Unlike most mountain hikes, this easy trail goes downhill for much of its 2.3 mile length to the shore of beautiful Notch Lake, making it ideal for children and beginners. With a handful of lakes within a short walk, this hike is a fantastic entry-level backpacking trip.
The trail to Notch Lake begins at the Bald Mountain Trailhead (40.689115,-110.903909) just west of Bald Mountain Pass on the Mirror Lake Highway. From Kamas, Utah, travel approximately 29.1 miles east on Hwy 150 to the signed junction on the north side of the road. There is a vault toilet available at the trailhead.
NOTE: The Bald Mountain Trailhead is part of the Mirror Lake Recreation Fee Area. You must display a recreation pass in your vehicle to park at the trailhead. Purchase passes at any of the self-serve kiosks in the area, the fee station at the forest boundary (east of Kamas), the Forest Service office in Kamas, or from local retailers.
From the trailhead, take the signed trail on the left named “Notch Mountain Trail.”
The trail begins heading east, following the south side of Bald Mountain. After about a half mile, the trail turns to the northwest, meandering through a handful of beautiful meadows.
After 1.5 miles, the trail arrives at Clegg Lake (40.697852,-110.926039). This is a great place to stop and take a break and maybe try your luck fishing. The west side of the lake has large slabs of glaciated rock where you can sit and admire the excellent views of the surrounding peaks.
The trail heads north as it leaves Clegg Lake, climbing up a short hill and passing by the east side of Dean Lake before finally arriving at Notch Lake (40.706344,-110.934369), approximately 2.3 miles from the trailhead.
Once at Notch Lake, you have a variety of options. You can spend some time exploring the vast shoreline or get out the map and check out the other lakes in the area. Continuing on the main trail for another three quarters of a mile will get you to Bench Lake (40.712142,-110.936209). If you are good with off-trail navigation, Reid’s Lake is beautiful and only a half mile to the east.
The hike back to the trailhead follows the same route but is more difficult because of the elevation gain required to get back. Round trip distance is approximately 4.6 miles.
There are plenty of good campsites in the area. If you want some solitude, camping at one of the other lakes might be a better option as Notch Lake gets the majority of the traffic in this area.
Rules and Regulations
- Keep dogs under control at all times.
- No littering.
- Pack out trash.
Afternoon thunderstorms are common in the High Uintas. Much of this trail passes through open terrain that may be hazardous if lightning strikes. Seek shelter if a storm approaches.