A Night at Notch Lake

WasatchWill

Ready For More
.
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
1,514
Another short hike I'd yet to do off of the popular Mirror Lake Highway that cuts through the western end of the Uinta Range is a trail that wraps around Bald Mountain instead of up Bald Mountain. This trail takes you by a number of other nice lakes, namely Clegg, Notch and Bench Lakes. I opted to make it another overnight trip. I had actually intended to hike the full length of this trail the prior year, but was stopped short by a wildfire I was uncertain of out beyond.

August 19, 2019

It was another late start for me, but once again, I had just enough daylight to hike about 2.5 miles in and set up my camp at my lake of choice, Notch Lake. Along the way, I'd pass by Clegg Lake. I'd pass by Dean Lake too, but that was barely ever visible from the trail.


The sun descends toward the horizon at a small unnamed lake


Reids Peak stands out above Clegg Lake


Reids Peak (left) and Bald Mountain (right) from Clegg Lake

Once at Notch Lake I got right to work with setting up my camp with what little daylight I had left. I started to set up in a less than ideal site before roaming around a bit more only to find a much more ideal site nearby. By the time I moved my camp, it was essentially dark. I had a brief little fire to keep me company while I prepared and ate my dinner before putting it out and retiring to bed for the night. There'd be plenty to do and see the next day.


August 13, 2019

I awoke to a much more beautiful site than I had actually anticipated. The eastern side of Notch Mountain appeared much more rugged and cliffy than I had been able to make out of it in the darker shadows the previous evening. The alpenglow at dawn really made the view from camp and nearby camp a wonderful sight to see. Out across the lake, I could make out one other camp set up, but other than that, all seemed quiet and desolate.


Morning views of Notch Mountain from my Tarptent Notch


Alpenglow on Notch Mountain reflected on Notch Lake


Looking across southern tip of Notch Lake


Morning panorama of Notch Lake


Notch Lake reflection

After walking around scoping out more of my surroundings around camp and getting my blood flowing a bit, I returned to camp for some breakfast. I then changed back into my day clothes and got my fishing kit together to go try my luck out on the lake.

It didn't take too long to start getting some action. Soon I landed my first fish of the day, and to my surprise, it turned out to be an Arctic Grayling. I had no idea Notch Lake contained grayling. I knew of other lakes not far from Notch where it was popular to go fishing for these fish, such as Four Lakes Basin, but was completely ignorant of what all Notch Lake had, so it was a pleasant surprise, especially since I'd never caught this type of fish before.

A couple more hours of fishing landed me an assortment of brook trout and more grayling.


First ever Arctic Grayling catch


A brook trout

Satisfied with the action on Notch Lake, I moved on to see what nearby Dean Lake was all about. A few hundred yards of some cross country navigation brought me to the shores of Dean Lake.


A large pond or tarn near Dean Lake


Dean Lake

I tried fishing for about an hour at Dean Lake, but no such luck there as I got skunked.

Hungry, I moved on back down to my camp to have lunch and pack up all my gear. Then, it was on to another lake further up trail by about a quarter to half mile that I really wanted to see, Bench Lake.


Bench Lake

Bench Lake proved to be beautiful as well, but also had more limited campsites near it, and of the two I could make out, both were occupied, so I was quite happy to have settled in to Notch Lake as I did the night before. Bench Lake also appeared to be very shallow and devoid of any signs of fish, so I kept my reel strapped on my pack.

After taking in the view for a bit, I began to return back to the trailhead to finish out this little trip. On the way back, I took one last little side trip and navigated off trail to check out Reids Lake. It appeared much smaller than what I had on my topo map, but a later look at satellite maps showed that I must have ended up on the northern most tip of it and the bigger body of it had remained hidden behind and peninsula of trees to my right as I had faced Reids Peak.


Reids Peak, approaching Reids Lake


Reids Peak reflecting across Reids Lake

As I returned to the trail, there was a fleeting temptation to try and summit Reids Peak with the weather remaining clear, but ultimately I decided to keep on going to the trailhead and conclude the trip there. There'd be plenty of high views to be had on my biggest trip of the year that was planned for that weekend, when Jess and I would set out to hike a loop featuring Kings Peak and Red Castle. Stay tuned for that trip report!

