David and I spend the Saturday hiking to an obscure canyon of South Draw in southern Capital Reek National Park. The 7.5′ topo map for this area, indicated a “natural arch” there, although we have been ‘skunked’ by this kind of map label before.

South Draw in the distance, from the jeep trail

After a rough drive down a jeep trail and a hard climb through broken country, we reach the spot designated on the map only to find a large overhanging rock and no arch. There are no game trails into that area so we guess that the canyon was a dead end. We started to explore the area and quickly find a nice class B arch just around the corner. The map apparently had the location off by a few hundred feet.

South Draw Arch

In the deep alcove under the arch, footprints would have been protected for many years but there are none. We do find the site of a very old campfire though.

We continued to explore the canyon until a slot canyon becomes too narrow for my claustrophobia. However, we do see a large area of ‘arch country’ slickrock sandstone in the distance that we will need to explore someday.

After exploring a bit of this kind of country, there is no doubt in my mind that there are many undocumented natural arches out there. And THAT sounds like a challenge to me!