Only 437 To Go

All this rain has had a rough effect on my arch and window hunting.

I continue to work my way through a list of known or possible arches and windows in the Red River Gorge and surrounding areas.  I have worked to compile my listing of them and now I am trying to visit every one of them.  The past few weeks have been difficult as rain and downed trees have stopped me from finding many that I have gone into the woods to seek.

The rain is not the only thing that has slowed my searching.  On several of my last trips, those little crawling things have been very active and slithering about the trails.  The recent rain appears to have helped these creatures stay in the woods and away from the trail.  There are, however, several arches and windows that will have to wait for cooler weather.

Despite these frequent trips, I have currently visited, measured, and documented 58 arches and windows off my list of 495 formations.  For all my trips, I have visited only 11.7%.  That is great news, because there are so many more trips to the Gorge that I must make.

On my last trip, I tried to visit sites that are close to National Forest Trails so that the bushwhacking is lessened and the chance of finding a snake is reduced.  I slept late on Saturday, July 9, and did not get to the Gorge until about noon in hopes that the sun would be lighting up the window named Rock Bridge Peep Site by Bill Patrick.


Rock Bridge Peep Site is large enough to be a window but fails to meet the three foot requirement to be an arch.  This view shows the smaller east end of the window.

I parked at the Rock Bridge Trailhead and headed out down the trail on a cool but sunny day.  The weather was perfect, and I was very glad to be out in the woods.  There were lots of people who had the same idea as me-take advantage of the nice day after being trapped indoors during the week of rain.

I walked down the Rock Bridge Nature Trail No. 207 to the intersection of Swift Camp Creek Trail No. 219.  From there, it was a short walk of about 50 yards down the Swift Camp Creek Trail and turned left up the hill.  I saw a small window high up on the cliff and then saw what appeared to be an arch on the left along the side of the forty-foot tall cliff line.  I saw my target and made my way to the window.


The largest end of the Rock Bridge Peep Site is the west end measuring 2.85 feet tall and 2.57 feet wide at its largest span.  This window has some great coloration and is easily accessed if you have keen eyes and good directions.

The window was named the Rock Bridge Peep Site but should more appropriately be called the Swift Camp Creek Long Window.  The opening was about 9.26 feet through and was 1.47 feet wide by 1.67 feet tall on the east end and 2.85 feet tall by 1.82 feet wide on the west end.  There are several other small windows and openings all along this cliff but none meet the standard for a window or an arch.  I walked on over to Rock Bridge and then back to the vehicle.


Big Hole Arch is very nice and fairly easy to find at the end of the Military Wall Trail.

I later went to the Martin’s Fork Trailhead and made my way up the Military Wall Trail to the large rock formation at the top of the hill.  I passed several sets of climbers enjoying the wall and finally found the Big Hole Arch at the end of the rock line. The Big Hole Arch is very nice and about 9.2 feet wide by 8.63 feet tall at its largest.  This arch is well hidden in the mountain laurel and might be difficult to find for some.


Is this an arch or a false arch?  This opening on the Military Wall Trail needs further exploration to determine if this is a true arch or just a breakaway fracture at the end of this rock line.  Only time and a little hiking will tell.

I made my way back and looked for the Military Wall Arch but did not find it because of the climbers that were there had established climbing routes right over the top of the small alcove that I believe holds the arch.  I explored around the cliff line and found two places where a strong, cold breeze was coming through the rocks but did not find any light shining through.  I will have to return when the place is less crowded.

I did however find another location that might be another opening.  After finding one of the openings, I went around on the other side of the rock and did find sunlight through the hillside.  It will have to be explored further to make certain if the opening is a false arch or an actual arch.

In all a great day, out in the woods looking and exploring allows me to enjoy God’s handy work and know that the creator who made all these wonders has a plan for me.

Now, only 437 openings left to find and explore.


About sdbowling

Director of the Breathitt County Public Library and Heritage Center in Jackson, Kentucky.
This entry was posted in Arches, Hiking the Red River and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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