Serenity is not difficult to come by in Thorncrown Chapel, one of Arkansas’ most significant architectural achievements. Designed by the acclaimed architect E. Fay Jones, the elegant structure has been winning awards since its opening in 1980. Be awed by the architecture’s geometry and use of natural elements when you stroll down its stone floors. A canopy of dense Ozark woodland encloses the scenic chapel, giving it the quiet ambiance of a forest dell.
Approach the towering trellis-like chapel and take a moment to admire its design. The framework is comprised of locally sourced timber, the structure’s simplicity making it appear open-sided. Upon closer inspection, you’ll see that the chapel is enclosed with glass. Enter the chapel to experience the mesmerizing interaction between the architecture and the environment. Whatever the season, Thorncrown Chapel is beautifully complemented by its natural surroundings. In spring and summer, dappled light filters through a canopy of greenery. See these trees aflame with fall leaves or visit in winter to see the crisp white snow giving the structure an icy glimmer.
The chapel’s interior is as beautifully understated as its façade, with a cross-hatch of timber beams hanging from the light-filled ceiling, simple lighting and some lush indoor plants. Attend one of the chapel’s regular services or stop by for some quiet meditation of your own. Take a seat on the timber pews clothed with blue upholstery and take in the views of the chapel’s geometry contrasted with the wilderness outside.
Non-denominational chapel services are held on Sundays, April through December, and last approximately an hour. The chapel is open daily to visitors between March and December, but accepts reservations for weddings and special events year-round.
Thorncrown Chapel is located 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) west of Eureka Springs. The chapel is free to visit, however, donations are welcome. Tour groups are invited to attend a presentation on the chapel’s history and architecture. There is plenty of on-site parking for buses and RVs. Be sure to make Thorncrown Chapel a stop on your journey through the Ozarks.