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Gunsight Notch Peak
Red Rock Canyon NCA, Nevada
November 5, 2009

While researching peaks in Red Rock, Dinah and I discovered photos of Terrace Canyon, a stunning canyon comprising red layered rock. Not content with just reaching the canyon we also wanted to climb a peak. It appeared Gunsight Notch Peak fit the bill. Although it bypasses Terrace Canyon, the route incorporates Gunsight Notch Canyon which also has impressive rock terraces.

Pine Creek Trail is used to access several peaks in Red Rocks including Gunsight Notch Peak. We followed the trail to the canyon entrance. The canyon is strewn with boulders, and we spent much time searching for ways up, through or around them.

When we came to the first fork we kept left, staying in Pine Creek Canyon. It was narrower here, and we were astonished when a mountain sheep came bounding past us. We pressed against the canyon walls to allow it room. It was gone in a couple of seconds.

We continued to the next fork. Again keeping left, (the right fork goes to Terrace Canyon) we ascended a beautiful canyon, stepped with rock layers. The canyon extended for quite a ways, and we loved every minute of it. Eventually the canyon end loomed ahead and we scaled the left side to gain the open slopes high up. Rising above was the white summit of Gunsight Notch Peak, and we scrambled up easily.

Although Gunsight Notch Peak is dwarfed by taller surrounding peaks, it was the journey that we relished the most rather than the summit views. The trip back down the canyon was every bit as fun as the ascent up it.

GPX Track

MOVIE (posted on YouTube)

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Gunsight Notch Peak is surrounded by taller mountains


The route goes left of Mescalito Peak (centre) and then left again


Foundation of the old Wilson homestead


Sighting a gray fox was totally unexpected


Fall colours at the canyon entrance


Going deep into the canyon


Decorated wall


Another unusual canyon wall


Dinah uses stepping stones to cross the stream


I didn't expect to see flowers in November!


I didn't expect to see vines either


Looking back down the canyon


Coming to the second fork


Starting up the last fork


The right fork (behind) leads to Terrace Canyon


Striking scenery ahead


First of a few terraces


The canyon narrows


We continued ascending the canyon


We left the canyon before reaching the end


More terraces


We soon looked for a place to exit the canyon


Out of the shadowy canyon and into the sunshine


After leaving the canyon we followed cairns to the summit


The summit


Before going up the summit, we peered through Gunsight Notch


Starting from the notch


Looking back at the notch


The summit


Rainbow Peak and Rainbow Wall


Heading back


Despite the steep incline, the rock held our boots well


Blue Diamond, La Madre and Mountain Spring 1:24,000 Topos (6.3 mi, 6201 ft, 2162 ft)


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