There are two routes for Notch Mountain; one uses the Fall Creek and Notch Mountain Trails and the other uses the Half Moon Pass Trail which is the primary access for Mount of the Holy Cross. Both trails begin at the same trailhead location. Summer weekends can be over-crowded and camping opportunities very limited. The Notch Mountain Trail route is Class 2+ and the Half Moon Pass route is Class 2. For information regarding the Notch Mountain route, see UN 13,248 and read about the alternate descent route which will take hikers through the notch and over Notch Mountain. Estimated mileage and elevation gain are for Notch Mountain only and return by the same route. If including UN 13,248, see round-trip mileage and elevation gain for that summit.
The following route is the same as the descent route we propose from UN 13,248 via Notch Mountain, but in reverse. From the Half Moon Pass/Fall Creek trailhead at the end of the Tigiwon Road, head up the Half Moon Pass trail #2009 along with the hoards of 14er-baggers if attempting this hike on a summer weekend. The trail is easy to follow to Half Moon Pass, gaining about 1,340 feet in elevation along the way. Shortly before reaching the pass, look for a fainter trail veering off to the left (SW) as you're hiking west, located in a clearing just before the pass. Approximate coordinates for this trail are: N 39° 29' 36.84 W 106° 27' 14.07" at 11,680 ft. elevation. The trail heads south across the meadow, then passing through some open trees and willows before climbing up to and emerging onto a rocky, east-facing slope. If you lose it through the willows, these coordinates should get you back on it: N 39° 29' 29.79" W 106° 27' 10.71".
Once on the trail, it generally heads south, contouring along the east slope below Pt. 12,743 on the USGS map. At approximately these coordinates, the trail will begin to veer SW and gain elevation up a broad drainage to a saddle on the ridge south of Pt. 12,743. (N 39° 29' 10.71 W 106° 27' 04.78".) Head up to the saddle. If you lose the trail in this section, when you reach the saddle, look for it to be over on the west side of the ridge crest. From the saddle, follow the trail south to the summit of Notch Mountain over what will now mostly be frequent boulder rubble with interspersed tundra patches. As you near the summit, the boulder sizes will increase and there will be more broken rocks to slow progress, but nothing exceeds Class 2 work.
From the summit of Notch Mountain, hikers may still enjoy an impressive view of Mount of the Holy Cross. Descend as you came or, it is possible to continue south, passing through the "notch" and continue to the Notch Mountain Hut and also to UN 13,248. See our route description for UN 13,248 for advice on how to navigate the "notch," but you'll need to reverse the directions.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.