Video:
 
Last edited:

Ugly

Life really is better Here
.
Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Messages
801
Excellent, this is also a good area to take younger kids or if you need to get somewhere fast after work or limited light. Some of the smaller ponds have meadows and sites that are easy to setup in with relative seclusion, even though it is a popular area. I have one of those sites in mind for later this summer when I just have a night free.

All of those views of Reid and the reflections are great. The wildflowers and green stayed around a long time last summer.

Can I was laughing though? at first when I read this I thought you were just being really sarcastic about the short distance.

A few hundred years of some cross country navigation brought me to the shores of Dean Lake.
 

regehr

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
1,332
Love it.
Was this late enough to miss the bugs entirely?
 

WasatchWill

Ready For More
.
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
1,514
Excellent, this is also a good area to take younger kids or if you need to get somewhere fast after work or limited light. Some of the smaller ponds have meadows and sites that are easy to setup in with relative seclusion, even though it is a popular area. I have one of those sites in mind for later this summer when I just have a night free.

All of those views of Reid and the reflections are great. The wildflowers and green stayed around a long time last summer.

Can I was laughing though? at first when I read this I thought you were just being really sarcastic about the short distance.

Oops...fixed "years" to yards. Thanks for pointing that out! ;):lol: Don't know if I would have minded a few hundred years though...winters and supplies not withstanding. And about the crowds, yeah...I can imagine how much busier it gets back in there on weekends, but being a Monday night into Saturday for me, it wasn't too bad with the majority of dayhikers at the trailhead there for the Bald Mountain hike. Would love to take some of my kids back in there sometime.
 

WasatchWill

Ready For More
.
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
1,514
So frustrating that university classes start middle of August!!! I can always catch the late spring mountaineering season, but I always miss the mid-August through late September "bug + snow free in the mountains" period.

I like early to mid-summer because of the snow capped peaks and the wildflowers are usually in full-bloom, but yes, the price you pay for that is dealing with all the biting bugs then. When the bugs go away is also when the flowers start fading out too. So, you win some, you lose some. That said, August to September is still great to enjoy some mountain time with the lack of bugs. Even if you can't make it up into the Uintas for the weekends during that time, I'm a big fan of the wilderness areas here along the Wasatch, especially Lone Peak Wilderness. I like to go up there and pretend I'm in the Sierras (where I've never been).
 

WasatchWill

Ready For More
.
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
1,514
I like early to mid-summer because of the snow capped peaks and the wildflowers are usually in full-bloom, when the scenery has the most diversity of color and contrast, but yes, the price you pay for that is dealing with all the biting bugs then. When the bugs go away is also when the flowers start fading out too. So, you win some, you lose some. That said, August to September is still great to enjoy some mountain time with the lack of bugs. Even if you can't make it up into the Uintas for the weekends during that time, I'm a big fan of the wilderness areas here along the Wasatch, especially Lone Peak Wilderness. I like to go up there and pretend I'm in the Sierras (where I've never been).
 

regehr

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
1,332
I like early to mid-summer because of the snow capped peaks and the wildflowers are usually in full-bloom, but yes, the price you pay for that is dealing with all the biting bugs then. When the bugs go away is also when the flowers start fading out too. So, you win some, you lose some. That said, August to September is still great to enjoy some mountain time with the lack of bugs. Even if you can't make it up into the Uintas for the weekends during that time, I'm a big fan of the wilderness areas here along the Wasatch, especially Lone Peak Wilderness. I like to go up there and pretend I'm in the Sierras (where I've never been).
Yeah I do OK with the day trips and a few overnights in the Wasatch and Uintas, I'm just missing out on the long treks in the greater Yellowstone area! I've never been in the Sierras either, it's shameful but there are like 150 closer mountain ranges....
 

