descending on to the North Arch.
Sep 3, 2018 near Oneida, TN
I felt super dumb when I couldn't find the second arch. I did a lot of extra stairs to find it. Turns out if I turned left coming down off the stairs it was right there all along. #REIEMPLOYEE
May 2, 2016 near Oneida, TN
One of the Twin Arches.
Mar 4, 2016 near Oneida, TN

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