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Wilson Mountain Trail #10, AZ

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Guide 117 Triplogs  3 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona NE
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 11 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,550 feet
Elevation Gain 2,444 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,700 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 24.5
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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25  2019-06-01
Wilson Mountain Loop
16  2019-06-01
Wilson Mountain Loop
16  2019-04-14
North Wilson Mountain Trail #123
8  2018-11-03 Nightstalker
19  2018-10-28 Crzy4AZ
9  2018-10-13 mt98dew
11  2018-05-03 hikerdw
30  2018-04-28 DixieFlyer
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Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,834
Trips 4,261 map ( 21,471 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Preferred   Apr, May, Oct, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:15am - 6:24pm
Official Route
7 Alternative
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Forest over Sedona!
by joebartels

The 2006 Brins Fire burned hot in areas on this mountain. A majority of the pines are gone. The views are still majestic and you may find the remaining pines simply special.

Arizona is represented well on this rewarding trail. Parking can be a challenge in itself as this is a popular roadside viewing pullout. Park and head on over to the picnic ramada. Check out the trail map. The first step on this trail is up as are most. Immediately you enter typical Sedona forest. It's easy to appreciate Sedona on this trail from the beginning. Healthy manzanita against the deep red soil is perfect. Excellent photo opportunities are present early on in the trail. Including an overview shot of the Midgely bridge with Oak Creek running south. After a few switchbacks the trail levels out as it heads on over to Wilson Mountain. The noise from 89A goes away. Look up at Wilson Mountain. The top is capped with a dark volcanic basalt. To the right appears to be a grassy saddle. This is actually the First Bench of Wilson Mountain. It's a long ways to the first bench so set a good pace. Along this stretch you will pass under two sets of power lines. Just before the level terrain gives way to a knee burning ascent a junction is encountered for Wilson Canyon Trail #49 and Jim Thompson Trail #124.

Continue on, which is up, and soon encounter the trail register. The trail begins to get rocky and is less defined. Less impressive vegetation is encountered. Just shy but near level with Steamboat Rock small size boulders litter the trail. At this point grass surrounds the trail and you begin to feel more comfortable that you're on track. I passed a huge mushroom. It was at least eight inches in diameter and seemed out of place in this dry area. A ravine is encountered and things get a bit more exciting. Look over your shoulder for some scenic rewards. A gnarly picturesque pine is passed crossing the ravine for the first time. Once on the other side of the ravine look over to your right and you are basically level with Steamboat Rock. The vegetation thickens up. You will definitely know your destination at this point. To be honest it's a bit discouraging looking at the task ahead.

Parallel with the fin of Steamboat Rock you cross the ravine twice. Emery Oak shrub is overgrown crossing the ravine. Looking out over the Sedona valley, spires jut up everywhere. You can see Schnebly Hill Road winding up in the distance. Continue the ascent. When you top out on the First Bench of Wilson Mountain take note of your surroundings. As the trail junctions in an indistinctive way ( at least in 2000 ). Going up it is obvious. On the way back it's less obvious and you could take a wrong turn. About a half mile in you come to a real junction with North Wilson Mountain Trail #123. It is steeper coming in from the Encinoso Picnic area between mile markers 379 and 380 on 89A.

Continuing left from the junction a couple long and switchbacks deliver you to the near flat top. At the turn of the first switchback is a magnificent view of the San Francisco peaks. At 4 miles you come to a junction with the southern overlook. The 2006 Brins Mesa Fire torched the forest. I highly recommend the southern overlook ( turn left ). It only adds a little bit of gain and is under a mile round trip. An old metal locker previously used for water and shovels to aid in battling fires is encountered quickly on that jaunt.

For #10 proper take a right at the junction continuing an easy 1.5 miles to the northern overlook. The view is impressive with Oak Creek on your right leading to the San Fransciso Peaks. Head on is East Pocket which A.B. Young Trail #100 ascends to out of Oak Creek. The lookout tower on top may take a few minutes of squinting to find. Vultee Arch is down to your left in the maze or supai sandstone.

According to the 2018 FS map camping is allowed outside the green line. If you can't read a map, do not camp anywhere on planet earth.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2000-04-20 joebartels
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    Sedona Trails 2018

Coconino FS Details
This hike heads straight for some of the most panoramic views in the Oak Creek Canyon/Sedona area. Plan a full day for it and start early - the climb up Wilson Mountain is a strenuous one. The majority of the 2300 foot climb is packed into the first mile or so of the hike. You'll have more reasons than just exertion to stop and take a breather along this route, however. The views start as soon as you leave the car and they just keep getting better.

There is shade along parts of this trail but enough of it is out in the open to make it hot work under a summer sun. An alternate, cooler route is provided by North Wilson Trail which starts just north of Encinoso Picnic Area, 3 miles up canyon from Midgely Bridge. The two trails join at a point midway up the mountain.

