Hiking Project Logo

Wilson Mountain North to South

  4.5 ( 13 ) Favorite


10.2 mile 16.4 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 2,451' 747 m
Descent: -2,659' -810 m
High: 6,992' 2,131 m
Low: 4,542' 1,384 m


Avg Grade: 10% (5°)
Max Grade: 45% (24°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by JC Condon

A steep and rocky route leading to some of the best views of Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona.

JC Condon

Features Views · Wildlife

Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass required to park at either trailhead.


The view from the summit of Wilson Mountain provides one of the best views of Sedona and the surrounding area. Make sure to to take the trail to the north side of the mountain as it provides awesome views of Sterling Pass and Humphrey's Peak (on a clear day).

Parking at either trailhead can be difficult on a busy day. Start early and avoid the weekend if possible. A car shuttle is an option for this hike, but cell service can be spotty in the canyon.

Need to Know

Snow can linger on the North Wilson Trail #123 in winter and early spring, and no matter where you go in summer expect brutal temperatures and be sure to bring plenty of water.


From the Encinoso Picnic Area Trailhead, hike north out of the parking lot on the North Wilson Trail #123 and start heading uphill as the trail starts turning to the south. The trail is well-maintained and makes its way up towards the sandstone cliffs of Oak Creek among scrub oak.

As you near the cliff, the trail will bend back to the north as you climb sharply up the craggy slope. Lots of impressive rock work has been done here to stabilize the trail. When you top-out after the steepest section, you are rewarded with a sweeping view from the First Bench. Columnar basalt cliffs across the way and small glimpses of what you'll see if you continue to the top.

At the junction with the Wilson Mountain Trail #10, head uphill to one final steep section of trail to reach the flat summit (passing a fire crew cache box). There will be a signed junction pointing left for a Sedona View and right for the Oak Creek View. Both are spectacular, though the official trail as marked on this map guides you to the Oak Creek View as an out and back. The Sedona overlook is a short (less than 1 mile round trip) excursion and you can see Vultee Arch from above. Both of these are some of the most spectacular views of Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon.

After you have had your fill of the scenery, head back to the first bench and the North Wilson Trail #123 junction. For the full adventure, head south (right) to take the Wilson Canyon Trail to the Midgley Bridge Observation Site trailhead. If you have someone picking you up, lucky you. If you are on your own, it is suggested that you hike back down via the North Wilson Trail #123 to the Encinoso Trailhead.

The Wilson Canyon Trail winds its way down the slopes towards Sedona with great views along the way. At the bottom, you'll encounter a number of spur trails and the Wilson Canyon trail. Junctions should be well-marked leading to the trailhead, but so long as you head south and do not take the Jim Thompson Trail, you'll get to Midgley Bridge.

History & Background

Some large fires have burned the upper slopes in recent years, but substantial trail work has been done to re-route and stabilize the trail.

Hiked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna


Rate This Featured Hike

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Check In


Sep 2, 2019
Ale Grajal
Jun 19, 2019
Rachel H
Mar 26, 2019
Michelle Nordeen
Jan 17, 2019
Kenny Gatliff
Nov 10, 2018
Wade Ross
Sep 25, 2018
Jess Banasiak
May 17, 2018
Chas Mangarpan
Started from Jim Thompson trail which added around 4 miles to the trip. The climb us was tough but not as painful as coming back down. The trail i… 14.1mi
Apr 7, 2018
Jeff Grogan
Not for the faint of heart. The views from the top are spectacular.

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 13 votes


  4.5 from 13 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Featured Hike Rankings


in Arizona


30 Views Last Month
4,174 Since Apr 23, 2015



Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking