Notch Mountain

Notch Mountain Holy Cross Wilderness

Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, Colorado

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Notch Mountain


  • The Fall Creek Trailhead. - Notch Mountain
  • Bridge crossing at the start of the trail. - Notch Mountain
  • The trail veers right directly after the bridge crossing to stay on the Fall Creek Trail.- Notch Mountain
  • Views of the Gore Range from the Fall Creek Trail.- Notch Mountain
  • Trail junction taking a right off of Fall Creek to continue up Notch Mountain.- Notch Mountain
  • The trail as you reach tree line.- Notch Mountain
  • The trail continues to offer great views.- Notch Mountain
  • Views of Notch Mountain's notch from the trail.- Notch Mountain
  • Two large cairns mark the end of the trail. You have reached your destination!- Notch Mountain
  • The shelter on Notch Mountain.- Notch Mountain
  • A great view of Mount of the Holy Cross to the west.- Notch Mountain
  • Halo Ridge to Mount of the Holy Cross.- Notch Mountain
  • Looking south from Notch Mountain.- Notch Mountain
Overview + Weather
Great views. Wildflowers. Historical site.
Heavy use during the summer months. Trailhead and campground may be full on weekends and holidays during summer months.
Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, CO
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,763.00 ft (842.16 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
10.20 mi (16.42 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
10,314.00 ft (3,143.71 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description


This 10-mile round-trip hike gains 2,700 feet to reach a shelter on Notch Mountain where impressive views of Mount of the Holy Cross are to be found. The views are so impressive that the site was a frequent stop for hikers making pilgrimages to see the cross formation, and the shelter was built for those staying overnight.

The trailhead shares a parking lot with the Mount of the Holy Cross trailhead as well as the entrance to Half Moon Campground. Starting your hike at the Fall Creek Trailhead (Trail #2001), you will hike through forest for about 2.5 miles. There is a fork in the trail at this point; turn right and begin ascending quickly toward tree line. Switchbacks guide you through a meadow as you gain elevation. The trail remains well marked all the way to the shelter. The last few switchbacks provide views of the notch of Notch Mountain, signifying you are getting close to your destination. There are two large cairns that mark the end of the Notch Mountain Trail. At the top you will enjoy views of Mount of the Holy Cross to the west, and the cross formation is highlighted by snow in earlier summer months. To descend, simply follow the trail back the way you came.  

The shelter is off limits for overnight stays now, though it does have a lightening rod and can be a good shelter in case of thunderstorms.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(21 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(55 within a 30 mile radius)

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