Last updated: December 13, 2022
The hike to "the Notch" is a challenging day hike that proceeds through McKittrick Canyon to a dramatic viewpoint about half way up toward McKittrick Ridge. For most hikers this destination makes a dramtic turn-around point for an excellent day hike in McKittrick Canyon.
Distance: 9.0 miles (14.5 km) round-trip, out and back
Elevation Change: 1,092 feet
Time Estimate: 5-7 hours
Difficulty: Difficult, past the Grotto
From the Pratt Cabin the trail continues up the canyon, and the trail surface transitions away from river gravels. It continues to follow the stream. About 3.5 miles into the run you'll reach the Grotto, an excellent picnic spot. Only a short distance beyond the Grotto is Hunter Line Shack.
Once back on the main trail, as you head up canyon, the grade begins to steepen significantly. The trail from here to the Notch includes steep grades, and several switchbacks. From the Notch overlook you'll have outstanding views of South McKittrick Canyon in both directions.
Trail surfaces are loose rock or hardened rock surfaces. Hiking or trekking poles are highly recommended. Trail widths vary from two to six feet depending on the trail.
All trailhead areas have accessible parking available.
Only service animals that have been individually trained to perform specific tasks for the benefit of persons with disabilities are allowed in the park and on trails.