Category Archives: 2. STATES

Noyo Headlands Park, CA

By Nick Terzakis

This past Memorial Day, Pat and I drove up to Fort Bragg, CA and stopped at Noyo Headlands Park which is a newly opened park. The city bought the land that used to be the the old Georgia Pacific Lumber Company and made some walking trails along the bluffs with some beautiful overlooks. The first area we visited was the southern entrance to the park which can be reached from State Hwy 1.

We turned west onto Cypress St. in Fort Bragg and parked at the end of the road. We walked the trail west then north to Johnson Rock. On the way is CA-209, Skip’s Punchbowl (10S-429814-4364940, span 15′ x height 20′):
CA-209 Skip's Punchbowl
The last area we visited was the northern entrance to the park which can be reached from State Hwy 1. We turned west onto Elm St. in Fort Bragg and parked at Glass Beach. We walked the trail west then south to Otsuchi Point. Just before reaching Otsuchi Point there are some steps made from logs that go down to a beach.

At the left side of the beach is CA-208, Glass Beach Arch (span 3′ x height 3′):

CA-208 Glass Beach Arch

Back on the trail to Otsuchi Point are 4 more sea arches as follows.

Skeleton Key Arch (span 3′ x height 6′):
Skeleton Key Arch

Island Arch (span 2′ x height 4′):Island Arch
Cavity Arch (left opening span 10′ x height 14″ and right opening span 2′ x height 14′):
Cavity Arch

Otsuchi Point Arch (span 3′ x height 3′):
Otsuchi Point Arch

The Top of the Crown

By Stan Wagon
Silverthorne, Colorado

I learned about Crown Arch (NABSQNO 12S-681690-4333545)  in Mee Canyon (west of Grand Junction, Colorado) from Bob Fagley’s comprehensive site Bob’s Arches, and visited it twice in May 2010 and 2012. As often happens, the very first picture (above) was the best (showing the classic view from below).

My wife Joan Hutchinson and I approached it that first time via a long and complicated route, but exited in a more straightforward way and it is the latter route that I used on the two trips since. In 2012 Jonathan Kriegel, Dave Blakeslee, and I visited Crown and also Two Feathers and Will Minor Arches. These two visits to Crown made me really want to check out the top.

On Sunday, May 1, 2016, Bill Briggs and I went in with ropes and gear to see what might be accomplished from the top of the arch. We had hoped to do this on Saturday, but the road was too muddy due to a huge rainfall on Thursday. It was fine on Sunday after a dry night.

We found the top of the arch with no difficulty after just a little over two hours of hiking from the parking spot at the gate, about three miles before the official Rattlesnake Arches Parking spot. We hiked down the road for about a kilometer, and then turned left on old roads to get to the arch. In fact, one should just beeline it to the old road system from the parking area, and that is what we did on return, which took a little under two hours for the approximately five mile trip.

From the top of the arch the angle looked steep so we decided not to try and go lower and then climb it, but just to work on photography. To that end, I rappelled into it from a solid small tree anchor, but Bill also put me on belay on our second rope so I could stop anywhere for photography. I went down about 70% of the way to the bottom. I think now that this would be climbable from the bottom, but talk is cheap. I had one jumar with me and getting back up with the help of that was a triviality: so much easier than the old-school technique of prusiking.


Bill checks out the top of the Crown:

Crown Arch

Looking down the Crown from the top:

Crown Arch

Looking down from a little below the top:

Crown Arch

The top of the arch is guarded by a pig:

Crown Arch

Looking across Mee Canyon after descending a little bit on rappel:

Crown Arch

A panorama from three frames of the upper part of the Crown. This was the sort of shot I was looking for. It is an unusual view of the Crown’s interior:

Crown Arch

The whole Crown from below:

Crown Arch

Looking up Mee Canyon from my low point inside the Crown:

Crown Arch

Here is our GPS track superimposed on a Google Earth image. The canyon north of “Lap 1” is Rattlesnake Canyon.

Crown Arch route


NABS Presidents’ Day Arch Rally, February 2016, Arizona & California

Click on any image to start slide show.

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Sea Arches

By Nick Terzakis

A lot of people usually take the boat tour from Munising to see Pictured Rocks but never take the time to hike the area and hence miss out on some nice sights (including arches). I decided to hike the trail to see Vreeland’s 14-2, 14-3 and 14-4.

From Munising drive County Road H58 east and turn left onto Miners Castle Road (H11). Along the way you can stop at Miner’s Castle Falls which is a 1.2 miles round trip hike plus 77 steps to the lower viewpoint.

Miners Castle Falls
Miner’s Castle Falls

Back on Miners Castle Roadd (H11) driving north, turn right onto Miners Castle Beach just before you reach Miners Castle viewpoint (which is worth a stop), then turn right at a “T” intersection and park at the end of the road.

Miners Castle
Miner’s Castle


Walk the Lakeshore North County Trail east as it climbs up the cliffs. On top of the cliffs at over 3 miles is V14-3, Lover’s Leap Arch (NABSQNO 16T-539180-5153408).

