Gunsight Notch Peak
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 enjoyable as the ascent up it.
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
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
We continue ascending the canyon.
We leave the canyon before reaching the end.
We soon look for a place to leave the canyon.
Out of the canyon and into the sunshine
After leaving the canyon we followed cairns to the summit.
Before going up the summit, we peer through Gunsight Notch.
Starting from the notch
Looking back at the notch
Rainbow Peak and Rainbow Wall
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)