By Jeremy Patton
The Triple Arch of Rock Creek is located in Rock Creek Research Natural Area (RNA) in Laurel County, Kentucky.
I stumbled upon this amazing arch complex during my week-long exploration of Rock Creek RNA. I found no evidence that anyone had visited it.
Of course, other people have probably spotted it, perhaps a logger or forest service official. Regardless, it resides in an isolated area without trails. It is in pristine condition and I want to keep it that way. I will not reveal its location.
My jaw dropped at first sight. There were two distinct pillars, but upon closer examination, the second pillar was still attached to the cliff. If I return in a thousand years, maybe the second pillar will have achieved separation, creating a fourth arch.
The rock shelter was approximately six to eight feet high, depending on where I stood. The second arch resided in the back, just high enough to crawl through. The third arch was hidden in the darkness, hanging from the roof. It looked quite fragile.
I consider Triple Arch one of my greatest discoveries (Bee Rock Arch is still closest to my heart). It represents what I love most about exploration: finding unknown, unspoiled natural wonders – experiencing Kentucky as it was before Europeans or even Native Americans arrived.
Rock Creek RNA is difficult and dangerous. Do not venture there unless you are an experienced hiker.