Lovers Leap Arch
Lovers Leap Arch

At over 6 miles is V14-4, The Grand Portal (NABSQNO 16T-541282-5155686).

The Grand Portal
The Grand Portal

At over 7 miles is V14-2, Chapel Rock (NABSQNO 16T-543097-5155155).

Chapel Rock
Chapel Rock

One interesting thing about Chapel Rock is that the tree that grows on top is clinging to dear life by its roots which extend to the cliffs.

Chapel Rock root
Chapel Rock root

Also worth seeing are Chapel Rock Falls and Mosquito Falls.

Chapel Rock Falls
Chapel Rock Falls
Mosquito Falls
Mosquito Falls

That day I hiked over 16 miles round trip to Chapel Rock. Another way to reach Chapel Rock is to drive County Road H58 east, turn left onto Chapel Rock Road and walk the trail. A map of the trails is below (click for larger version).

Chapel Basin Trails

Near Munising is a natural window which measures 3 feet in diameter. From Munising drive County Road H58 east, turn right onto Nestor Street and park near Cleveland Street. Look for the trail to Memorial Falls and go down to the falls. To the north you can see the natural window (NABSQNO 15T-513566-5117066).

Memorial Falls Window
Memorial Falls Window

On Mackinaw Island there is V14-1, Arch Rock, and below it to the left is V14-101, Sanilac Arch. The island can be reached by taking the ferry from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace.

Arch Rock
Arch Rock
Sanilac Arch
Sanilac Arch

Some more information about several of these arches can be found in our GIS section.

Norm’s Stargazer Arch

NABS is pleased to announce that we have selected an arch to name in honor of the memory of long-time member and SPAN publisher, Norm Self, who passed away earlier this year. Norm and his wife, Linda, lived in El Centro, CA for many years and Norm delighted in taking numerous friends out to see the arches on “Three-Arch Hill” in Gavilan Wash west of Picacho State Recreation Area in eastern Imperial County, CA. This area had special meaning to Norm and Linda and that played a role in selecting one of these arches to honor Norm.

The three arches located there have been unofficially referred to as Hag’s Tooth (CA-146), Gavilan Wash Arch (CA-145), and Eye of the Hawk (CA-144). “Hag’s Tooth” was aptly used for obvious reasons, and Gavilan Wash Arch was too small (5-foot span), so we chose Eye of the Hawk to honor Norm. Therefore, California arch NABSQNO 11S-707583-3657511 will hereafter be referred to by NABS as Norm’s Stargazer Arch (“Stargazer” was Norm’s old CB handle). Eye of the Hawk (“Gavilan” is Spanish for “hawk”) will be retained as an alternate designation. Of the three arches, Norm’s Stargazer Arch is the largest, northernmost, and highest elevation. It has a span of 20 feet and a height of 7 feet. NABS is planning a visit to these arches at the end of our next Rally.

Here are photos of the three arches by Dave Kennedy:

Norm’s Stargazer Arch:

Norm's Stargazer Arch

Gavilan Wash Arch:

Gavilan Wash Arch

Hag’s Tooth Arch:


NABS Spring Rally, May 2015, Escalante, Utah

The Natural Arch and Bridge Society Spring 2015 Arch Rally was held in Escalante, Utah, and had about 40 members in attendance.  It was great fun with several trips daily.  Here are some photos from the Rally (hover for caption; click for slide show).

An Accessible Arch Cluster in Grand Canyon

Rob Jones (The Wilderness Vagabond) reports a cluster of four natural bridges made of Kaibab Limestone only about a half mile from the trailhead at Hermits Rest at the end of the West Rim Road in Grand Canyon.

Called the Four Sisters, the arches were well known to the “hermit” himself, Louis Boucher, who included them on tours when he took tourists into the Canyon in the early 1900s. Originally called the Three Sisters, they became nearly forgotten. Rob learned of them from a Park Ranger who did not know their exact location but steered him in the right general direction and he was able to find them.

Below are two of Rob’s photos, followed by his video that shows all four of the arches.

Four SistersFour Sisters

Directions: Walk one quarter mile down the Hermit Trail, starting measurement at the trailhead sign. Watch for the low canyon off to your left, going down. As the trail gets to an easy access, drop into this low canyon and walk up canyon for 0.4 miles, taking the right canyon at the first branch, and the left canyon at the second branch. The natural bridges span the low drainage at NABSQNO 12S 391078 3990950.

A more direct way back to the trail can be hiked from the first fork you took going up canyon. Just hike north up the side of the canyon and back to the main trail (see map below). Or you can return the way you came. The whole loop is about a mile.

Four Sisters Map

NABS Collaborates with Red Bull

Your webmaster and Blog editor David Brandt-Erichsen got a new job as Natural Arch Consultant when NABS was asked by Red Bull Adventure for assistance in compiling a collection of arch photos. Although it was one-time only and there was no pay, it’s a start!

