Jailhouse Rock and Unofficial Arches – A Red River Gorge Day Hike

Here lately I’ve been extremely caught up working on some software development projects. I decided it was finally time to get out on another adventure! This time I would simply be heading down to The Gorge after work and doing a quick day hike. The plan was to hit up Jailhouse Rock, Stargap Arch, and possibly another unofficial arch or two, depending on how I did on time. Along the way, I made an unexpected discovery…

Jailhouse Rock

My first mission was to make it out to Jailhouse Rock. I had attempted to hike out to this unofficial spot just a few weeks before, but I ultimately turned around before making it. On the way, there is a steep, vertical drop-off that you must climb down. On my previous attempt, I had a large, heavy pack. I decided to play it safe and just call it quits on Jailhouse. This time, however, I came prepared with a light pack.

View From Jailhouse Rock
View From Jailhouse Rock

This time my attempts to reach Jailhouse were successful and boy was the view amazing! I’m already planning an overnight trip to do some serious photography of the area.

Stargap Arch

After spending a bit of time out on Jailhouse Rock (and believe me, I would’ve liked to stay a lot longer), I headed out to Stargap Arch. The trip out to the arch was rather uneventful and the view from the arch itself really wasn’t anything to write home about. I decided to continue on further down Stargap Ridge.

Nada Tunnel Arches and an Unexpected Discovery

I wanted to continue out along the ridge containing Stargap Arch. I had heard about some arches there called The Nada Tunnel Arches. Along the way, I made an unexpected discovery.

Trash dump
A trash dump this size was a curious sight indeed, given how far off the beaten path I was.

While walking down the unofficial trail that runs along the ridge, I noticed something just off the trail. I decided to investigate. Upon taking a closer look I found that it was a garbage dump. This in and of itself was strange given its inconvenient location, but things got worse the closer I looked.

Discarded Syringes
Just as an F.Y.I. Don’t ever mess with discarded syringes you find. Who knows what they could be infected with!

Upon closer inspection, I found that the dump contained a lot of newer looking trash. Among the newer looking stuff were a bunch of syringes! About 200 yards down the trail I found what I assume is the connection. Off in the trees was what I can only assume was a homeless camp of some sort. It’s my best guess that the individual occupying this camp was responsible for the trash. On my way out I gave the fine folks at the Gladie Visitor Center a heads up to this and gave them the location of the camp.

I’ve since returned to this area many times. What I originally thought was a tarp shelter was actually just an old truck cab.

Anyway, I continued on along the ride in search of the Nada Tunnel Arches. I never did determine for sure if I arrived at them. I’m pretty sure I was standing on top of the arches, but I couldn’t really tell. If anyone is familiar with them, please do give me some more information on them! Regardless, the view was spectacular!

View from Stargap Ridge

Out of Time

I was hoping to hit up The Arch of Triumph before heading out, but I had to get back on the road by a reasonable time for work the next day, so I decided to skip it. Regardless, this was a very successful trip and it’s given me some ideas for future photography trips!

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