Hunting Natural Bridges in The Daniel Boone National Forest

A slew of newly (re) discovered arches in the Laurel County portions of the Daniel Boone National Forest were recently submitted to the Kentucky Arch Database. Not only did the locations of these arches need to be confirmed for the sake of the integrity of the database, but there was some discrepancies with the location of one of the submitted natural bridges. I decided to set off into the forest to solve the mystery once and for all!

Trip Video

I went ahead and recorded a YouTube video of this trip, for those into that sort of thing. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you’d like to see more content like this!

The Bridge of Sighs

The first of the two natural bridges on this trip was The Bridge of Sighs. This one ended up being quite easy to get to and was precisely where the submitted coordinates placed it. It’s not the most impressive arch in the entire world, but it’s still an interesting formation!

The Bridge of Sighs, a small natural bridge in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.
iPhone shot of the Bridge of Sighs

The Mystery Bridge

The second natural bridge of the trip is the one whose location was a bit of a mystery. One set of coordinates placed it right at a significant waterfall, while the other set placed it a fair way downstream from the falls. Regardless of which was correct, the next step was to get to the waterfall. Along the way, I cam across another, much smaller, falls that I scrambled down to. Sadly, this falls has a giant deadfall right in the way of any potential photographs!

A small waterfall I came across while hunting arches in the Daniel Boone National Forest.
iPhone shot of the smaller falls I came across

After spending some time appreciating this little waterfall I continued on down to the much more significant falls. Unlike the smaller falls, this one would definitely be worth photographing in the right conditions!

A nice waterfall in the Daniel Boone National Forest.

Upon searching immediately below this waterfall for the submitted natural bridge, I came up with nothing. This meant that the bridge was either upstream from the falls or located at the downstream coordinate. After considering my options, I decided to start with the downstream location and then loop back around to the upstream one. It’s worth noting that I wanted to check both locations regardless of what I found in case there were actually two different landforms.

Checking Downstream

Heading downstream I found what I initially thought may have been a natural bridge. This landform was within about 200 feet of the submitted coordinate. Upon closer inspection, however, I determined that this landform was nothing more than a false arch formed by two boulders.

A false arch formed by two boulders in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.
iPhone shot of the false arch in question

To be thorough, I searched quite a ways downstream from this false arch to confirm that there were no other potential landforms in the stream. Finding none, I followed a sandstone cliff line back upstream and checked the upstream area.

Checking Upstream

Once I eventually made my way back up the cliff line and up above the falls, I was able to quickly located the natural bridge I had been searching for. This one was more significant than the Bridge of Sighs, but still not the most impressive arch I have ever seen.

A natural bridge in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.
iPhone shot of the natural bridge

Even though the arches I visited during this trip weren’t terribly significant, it was still nice getting out on an off-trail adventure and doing a bit of arch hunting! There will be plenty of more significant arch adventures coming up in the future 😉

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