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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

Point to Point

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

#422

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

#5

in Tennessee

#422

Overall
16 Views Last Month
1,557 Since Sep 15, 2020
Intermediate

0%
8%
77%
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15%
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Photos

A hiker basking in the sunlight and the size of the arch.
Sep 3, 2018 near Oneida, TN
Going down a long flight of stairs.
Sep 3, 2018 near Oneida, TN
Looking off of the top of the North Arch.
Sep 3, 2018 near Oneida, TN
North arch
Apr 5, 2021 near Oneida, TN
South Arch.
Jul 11, 2016 near Oneida, TN
Arches
Mar 6, 2018 near Oneida, TN

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 68 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Apr 5, 2021
Cm Schnet
Mar 24, 2021
Chris W
Sep 29, 2020
Dawn Sladinski
Arrived 1:20
Mar 22, 2020
Brandon H
Careful on the steps. 1.4mi
Nov 14, 2019
Hollie Allen
Mar 20, 2019
Emily H
5.9mi
Mar 9, 2019
Eddie Bolin
Oct 20, 2018
AmandaFaye Prosser
Hike group trip & Hammock camping. The arches were lovely and the fall colors vibrant! Be prepared for climbing, so make sure your knees in good shape — 10h 22m