At the top you'll be rewarded with views that stretch over hundreds of square miles of scenic canyon country and include Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Coffee Pot Rock, Capitol Butte, Sterling Canyon and the Verde Valley.

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 25 deeper Triplog Reviews
Wilson Mountain Trail #10
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After spending Saturday hiking in the Pinals and then stopping by Tibberfest for dinner, I decided to head up to Sedona with Lee & Carrie. We met at the Happy Valley Park n Ride at 6:15am and headed north. Sedona was still relatively quiet when we drove through and there was plenty of parking by Midgely Bridge at 8am. We geared up and started hiking. The going is fairly easy to start but the trail starts gaining elevation after roughly a mile in. From there the trail climbs and climbs as it switchbacks to the top of Wilson Mountain. Once up top we headed to the viewpoint on the south side where we took a break and enjoyed the views. After that we started our descent. Going down was fairly easy and we made good time. There were only a handful of people on the trail. We expected more. The parking area was packed and people were all over. We wanted to hike more so we detoured over to Oak Creek and let the dogs enjoy the water. After that we loaded up and headed south back to Phoenix. Along the way we made a quick stop at Bell Rock and then returned home. It was a lot of fun hiking with Lee, Carrie & the dogs.
Wilson Mountain Trail #10
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A. nice little hike up Wilson with John and Carrie today. This was my first time making it all the way to southern view point and it was well worth it. The trail up is in pretty good shape, although, it got a little warm on the way down. A lot of people at the bridge when we returned, but we only ran into a few groups on the trail. After reaching the trailhead, we made the quick detour down Huckaby to take the dogs swimming.
Wilson Mountain Trail #10
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Pine Mountain Wilderness was the objective today, however, we hit some mud on that way in that was saying otherwise. In fact, I was very lucky to have been able to even get the Xterra turned around, so after our morning tour of Dugas, it was back to the highway and a plan B, Wilson Mountain.

It was still raining pretty good when we reached the trailhead, so we waited a half a half an hour in the car before stepping off. We didn't have to buy a red rock pass, because access was free due to the holiday. We started to a light drizzle, but it quit pretty quickly, however, the effects of a couple days of rain and snow were very evident. The trail is pretty much flowing like a robust creek right now, with ankle deep water in spots and every step-up transformed into a small cascade. The views back into Sedona were great and there were also several small waterfalls in the drainages paralleling the trail that made it very hard to put down the camera in the first few miles. After we hit the saddle, the snow started. We ended up putting on micro-spikes for the final 2 miles and while it could have been done without them, we were happy to have them. By the time we reached 6700-7000 feet, we were breaking new trail and trudging along through foot deep snow. We took a small break near the end of the official route and then headed back down. Jackie spotted an amazing waterfall across 89, so we made a detour down North Wilson Mountain Trail to find a good vantage point, but I struck out on the first viewpoint and quickly lost my zeal after an even heavier fog moved in. We hiked through a snow, sleet, rain precip. combo as we made our way down and Jackie got a little cold, but we made it. The TH/viewpoint parking was full by the time we arrived and the rain steady, so it did not take much time to load the dogs, drop the wet gear and get out of there with the heat on high.

What a great plan B, something tells me Wilson Mountain probably blew the doors off whatever the Verde Rim Trail and Pine Mountain had to offer today. The conditions, although bothersome at times, created some spectacular views and a sublime setting that probably elevated this hike to one of the better ones I have done in recent memory.
Wilson Mountain Trail #10
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As one of the more visible landscapes from downtown Sedona this had been on my wishlist for a while – I drove up mid-day Saturday and was greeted by a few mile traffic jam driving through Oak Creek and into Sedona from the south. Yes, the one time I try to have a relaxing morning and actually make breakfast, have a mimosa, and hit the gym (yes, in that order), I end up expectedly paying for it and after traffic and a sluggish stop for lunch we didn’t get to the trailhead until 1ish. The bridge parking was packed and I squeezed into one of the last creatable spots.

It was nice for a change to do a hike that didn’t require any scrambling but rather just consisted of a mildly graded trail. Granted that trail increased 2000’+, but this was a hike, not a climb, which matched the mellow vibe of the day casted over by clouds and 60 degree weather. The wind turned once we arrived at the saddle, so we went only a bit further, found shelter and took in the views for a while. To the north I had views up to the San Franiscos, where it was clearly dumping…turns out 10”. Fun to watch (even as I secretly wished I was on the slopes). As we still had well over a mile but only a few hundred more elevation to go, we were satisfied with the views from the upper saddle and turned back in high spirits, guided by the sun poking out and prodding us towards post-hike beers.

