Mantle Rock History

With Kentucky having the highest concentration of Natural Arches other than Utah, it would only make sense that Kentucky also has the largest arch East of the Mississippi River.  Located a little less than an hour northeast of Paducah near the Ohio River is the Mantle Rock Nature Preserve.  Inside the preserve is its namesake, a massive 154 foot long alcove arch with a 30 foot tall opening. The nature preserve is a certified site on the Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail.  Approximately 1,800 Cherokee wintered in this area while being forcefully displaced to Oklahoma. That winter of 1838-1839 they were forced to wait along the road near the arch because the Ohio River was frozen and impassable.  It was bitterly cold and it is said many Cherokee died waiting for the river to thaw. There is probably a good chance that some Cherokee made the shelter of Mantle Rock their temporary home during that time.

For more history check out the Nature Preserve's website.

For a map of the Trail of Tears, check out the NPS website that has a really nice one.

A view of Mantle Rock from 1914 (a postcard courtesy of Todd Fife):


A modern view of Mantle Rock:

© Bill Fultz



Mantle rock nature preserve. The Nature Conservancy. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2022, from