Notch Lake is a 5.0 mile out and back trail with 534 feet of elevation gain. It’s primarily used for hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding, and is best used from June until October. This hike features two lakes, Clegg Lake and Notch Lake, as well as a few ponds scattered between these lakes. This trail is good for all skill levels, and is a good beginner backpacking trip for first-timers! Dogs and horses are able to use this trail.
This hike is absolutely gorgeous! Start at the Bald Mountain trailhead, and descend into the wilderness, circling around Bald Mountain for a little bit until heading west. This trail takes you through some gorgeous meadows with wildflowers and over forest service wooden bridges. Tall trees surround the trail, but visibility is still fantastic! You can often see numerous peaks in the distance when you hike this trail.
You’ll first arrive at Clegg Lake in about 1.7 miles, a large lake that’s good for swimming and fishing. It’s extremely picturesque! Take some photos, and continue on about another 0.6 miles until you reach Notch Lake. This lake is situated beneath the beautiful cliffs of Notch Mountain, totaling 10,922 feet. Stop here for a break, and take in the expansive views!
If you’re looking to do a little bit more, head on about a mile further to see Bench Lake. It’s well worth the hike to get there, and you’ll find more solitude at this lake; most short-haul backpackers and day hikers will stop at Notch Lake. Adding the trip to Bench only adds about 2 miles total, and the hike there had relatively little elevation gain or loss.
Need to Know
This is a pretty simple hike! There isn’t a ton to worry about, and it’s rated as easy. However, since you start at an elevation of about 10,730 feet, you may have a difficult time coming back to the trailhead. The thin air got to me on my way back! Make sure you leave time to get out of this trail, as it will be more difficult, even though it does not seem very uphill. Water is important to bring! This trail is also relatively exposed – protect yourself from the sun, as burning at higher elevations happens faster.
Start this hike in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat of the day in summertime. You’ll encounter less people on this trail, and, if starting in the morning, likely find good parking at the trailhead. Bring some snacks, or a lunch, and have a break once you get to Notch Lake! If you’re thinking of tacking on Bench Lake, there’s also some great spots to eat there while you take in the quiet surroundings.
Take A Hike!
That’s all for this hike! This is a great day hike for avid hikers, and an easy first-timer backpacking trip for someone with none or little experience in the backcountry. If backpacking this route, make sure to pack out all of your trash, leave no trace, and practice good habits at camp. No food or scents in your tent, as this is bear country! Setup your food making at least 100 yards from your tent, and never bring any scents into your tent.
If you liked this hike and want more in the Uintas, check out my page with all hikes in the High Uintas. If you’re heading over to Salt Lake, check out Twin Lakes! It’s a great hike that can provide some much needed solitude in a busier part of the Wasatch Mountains.
Take care, and see you on the next one!
Next blog: We’re staying in the Uintas for now. There’s lots more to come from this gorgeous place! I took a solo camping trip here in July and hit over 12 lakes in just 48 hours!