Nathan McClure Arch #2

By Jeremy Alan Patton

Nathan McClure Arch #2 is located in Daniel Boone National Forest in Pulaski County, Kentucky.

Nathan McClure Arch Falls 2/7/16

Nathan McClure Arch Falls 2/7/16

From Bee Rock Recreation Area, drive west on KY-192 to Mount Victory Fire Department. After passing the fire department, turn left onto Old Whitney Road. Continue for about 2.75 miles then turn left onto Forest Road 122A. You will reach the dead-end of FR 122A after about 3.5 miles.

Approximately 0.8 miles before the dead-end, look for a dirt road on your left where you can begin the north half of Nathan McClure Trail #530. The road was not marked on 2/7/16, but you should find white diamond markers soon after joining it. The trail descends south-east along Pole Bridge Branch then follows the Rockcastle River north to Nathan McClure Arch #2.

The north segment of the 14-mile Nathan McClure Trail boasts colosal cliffs, waterfalls and natural arches. I will focus on Nathan McClure Arch #2 here, but will soon write a full article about the trail.

After hiking approximately 1.5 miles, you will get a partial view of the waterfall on your left. Bushwhack up the short hill across from it to examine its multi-tier drop and the arch spanning its crest. I also entered its cramped rock house, passed beneath the falls and stood at its base, but the arch was obscured.

Nathan McClure Arch Falls Vertical 2-7-16

The waterfall is perhaps 50 feet high, though not a continuous drop. I had never heard of it, probably because it is easy to miss unless you are willing to climb hills and wade through brush. I do not feel conflicted about revealing its location because it would be very difficult to vandalize.

I believe that I have found a reasonably safe way to ascend the cliff where I hope to photograph the arch closer, from the opposite side.

This is the second arch that I have discovered on Nathan McClure Trail. The first resides near the dead-end of FR 122A.


Nathan McClure Arch #1 on 1/15/16

I rate this trek as difficult due to the steep return.


On 2/20/16 I climbed the bluffs and bushwhacked to the top of Nathan McClure Arch #2. The off-trail excursion took all day and was strenuous, to say the least.

Atop Nathan McClure Arch #2 on 2/20/16

Atop Nathan McClure Arch #2 on 2/20/16

I was well-rewarded for my effort. I discovered two waterfalls near the cliff that converged into a single stream that passed beneath the arch. I call them Nathan McClure Arch Falls B and Nathan McClure Arch Falls C.

Nathan McClure Arch Falls B

Nathan McClure Arch Falls B

Nathan McClure Arch Falls C

Nathan McClure Arch Falls C

The arch was covered by a blanket of damp leaves. I kept my distance because one wrong step could have sent me crashing to my death.

What I loved most about the area was its undisturbed remoteness. If anyone had ever visited the top of Nathan McClure Arch #2, they must have felt as I did — very alone.

I was in very good shape when I completed this hike. Keep that in mind if you attempt it yourself.

Atop Nathan McClure Arch #2 Vertical


Added 2/9/16 – Updated 3/17/17