The Uinta Mountains are one of the few mountain ranges in North America that run east to west rather than north to south. Within the Uinta Mountains are about 2000 lakes, and some 900-1000 are full of trout. Along with the San Juans in Colorado, the Uintas have more contiguous area above timberline than any other area in the Continental United States. This is a beautiful area with many lakes, meadows, wildflowers, and some rugged peaks. Solitude is usually easy to come by once you leave the popular fishing holes behind.
This peak is a frequently viewed, but seldom climbed summit. The peak forms part of the backdrop to Trial Lake. The mountain itself is divided into two halves by The Notch, which is the mountains namesake. The peak is easy to reach, but still almost always offers solitude. This is a very scenic area!
Notch Mountain from Bench Lake.
There are two trailheads normally used for the climb.
Crystal Lake Trailhead
Crystal Lake is reached from the Trial Lake spur road off Highway 150 25.7 miles east and north of Kamas. Follow the signs along the spur road to Crystal Lake. The spur road is gravel and is good for all vehicles. A sign marks the trailhead.
Bald Mountain Trailhead
This signed trailhead is located off Highway 150 on the west side 29 miles east and north of Kamas, or 49 miles south of Evanston.
Trial Lake with Notch Mountain in the background.
The Notch Lake Route climbs the eastern (highest) half of Notch Mountain. See the route page for details. Briefly put: From the Bald Mountain Trailhead, follow the trail west that is posted for Notch Lake. Follow the trail to the lake. The route then climbs climb cross-country through the benches to the southwest and climb up to the south ridge of the summit of Notch Mountain. The route then scrambles and up the steep ridge to a false summit. The highest peak can be reached by heading west along the ridge for .5 miles.
The Notch Route can be used to climb either summit (east or west) of Notch Mountain. See the route page for details. Breifly put: From the Crystal Lake Trailhead, the route follows the trail north that is posted for Wall Lake. Wall Lake is reached shortly after a junction with a spur trail coming from Trail Lake. From Wall Lake, the trail switchbacks up to tiny Hope Lake. From here the trail heads northwest to near Twin Lakes and climbs to The Notch, which is a 10,600 feet high pass. Either peak of Notch Mountain can be climbed from the pass. The west summit is 11,258 feet high and the east summit is 11,267 feet high. The east peak requires a very steep scramble, and route-finding around a few cliffs. The west summit involves steep route-finding and boulder-hopping, but is an easier ascent.
Last leg of the approach to the east summit.
More details about the area can be found in the book Western Uinta Backcountry Guide, including many routes to the summit, and hiking trails to the many lakes, and fishing information. Just send me a PM if you want to purchase the book.
SP members can have the book for 1/2 price, and there is no shipping cost.
A $3 recreational access fee is charged for parking at any of the trailheads along Highway 150.
When To Climb
July through September is the normal hiking season. Highway 150 is usually open from sometime in June to late October. This hike would be a multi day trip in winter, unless you have access to a snowmobile.
Tower near te east summit on July 27, 2006.
There are many campgrounds along Highway 150, but expect them to be crowded on weekends in summer, especially during holidays. There are many backcountry campsites along both access trails, and dozens of fishing lakes in the area with good campsites.
Contact the ranger station in Kamas for current road and trail conditions. Their phone number is 801-783-4338.