The NABS Board and a few other members joined in on the fun of making suggestions, and two of our intrepid international arch hunters, Ray Millar and Gunter Welz, actually got paid for some photos.

The Red Bull editors of course made the final selection. The article was published July 28:

10 natural bridges that’ll give you wanderlust

Since it’s hard to stop at just 10, here are three more that the editors looked at to further whet your appetite:

In Tehaq Arch, AlgeriaIn-Tehaq Arch, Algeria. Photo by Peter Felix Schaefer

Brimhall Arch, Utah
Brimhall Arch, Utah. Photo by Craig Shelley.

Talava Arch, Niue
Talava Arch, Niue. Photo by Ray Millar.

Merwin Canyon Arch, Utah

By Peter Felix Schaefer

Merwin Canyon Arch is on BLM land in Kane County, Utah, east of Zion National Park. Merwin Canyon is a side canyon of Bay Bill Canyon which itself is a side canyon of Parunuweap Canyon, the canyon of the east fork of the Virgin River. While the lower part of Merwin Canyon is just a sandy wash, 0.6 miles upcanyon it becomes a beautiful and easy to explore non-technical slot canyon. The arch is right at the entrance of the slot.

Merwin Canyon Slot Entrance
Merwin Canyon Slot Entrance


Merwin Canyon Arch
Merwin Canyon Arch

The opening has a width of approximately 40 feet and a height of approximately 25 feet. To take a better photo than mine, bring a tripod and a wide angle lens; take several photos with different exposures and then at home you can create an HDR photo on your computer.

Taking a GPS reading at the arch was not possible for me but it should be close to 12S 346250 4114530.

Directions: Less than a mile south of Mt. Carmel Junction turn west on a dirt road and drive on it about one mile to a fence with a cattle guard. Park there and walk down Parunuweap Canyon on a public road through private land for about 5 miles to the confluence with Bay Bill Canyon. If you have a 4 x 4 you can drive here if you don’t mind crossing the ankle deep river many times. Hike up the sandy wash of Bay Bill Canyon for 1 mile. Then turn left and walk up colorful Merwin Canyon for 0.6 miles to the arch and the slot.

If you go back and hike up Bay Bill Canyon a bit further, there is another very long slot to explore. Some photos of both slot canyons can be found here:


Partial Collapse of Ring Arch in Arches National Park

By Terry Miraglia

These photos show a dramatic change in the appearance of Ring Arch in Courthouse Wash in Arches National Park. Sometime between April 29 and October 7, 2014, a significant portion of the arch collapsed, leaving the arch very much thinner and looking quite delicate.

Ring Arch 2014 Spring
Ring Arch Spring 2014. From left to right: Sandra Scott, Susan McDowell, Gus Scott, and John Slivka. Photo by Larry Beck taken during NABS Spring Arch Rally.
Ring Arch 2014 Fall
Ring Arch Fall 2014. Photo by Susan McDowell taken during NABS Fall Arch Rally.

As the photos show, the left abutment remains intact, but shortly beyond, a large amount of rock including a portion of the right abutment has fallen. The arc of rock that remains shows no fractures in the photos, but it showed no fractures in the earlier photos either. Standing under the arch, it appears as though much of the lower right front of the span has fallen.

Ring Arch may be seen almost directly west from the park road from a long pullout on the west side of the road (NABSQNO 12S-621729-4278463) about 0.15 miles southwest of the center of the Courthouse Wash Bridge. Binoculars will help, as the arch is about 1.3 miles from the road and the arch location is not obvious.

There is no established trail to Ring Arch. Walking directly to it from the park road view is not recommended since it is difficult to avoid disturbing sensitive desert soils. It’s also unpleasant to deal with the stickers in dense patches of Russian thistle and several tumbleweed-filled drainages. A better route starts on a use trail at the parking area on the northwest side of Courthouse Wash (12-622006- 4278791).

Ring Arch is tucked in a northeastward facing alcove and has morning sun. Courthouse Wash can have standing water, serious mud, and voracious seasonal biting insects. Walks taken after a dry spell and when insect populations are low are recommended. If you are good at finding use trails and return the way you came, your round-trip walk will be about 4.0 miles. This is a wonderfully pristine area, so stay in drainages when possible and do your best to insure there is only one narrow footpath leading to the arch.

Ring Arch is a very old pothole type natural arch, which has formed in the Slick Rock Member of Entrada Sandstone. The Slick Rock Member was deposited in tidal mudflats, beaches, and sand dunes during the Middle Jurassic period between 180 and 140 million years ago.

Sources agree that Harry Reed, a Moab photographer and custodian of what was then Arches National Monument, first reported Ring Arch in 1940. Slim Mabery, a former district ranger at the monument, named the arch in 1961. The name comes from the shape of the arch. According to the World Arch Database, Ring Arch’s span is 45’ with a height of 39’. After the recent rockfall, the arch may be marginally taller.