Markers Arch Trail | 0.5 Mile Out & Back
Yahoo Arch Trail From Falls to Markers Arch | 5 Mile Roundtrip
Markers Arch Trail Map | Daniel Boone National Forest
Markers Arch Location | Google Maps
For those wishing to skip out on the 5 mile roundtrip to see Markers Arch if you parked at the Yahoo Falls Scenic Area, you’re in luck! The easiest way to see this magnificent natural formation is from the opposite end of the Yahoo Arch Trailhead located off State Highway 700. This small pull off is easy to spot while driving to and from the falls and drops you off about 100 feet from the Markers Arch trailhead.
Right from the get go its not hard to tell that this area sees very little visitation upon encountering the badly weathered and deteriorated trail signs. For those that enjoy hiking in shorts, this might be a trail where you would be better off throwing on some tall socks or that dreaded pair of pants, as the nettles are thick in spots. To add insult to injury, wild brambles grow aggressively here and stretch out across the trail quite regularly.
The pine-oak forest here is typical of the dry ridges surrounding the Southern Cumberland Area of Kentucky. With thin layers of fast drying, acid rich soils atop craggy balds, it makes for the perfect environment to see large stands of rhododendrons and mountain laurels. A few stretches of trail pass through small meadows with both of these plants covered in large sweltering buds that are ready to bloom any day now.
With only half a mile to get to the arch, this trail packs a solid drop of 350 feet in elevation all in one steep section. As soon as you turn a bend in the final switchback, the trail abruptly ends in the hidden cove containing Markers Arch. The entire place looks like the overgrown ruins of a Mayan temple hidden in the jungles of Guatemala. Unlike the gray and tan cliffs of Yahoo Arch just a mile away, this entire area is awash in bright red rock formations. The color difference is caused by the iron oxide rich sandstone of this particular area.
Walking up to the edge of the cove, it takes a while to make out the fact that you’re staring right at Markers Arch. Fallen trees in various stages of decomposition stretch out across the top of the arch and hillside approaching it, acting as a sort of camouflage that makes it blend into the background. A thin path leads down into the belly of the arch to reveal an expansive rock shelter that stretches out 42 feet.
At one point in its history several thousand years ago, this arch had originally begun its life as a cave overlooking the Yahoo Creek ravine below. Relics of previous visitors adorn some of the crevices of the far north end of the rock shelter walls in the form of empty liquor bottles. Its not so much of a trash pile as it is a time capsule.Although camping within an arch or rock shelter is strictly prohibited within the Daniel Boone National Forest, this doesn’t seem to be a place that gets checked very often. A few side trails at the bottom of the arch follow the bluffs for about a quarter mile in each direction. Nature is steadily reclaiming this area so come visit it before its forgotten for good.
Up next, we’ll be driving several miles north of here to visit one of the last few areas of the Daniel Boone National Forest that can truly be called a wilderness. The Beaver Creek Wilderness & Wildlife Management Area boasts 13 miles of rugged trails through deep gorges filled with many unnamed arches and waterfalls in a part of the national forest that is slowly being allowed to return back to a true wilderness. Stay tuned and until next time, see y’all on the trails!