“A steep climb up to the First Bench on Wilson Mountain that stays cooler in the shadows.”
— JC Condon
Views · Wildlife
Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass required to park at the trailhead.
From the Encinoso Picnic Area Trailhead, hike North out of the parking lot 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
you can either turn around, or take on one more steep section (passing a fire crew cache box) to the top of the flat-topped peak and gain some of the most spectacular views of Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon.