The Notch Out-and-Back
ElevationAscent: 1,092' 333 m
Descent: -1,092' -333 m
High: 6,058' 1,847 m
Low: 5,015' 1,529 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 28% (16°)
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“This is a great run up to some stunning viewpoints of McKittrick Canyon.”— Liz
From Pratt Cabin Spur the trail continues up the canyon but becomes a bit rougher. It continues to follow the stream, a nice feature that makes this run a bit more pleasant than others in the summertime. About 3.4 miles into the run you'll reach the Grotto, an excellent streamed picnic spot. There are several old stone benches and tables making this a great rest stop. Only a short distance beyond the Grotto is Hunter Line Shack trail. Use this to reach Hunter Line Cabin for a nice side trip.
Once back on the main trail, as you head up canyon, the grade begins to steepen significantly. This section of trail is not for the faint-of-heart. The trail from here to the Notch can include steep grades, semi-technical terrain, and several switchbacks. However, the struggle is worth it. From the Notch overlook you'll have outstanding views of South McKittrick Canyon in both directions.
After a nice long rest, turn around and head back the way you came for a great, almost ten mile long run. For the more adventurous among you, the McKittrick Canyon Trail continues beyond the Notch, eventually connecting to the Tejas Trail.
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Land Manager: NPS - Guadalupe Mountains National Park