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Mantle Rock Loop Trail

Intermediate
 4.2 (6)

Playing a role in the Trail of Tears and boasting a unique ecosystem, this trail intersects history and science.


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Map Key

2.3

Miles

3.8

KM

Point to Point

575' 175 m

High

406' 124 m

Low

230' 70 m

Up

234' 71 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

14%

Max Grade (8°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers

Family Friendly The trail is easy, and kids will enjoy playing on rocks and in the creek. The unique ecosystem will fuel the curiosity of little scientists.

No biking, rock climbing, camping, horseback riding, or all-terrain vehicles. Service dogs only.

Description

The trail to Mantle Rock is an easy hike 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 Hiking 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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Joshua Hutchens

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 6 votes

#9072

Overall
  4.2 from 6 votes
5 Star
67%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
17%
2 Star
17%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#81

in Kentucky

#9,072

Overall
22 Views Last Month
2,328 Since Dec 3, 2017
Intermediate

20%
0%
60%
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20%
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Photos

Mantle Rock Kentucky.
Jan 25, 2016 near Smithland, KY

Weather


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Check-Ins

Jan 1, 2021
Julie Litsinger
Oct 11, 2020
JOHN SHUTZE
Aug 16, 2020
John Arenstam
2.8mi — 10h 00m
Jun 16, 2020
Julie Litsinger
Jan 20, 2020
Eric Waldon
Great first solo hike and the scenery is amazing with the bridge, stream and rock formations. 2.3mi — 2h 00m
Jan 1, 2020
Julie Litsinger
10h 29m
Dec 26, 2019
Julie Litsinger
11h 43m
Sep 20, 2019
S W