“Playing a role in the Trail of Tears and boasting a unique ecosystem, this trail intersects history and science.”
— Joshua Hutchens
Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers
No biking, rock climbing, camping, horseback riding, or all-terrain vehicles. Service dogs only.
The trail to Mantle Rock is an easy run through hardwood forest. From the parking lot to Mantle Rock, the trail slopes downhill. The trail is dirt and can be obscured by fallen leaves, so utilize the Trail Run Project mobile app
or follow the green trail marking signs.
Mantle Rock is the largest freestanding arch east of the Mississippi River, towering 188 feet long and 30 feet high. The bluffs of which Mantle Rock is a part also boast rock overhangs, honeycomb formations, and fluorite deposits.
Climbing to the top of Mantle Rock will bring you to the best example of a sandstone glade in Kentucky. Various unique species of plant life thrive here, including Kentucky's only occurrence of June grass.
The trail continues to loop around the preserve, and in one section, coincides with the original Trail of Tears. During the winter of 1838–39, nearly 2,000 Cherokee camped here while waiting for the Ohio River to thaw.
Flora & Fauna
Atop Mantle Rock, you can enjoy the best example of a rare sandstone glade in Kentucky. Rocks are carpeted by mosses and lichen. Other unique species include June grass, prickly pear cacti, Indiangrass, dickcissel, sweet goldenrod, rush foil, hairy lipfern, little bluestem, and pinweed.