From the end of the Tigiwon Road at the trailhead parking, two trails head out. One is the trail to Half Moon Pass which continues toward East Cross Creek and the Mount of the Holy Cross North ridge trail. The other trail is the Fall Creek/Notch Mountain Trail #2001. This is the one you want. This trail heads generally south and will be the left of the two trails. About 2.4 miles along the Fall Creek Trail is the turnoff for Notch Mountain and the historic Notch Mountain Hut/Shelter. The trail is likely over a century old and the shelter was built in 1933. In the first half of the 20th century, religious pilgrimages to this location were a common event. Travelers from around the country hiked this trail for the view of the cross on Mount of the Holy Cross. Religious services were even conducted there and the Tigiwon Community Hut was originally built to provide some shelter for travelers.
Once on the Fall Creek/Notch Mtn. Trail, there will be far fewer hikers, most of whom will be heading for Mount of the Holy Cross. The trail continues through heavily forested terrain for nearly two miles gaining very little elevation. Continue on the Fall Creek Trail until you come to the Notch Mountain Trail #2000 and head more to the west now. (The Fall Creek trail continues south to the foot of Whitney Peak, climbs a pass and comes out near Hunky Dory Lake.) Once on the Notch Mtn. trail, the serious elevation gain begins. The trail turns off at about 11,200 ft and begins ascending on multiple switchbacks through more open forest and meadows. The meadows contain large amounts of bluebells and paintbrush. One interesting thing we found in one of the lower meadows was an old stump/log that someone had set in an upright position. It had the appearance of a small gnome with arms raised, reaching out in the direction of Holy Cross (even though not visible from this location). We took a few photos of the interesting feature.
Further up the trail, in the open tundra, we spotted some ptarmigan and were able to obtain a few more photos of this fairly rare bird. Continue up the almost endless switchbacks and after about an hour and a half arrive at the Notch Mountain hut. Holy Cross presents a magnificent view and photographers will want to spend some time taking various photos. Now, a word of explanation. Notch Mtn. itself is not a ranked summit. The one ranked summit here is south of the hut along the ridge. It is marked as 13,248 ft. and lies about ¾ mile south of the hut. Hike over to that official summit likely leaving behind some other folks arriving at the hut. The walk to the ranked summit takes one over large boulders and blocks of rock and is slow. It’s similar to the final summit ascent of Holy Cross.
For the descent, either return as you came or consider this alternative for those who might want to tag Notch Mountain. Departing the hut strike out to the south along the ridge. To get to Notch Mountain, you have to negotiate the formation for which this summit is named – the big notch between it and the hut. Ascend from the hut up toward the 13,224 marker on the map. From the summit, backtrack a little south to a large cairn you may have passed. From the cairn drop about 100 feet in elevation on the west side of the ridge. After a little contouring, a rock rib will block the way. We found a way over it after a little searching and continued contouring to another rib. After crossing this second rib, we dropped another 100 feet. Contouring across some more gullies, we finally picked up a trail of sorts. This took us to the notch, about 50 feet below it on the west side. Just past the notch, we began ascending on a rock and tundra bench toward the ridge. The trail led to the east side of the ridge and skirted the summit of Notch Mtn. We, of course, tagged the summit. From the summit drop back down a little on the east side to pick up the trail. This trail does not show on any maps and may be left over from the pilgrimage days. It continues north from the summit of Notch Mtn. following the ridgeline for a while and then dropping over to the west side. Then it crosses over to the east side of the ridge just a little before the 12,743 marker. It then begins a descent down on the east flank of the north ridge, and contours around the nose of the ridge to join the Holy Cross trail at Half Moon Pass. Along the way, we saw plenty more flowers to enjoy and by staying up high, were able to enjoy some more views before descending back to forest.
At Half Moon Pass search for the descent trail by locating two rock cairns that mark it’s beginning just west of the pass summit. During a break, we took several photos of the brilliant orange paintbrush that covered this area. From the pass, it's easy hiking for the remaining couple of miles back to the trailhead.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.