Arch of Wied il Mielah, Malta

One of the most famous arches in Malta is Azure Window, which has been featured in several movies and in Game of Thrones. A lesser known but quite similar arch can be found nearby, however, known as the Arch of Wied il Mielah (NABSQNO 33S-429115-3993060). Both are near the town of Gharb. Azure window is due west, and Wied il Mielah is the same distance due north. The photo below is by Franklin Camilleri.

Wied il Mielah

900th Documented Arch in France

Our intrepid arch hunter Guilain Debossens reports the 900th arch that he has documented in France: Barri Troué.

This natural arch is located on the lower section of the canyon of Rimouren near the village of Saint-Montant in the Ardèche department of France. The opening has a measured span of 18 feet. Barri is an old Provençal name for a rocky ledge. Barri Troué is named (but not precisely located) on the IGN topographic map Top 25 number 2939 West Gorges de l’Ardèche (pleat B9).

Below are three photos of Barri Troué. About 95% of the arches Guilain has documented in France are on his website.


Barri Troue


Pont d’Arc at Flood

Pont d’Arc in France experienced flooding on April 4, 2016, as can be seen in the two photos below showing the Ardeche River at normal flow followed by a photo on April 4.

Pont d'Arc at normal flow.
Pont d’Arc at normal flow.


Pont d'Arc on April 4, 2016
Pont d’Arc on April 4, 2016. Photo courtesy Guilain Debossens.


A much larger flood occurred on September 19, 2014, as can be seen in the first 30 seconds of the video below.

Guilain Debossens reports that there is an historic plaque fixed on the cliff two meters above the road at the entrance of the Gorges de l’Ardèche. The plaque indicates that the Ardèche River reached the level of the plaque, 55 feet above normal flow, during the historic flood of September 22, 1890. It was the most severe flood since man developed photography, but not of all time of course.

Guilain found the photo below taken during this historic flood. The text written on the back said the flood was so huge that the Ardeche River retook the abandoned meander during this event.

Pont d'arc Historic Flood

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