The Notch

Page Type
Texas, United States, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
Most of a day
Very strenous walk up

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The Notch
Created On: Aug 15, 2006
Last Edited On: Jan 10, 2008

Mckittrick Canyon Ridge Trail

The main trail through the canyon, the Mckittrick Canyon trail will come to a fork(About 3 miles from the trailhead)as you near the Grotto.Up to this point the hike is easy.Take the fork to the right. This will begin your journey up to the Notch.This pic shows the Notch from just past the fork.The Notch is just to the left at the base of the ridge. This is an arduos climb. The image in this frame kinda puts the hike in prespective. There are long, steep switchbacks up that mountainside to get to the Notch.If you are afraid of heights,do NOT attempt this hike. You will gain 1800 feet of elevation in a short period of time. This hike has been rated as the toughest one in the park.I am not going to argue with that. Been there, done it! Once you climb out of the canyon(switchbacks)you will come to the Notch.The views are absolutely spectacular here. You can continue to the Mckittrick Canyon ridge for camping or return from the Notch. Most hikers return from the Notch. This is 10.2 mile roundtrip hell of a hike. Take plenty of water. There is none along the way. During the summer, rattlesnakes like to make themselves at home on the trail. Be careful! The primary image shows the Notch after you have passed through it.

Getting There

From the main trailhead, follow the Mckittrick Canyon trail, hike towards the Grotto. Take the fork to the right at the Grotto sign.

Route Description

The hike to the Grotto is easy. However once you begin your ascent up to the Notch, the trail becomes very steep and narrow. You are climbing out of the canyon, up the side of a mountain. The elevation gain is 1800 feet in a short distance.The trail is series of long, steep switchbacks that seem to go forever. As you ascend you can appreciate this hike for all it claims to be. You can tire very easily in a short period of time.The drop-offs keep getting higher and higher. Your balance is of utmost importance. I would not try this in high winds. It can be scary. However the breathtaking views as you climb will have you at the Notch in no time. Dont attempt this is you have any fear of heights. The trail builders have created a really nice and narrow trail. Be careful! I have included this pic to show just how careful one has to be when hiking this trail.Descending this trail is probably the most dangerous. Descending is also hard on the toes!

Essential Gear

Must take sunscreen, water(plenty), food, hat, rainwear, sunglasses, and a watch.

External Links

Self Explanatory