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Wilson Mountain North to South

Difficult
 4.5 (13) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


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Map Key

10.2

Miles

16.4

KM

Point to Point

6,992' 2,131 m

High

4,542' 1,384 m

Low

2,451' 747 m

Up

2,659' 810 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (5°)

45%

Max Grade (24°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Views · Wildlife

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

Overview

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.

Description

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

JC Condon

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 13 votes

#1066

Overall
  4.5 from 13 votes
5 Star
54%
4 Star
38%
3 Star
8%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#46

in Arizona

#1,066

Overall
45 Views Last Month
4,796 Since Apr 23, 2015
Difficult

0%
0%
17%
0%
75%
8%

Photos

We were lucky to have the Wilson Mountain Trail to ourselves and covered in a blanket of snow.
Feb 23, 2017 near Sedona, AZ
Looking back at the imposing sandstone cliffs of Oak Creek Canyon while on the North Wilson Trail.
Nov 15, 2015 near Sedona, AZ
Sedona - Bridge
Mar 18, 2019 near Sedona, AZ
Wilson Mountain Trail after a December snowfall
Dec 25, 2015 near Sedona, AZ
Great scenery along the Wilson Mountain Trail
Dec 25, 2015 near Sedona, AZ
Agave and cactus line the Wilson Mountain Trail.
Dec 25, 2015 near Sedona, AZ

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Check-Ins

Sep 2, 2019
Ale Grajal
10mi
Jun 19, 2019
Rachel H
Mar 26, 2019
Michelle Nordeen
6mi
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.