Thorncrown Chapel Showcases Mother Nature in Northwest Arkansas

Walkway leading to Thorncrown Chapel near Eureka Springs ArkansasThorncrown Chapel on Highway 62 just west of Eureka Springs Arkansas is one of those places that you have to visit to truly appreciate. Pictures, and certainly my pictures, don’t do it justice. (Bruce wasn’t with me on this trip.)

The Ozarks of northwest Arkansas are a gift from Mother Nature, a combination of dense, rich forests, rolling hills and magnificent vistas earned from a climb up unexpected mountain tops. Outdoor lovers, if you’ve not yet explored northwest Arkansas’ many hiking trails, state parks and abundant lakes, you’re missing some of the most beautiful landscapes in North America.

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The grounds surrounding Thorncrown Chapel near Eureka Springs Arkansas

What is Thorncrown Chapel

Exterior of Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Spring ArkansassThorncrown Chapel is a gift from Jim Reed and the architect Fay Jones. Reed, a native of Arkansas, bought land just west of Eureka Springs to build his retirement home. That was in 1971, and one of his favorite hobbies soon became simply strolling through the woods, listening to birds and gentle sounds of the trees. It was his place to hear the voice of God.

E. Fay Jones was the architect from the University of Arkansas that shared Reed’s passion for the beauty of the Ozarks and believed that a place of worship should celebrate this unique place in the world. In July 1980, Thorncrown Chapel opened and immediately won numerous design awards. The American Institute of Architects placed it number four on a list of the top buildings of the 20th Century.

Main aisle of Thorncrown Chapel in ArkansasNot being an architect myself (although we have two in the family), I can only imagine the challenges that Jones encountered digging into these mountains and finding a stable place for a structure like this. It’s just about all glass, a total of 425 windows in 6,000 sq feet of glass. I’d hate to be the person who has to clean those things.

The windows draw in the light and beauty of the forest, immersing the chapel’s guests with the simple connection to Mother Earth. The position of the chapel is such that natural light bounces through the leaves and illuminates the interior with the gentlest of decor.

Sit and Be at Peace at Thorncrown Chapel

Looking out the window at Thorncrown Chapel in ArkansasTo say it is peaceful is an understatement. Sit quietly for a few moments and tranquility will simply consume you.

Whether you know it as the voice of God or the calling of Mother Nature, the calm will soon find its way into the depths of your soul. There is no overt religious message here, just a soothing environment that helps you discover your own connection to a higher being.

There’s no need to be in a hurry or leave anytime soon. The chapel is open for this very purpose.

Except on Saturdays. As you can imagine, Thorncrown Chapel is sought out for weddings and is booked months/years in advance. On Sunday mornings, non-denominational services are open to the public.

Those hills of northwest Arkansas, they are open for your exploration all of the time, offering the same tranquility so beautifully captured in Thorncrown Chapel.

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Tip: While in the Eureka Spring area, pay a visit to the sweet animals now making their home at Turpentine Creek. They, too, are finding peace in these beautiful Ozarks. And if you’ve made it to Thorncrown Chapel on Highway 62, it’s just a few more miles to Bentonville and Crystal Bridges. Plan to spend a few days here.