The Big South Fork national park is renowned, among other things, for having more natural arches than any other region in the eastern United States. One of the biggest, best and most well known is Twin Arches in the Middle Creek area of Big South Fork here in Jamestown, Tennessee, just up the road from where I live. The other is Split Bow Arch in the Bear Creek area of Big South Fork national park, near Stearns, Kentucky, which I didn't even know about until a few days ago. I packed a picnic and set off with a riding buddy to scope out the Bear Creek trailhead and figure out how to get there, how long it would take towing a horse trailer, what the trailer parking's like as well as how much trail riding is available in that section of Big South Fork.
We were looking for a place to eat lunch and it was our good fortune to pull in to the little parking area at Split Bow Arch. We didn't realize that Split Bow Arch is one of the most accessible arches, only a couple hundred yards from the parking area. We walked across the road and discovered that a railed overlook allows a view of this dramatic topographic feature from above the arch. There's also a short trail that leads hikers to the base of the arch.
These arches form when the native sandstone is able to support its own weight after the lower layers have eroded away. Nature lovers will enjoy the book The Natural Arches Of The Big South Fork and you may also want to look up an article titled "Visit The South's Arch Country" in the November 2002 issue of Southern Living magazine.
Here's a link for directions to Split Bow Arch.
For information on horse properties or Big South Fork real estate, go to www.trailridersrealestate.com