Rockroller

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2013
Messages
51
Nice trip report! I caught a Grayling out of Notch a few years ago also. I was suprised as I didn't think Notch had Grayling and everything else I caught was Brookies. It is still one of the biggest Grayling I have ever caught in the Uintas. I love Bench lake. It is really pretty and my favorite in this area.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Udink Bag Night Challenge 2021 General Discussion 4
Perry Teal Lake Lollipop Over Night Trip Backpacking 21
andyjaggy Suggestions for 3 day 2 night trip in March or April. Trip Planning 2
M Non-technical 1-2 night backpacking w dogs and kids - Escalante-ish area in April? Trip Planning 14
IntrepidXJ Bag Night Challenge 2020 General Discussion 99
tropicalwanderer What to do: Grizzly in camp at night General Discussion 22
F Seeking advice for a 5 or 6 night Banff or Jasper backpacking trip for a married couple with different ideas of what awesome is!!! Trip Planning 7
R 6 Day 5 Night hike Kintla Lake to Bowman Lake early August advice Noobs: Introduce yourself! 0
WasatchWill A Night on Y Mountain Backpacking 7
Ugly Another Friday Night... White Winter Sports 7
Ugly Friday Night at Norway Flats Backpacking 4
C 3 night at Havasu Falls Part 4 Backpacking 3
Artemus Bag Night Challenge Results Summary General Discussion 0
Artemus Bag Night Challenge 2019 General Discussion 225
WasatchWill A Night on Sand Creek Hiking & Camping 14
DrNed Ideas For 1 Night Backpacking In Utah Desert? Trip Planning 10
Ugly Oh Catherine, A Quick Night, Beautiful Dawn Backpacking 2
Tystevens Dog friendly 1-2 night trip within a couple hours of I70 in Utah or Colorado... Trip Planning 4
WasatchWill A Night on the Wedge Hiking & Camping 12
Ugly Wednesday Night's Red Pine Winter Sports 2
Jackson Bag Night Challenge 2018 General Discussion 454
Wanderlust073 3 or 4 night trip ideas - CO, WY Trip Planning 8
E Paintbrush/Cascade 3 day/2 night trip Trip Planning 8
Perry Suggestions for 3-day/2-night Uinta's Route Trip Planning 10
Stephanie Backpacking suggestions? 1 night Trip Planning 2
WasatchWill A night at Nevada's Valley of Fire State Park Hiking & Camping 7
T Advice Needed for 5 night Backpack route in Southern Utah Trip Planning 2
S Uintas 2 Night trip Trip Planning 9
IntrepidXJ Arches National Park Night Closure Trip Planning 2
Artemus Bag Night Challenge 2017 General Discussion 301
J Newbie - hoping for some advice on one night backpack in utah Noobs: Introduce yourself! 3
N 3 Day 2 Night in Utah Noobs: Introduce yourself! 4
J One night backpacking trip with swimming Trip Planning 11
Mike Jones 2-3 NIght Back country Yosemite ideas? Trip Planning 3
Artemus Bag Night Challenge 2016 General Discussion 263
Joey Invite Beer Night, Friday, January 8th Meet Up (Members Only) 20
Joey Night of the Grizzlies documentary General Discussion 3
Joey Invite Beer Night in Salt Lake City, Friday December 11th. Meet Up (Members Only) 44
ZubenElGenubi Three Day/Two Night Trip: Ansel Adams Wilderness Trip Planning 5
tozo Night Photography Exhibit in SLC Photography 0
hamtron5000 Sunday Night in Dominguez Canyon Hiking & Camping 2
N Overnight or 2 night trip in New Orleans area (or any part of LA) Trip Planning 5
Backcountry Post Bag Night Challenge 2015 General Discussion 399
Vegan.Hiker A Night on the Appalachian Trail Backpacking 13
Joey 4 Night trip in the Tetons, Grizzly Bear Lake, Paintbrush Divide, Littles Peak Backpacking 18
Phill Monson Night Photography in Moab Photography 16
Ron Diel CRNP: Temple of the Sun Evening/Night/Morning Photography 10
Backcountry Post Bag Night Challenge 2014 General Discussion 420
Nick A Night On The Reef Hiking & Camping 8
DAA Bag Night Challenge 2013 General Discussion 237

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top