Daniel Boone National Forest
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  • 28. Grays Arch Recreation Area

    Gray’s Arch Recreation Area provides visitors with a picnic area, access to the magnificent Gray Arch, D. Boon Hut, and miles of trails perfect for backpacking.

    Grays Arch Trail #205 begins at the Grays Arch Picnic Area on Tunnel Ridge Road. After 0.25 miles (0.4 km), the trail follows Rough Trail #221 for another 1.25 miles (2 km) down the ridge and then into a drain to King Branch. The trail again forks, continuing to Grays Arch, a natural sandstone arch measuring 50 feet (15.24 m) tall and 80 feet (24.3 m) long. The trail is scenic and rich in native flora. During wet weather, a beautiful waterfall occurs at the arch.

    Return to the parking lot by either retracing your steps, or follow a 3 mile loop by continuing on Rough, Rush Ridge (#227), and Pinch em’ Tight (#223) trails.

    Loops ranging from 4 to 10 miles (6.4 to 16 km) can be made by combining Rough Trail with the Sheltowee Trace (#100), Koomer Ridge (#220), Hidden Arch (#208), Buck (#226), and Pinch-Em’ Tight trails. Many areas suitable for backcountry camping can be found along this trail system. Please follow all backcountry camping regulations. In addition to Grays Arch, these trails provide spectacular ridge top views, travel along hardwood forested hills, and pass through beautiful streamside groves of eastern hemlock trees.

    D. Boon Hut Trail #209 leaves the Grays Arch Picnic Area along Tunnel Ridge Road. The trail descends into a deep gorge under high cliffs. The trail leads to a large fenced rock shelter that was once mined for saltpeter. Saltpeter, or niter, was an ingredient in gunpowder during the 1800s. The trail is 1 mile (1.6 km) one way and is moderate in difficulty.