Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Hiking Notch Peak

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Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Notch Peak (9,658 ft) is in Utah's West Desert near the town of Delta, Utah. Notch Peak is part of the House Range mountains and Notch Peak Wilderness Study Area. The northwest face of Notch Peak is also well known for having the 2nd tallest cliff face in North America with 2,200 ft of vertical rise, making it a popular spot for BASE Jumpers and climbers. The tallest cliff face is of course, El Capitan, in Yosemite National Park. Overall, the summit of Notch Peak rises roughly 4,500 ft above the Tule Valley. Because of this, Notch Peak has been called the "desert equivalent" of El Capitan.

Hiking Notch Peak is often a "to-do" hike in many peak baggers' books. This relatively easy hike follows Sawtooth Canyon as it meanders though a gorge-like canyon, past sage brush, 4,000-5,000 year old Bristlecone Pine trees, and a mini natural arch. The views at the top can't be beat - on a clear day you can see Wheeler Peak to the West, Ibapah Peak to the NW, and even Mt. Nebo to the Northeast.

The best time to hike here is in Spring or late Fall when temperatures are still cool. There is zero water on this trail, so be prepared to carry at least 3 L of water for you and your dogs. Dogs that have hiking experience over rough terrain should be fine, however, one of our dogs did tear his paw. As always, you should carry a human and dog first aid kit.

Camping is available at the pavilion just before you turn down the last 2 miles of the dirt road to the trailhead. Camping is free, and there are two picnic tables and two fire rings, plus a restroom. Leave no Trace principles apply, so please don't leave trash behind.


If you are driving from SLC, use this map. For some reason Maps won't let me place the end location to the trailhead, so just keep in mind that you do not turn off the last 1/4 mile that it tells you to. Once you turn left at the pavilion, drive to the end of the dirt road, past an old cabin on your right, to the end of the road. Do not turn off this road. You do need 4x4 just after you turn at the pavilion. We had a Toyota FJ, a Subaru Forester, and Toyota Tacoma and all made it. The road is not maintained, so it could be washed or rutted out from recent storms.

Distance: 7.6 miles RT
Elevation gain: 2,700 ft
Time: 4-6 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Kid friendly? No
Fees/Permits? None
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
The trail is marked with an official sign.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Follow the trail straight for 0.8 miles, then turn left into Sawtooth Canyon.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Though you see many cliff faces and ridges, you can't see Notch Peak yet. You won't be able to see the peak until you reach the last 3/4 mile.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Mile 2-3 have the most brush and trees you have to skirt around. The trail is always easy to follow though.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Keep your eyes up to the right, and you should see the mini natural arch.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Eventually the trail opens up a little more and you don't have to worry about ducking beneath brush.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
As soon as you see a very large, fallen down Bristlecone Pine tree, you will encounter the first mini scramble. It's really easy to climb up.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Still some snow in mid-April! This is the 2nd mini scramble.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Some dogs may need a boost here - yay teamwork!
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
After the scrambling, you will hike through the gorge-like canyon for a few minutes. It starts to open up as you continue hiking, so keep an eye out for cairns to lead the way.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Looking back at the group hiking up. What looks like salt flats in the distance is actually Sevier Lake, though not much water is left.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Charlie and his buddies take a quick break.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Heading towards the saddle. Notch Peak is to the left.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Whoa...your first look into the deep canyon! The first time I get to the ledge it always makes me feel dizzy!
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Work your way up the steep hill. Make sure you stay close to the ridge. If you hike too far left it will increase your distance getting to the peak and take longer.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Charlie and I keep the same pace uphill.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
2nd time on the Notch Peak Summit! Woot woot! The summit cairn open up like a box where the register is placed inside. Keep an eye out for my name and cards!

The first time we came here was in September 2014. Since it had been a few years (and it wasn't on my blog) I just had to come back! I don't remember liking the trail that much the first time, but this time I think I had better company and the weather was nice. I also have grown to love the west desert since then.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Well that's a long way down!
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
It doesn't matter if I'm sitting on the edge of a 2,200 ft cliff or on the couch, Charlie always climbs into my lap even though he's 70 lbs! He's such a snuggler.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
When I summited back in 2014, we saw two base jumpers dive off the summit! This guy in red was watching his buddy fly down before him. I was amazed at how LOUD the sound of the wind was when they jumped off. Pretty cool to see!

Check out this amazing video of the BASE jumpers at Notch Peak!
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Group photo by @freshtracksmountainhouse
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
After summiting, we hiked back down to the saddle, then up the middle hill. That's where you really get a great view of the cliff face.
Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
Charlie loves peak bagging!
Hiking Notch Peak trail map, Delta, UtahHiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah
I tracked out stats one way, and it only took us 2.5 hours to reach the summit.

Notch Peak Trail Map

Do you guys like maps like this better rather than a screen shots I have on all my other posts? Let me know! It's a little more work for me, but I like that you can interact with the map more this way.

  



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Hiking Notch Peak, Delta, Utah

6 comments:

  1. Interactive maps are definitely more appreciated over screen shots since it allows the reader to move around from their point of reference as we view the route details. Thanks for taking the time to provide such great detail in your write-ups!

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  2. How do you track your mileage (the photo above the map)?

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    1. I use an app called Gaia GPS! I love it - it works without service, you can download maps ahead of time, plug in waypoints, create a route, etc. I paid $10 for it, but I think it's now $20. It's a one time fee. -Alicia

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  3. That was a lot of dogs that made that climb. Love Charlie getting a boost...so cute:) You and Charlie are so adorable snuggling.

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    1. Yeah, we had like 6 or 7 dogs! They love hiking together :)

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