As a continuation of the the epic road trip vacation, I stayed in Calvert City, Kentucky and was joined by my favorite outdoor enthusiasts – my husband and our dog.

We tent camped at Kentucky Dam State Park, since Land Between the Lakes National Forest had no available reservations.  It was a quiet campground during the week, but started filling up fast on the weekend.  We prefer our quiet, remote spaces.  The national forest was filling up early though for the upcoming eclipse.

Local area resident and hiker from Annie’s Adventures advised us of a cool hike about 45 minutes away at Mantle Rock Preserve. Annie said we would enjoy this hike and location.  She also advised that if we hiked the whole loop, rather than just going to Mantle Rock and returning, we would encounter a lot of ticks and chiggers.  She was correct on all accounts.

The trailhead was easy to find and well maintained.  Near the parking was a field of black-eyed Susan flowers  in bloom.  The trail meandered a short distance before splitting, creating a lollipop loop.  Much to our surprise a portion of the trail was the Trail of Tears. We had seen several road signs in that area indicating the Trail of Tears.  To be able to hike a one mile portion of it with its interpretative signs allowed us to be able to put history into perspective.

We started down the Mantle Rock trail, spotting several deer along the trail.  A short distance down the trail lead to the natural arch, the feature that the trail is named after.  The sunlight shined down through the arch and the adjacent rock wall.  Standing under it, looking up at it, it was simply impressive.

We continued down the trail.  It traversed rocks, creeks (dry when we visited), hardwood forest and open fields.  The Mantle Rock Trail was 2.75 miles.  It lead to the Trail of Tears, we followed it for a mile, leading back out to the parking out.

The trail is definitely worth visiting!


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