Half-way down I found my first rattler, named Dazzle by my wife and friend in an attempt to befriend the legless reptile to calm their nerves. She (as determined by them – apparently female snakes are less scary to the unnerved) had nice green coloring and a small rattle. I’d estimate 4’ length total, although coiled during much of our visit. As she began to extend towards me I took heed of the abrupt end of her hospitality and we were on our way.
Wilson Mountain Trail #10
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I wasn't sure if I would get a parking spot at the bridge, but I lucked out on the second try. First thing on the list was Wilson's highpoint. Point 7122 is the highest according to the map, but in person, an outcrop south of that is visibly higher. My GPS also showed an extra contour at the southern end of the knoll, so I think I picked the right spot. I hit both overlooks afterwards. Cloudy, but great views on the north side; prime, partly-sunny views at the south side.

Loved this hike. Scenic overload!
Wilson Mountain Trail #10
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Morning Glory - Sterling Loop
Finally got a loop around Wilson. jj felt a little uneasy driving up noticing I was wearing pants and a long sleeve shirt. "Off trail on this hike?"... no worse, the overnight low is 31 :scared:

55 degrees starting just before 9am and not much over 60 all day. Hiking weather.

Saw a few individuals heading over Wilson Bench. First time on Jim Thompson. Nice, nearby trails are nicer. Cibola is one of the nicest non water trails around Sedona.

Up and down MG Spire in 1h 15m at a nothing special pace. Couldn't clear the first pitch last month due to a chest injury earlier in the month. Healthy made all the difference. The first pitch was no trouble up or down. The slant up higher was as I remembered. First look it appears a bit sketchy. One or two steps into it and it seems impossible to have trouble unless you jumped out of the crack and off the wall.

Sink hole, seven super sacred pools then off to the arches. Morning light was the ticket last month. Just fair this round, almost dark inside mid day. Crossed paths with a group of interesting people, really just wanted to keep

First time on the west side of Brins. Most probably like the red rock east but the west is cypress tree canopy. A pleasant surprise. Up Vultee and down Sterling. The scariest part of the hike was the last mile along the highway. No shoulder and cars whizzing by ultra close.

not much, very isolated
Wilson Mountain Trail #10
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I decided to try going up North Wilson Mountain Trail this round and was actually able to get to the North Overlook. Last time (maybe a year and half ago), there were so many downed trees that we decided to turn around before we made it and just go to the Sedona Overlook. I meant to go to the true summit on the way out, but must have been in a hiking groove, as suddenly I was heading down past the trail split and had missed going up there. Tons of butterflies on the North Wilson Trail on the way out.
Wilson Mountain Trail #10
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Part 2 of our Sedona double. We had a good nite's rest and big breakfast so off we went hoping to find a parking spot at the TH; which we did. We geared up, looked under the bridge and then started up and around a switchback or two before more or less leveling out for a little while. It was fun trying to figure out how this trail was going to get us up and over there somewhere. The views to the west were fabulous :DANCE: and so the snapping of pictures began because we knew we wouldn't have this light on our way down.

About 9:20ish we arrived at the Wilderness sign and headed north and then west before going north again. Somewhere around here I figured we were heading for the big saddle way above us. It gets a little rocky here. Eventually we reached a drainage and then again before hitting the pour off. The description of this trail is pretty good so we were doing our checklist :wrt: :
    two sets of powerlines, check
    ravine, check
    level with Steamboat Rock, check
    cross the ravine twice, check
    Schnebly Hill road in the distance, check
As we hiked up the side of the mountain we kept waiting for the steep part to kick in. For whatever reason it really never did as the climb is very gradual, though like Kelly said, it sure didn't seem so on the way down. Plus on the way down it seemed much rockier than on the way up. We were continually impressed with ever-widening expansive views we were treated to as we trudged our way across a couple switchbacks. I do remember Kelly saying "the saddle is not too far" and I think I said something to the effect, "well maybe not to YOU ;) :lol: ". I try to keep my whining to a minimum but sometimes I just can't help myself.

Soon enough we were at the saddle/bench around 11. We had been behind another fellow that we would soon be leap-frogging with and he verified the positioning of Steamboat Rock. Kelly decided we would break at the junction with the Wilson Canyon trail which was just fine with me. The saddle had the better views but the junction had a nice shaded seating area too.

And now we just had a Shaw Butte left so we got back on the trail. Once again I guessed that we would head up and west and then around a corner before topping out at the last saddle and that's about exactly what we did. Once again, this up was easier than expected. Gawd life is great for me when that happens :D . We enjoyed the scenery with some interspersed fall color thru the burn area as well as views into various parts of the canyon below us and further away were closer and closer views of the Peaks. Yep it was a good day and little did we know it would get better.

After going over a bit of deadfall and one last steeper section we arrived at the final saddle around noonish I think. We discussed our timing to do both viewpoints. I knew I wanted to do the north for sure so we figured out what our timing would need to be to do both and off we went. On this section we would negotiate more deadfall interspersed with grassy areas. You could see where the end was on both sides for part of this hike. As we got near the viewpoint we encountered a female hiker we had met at the saddle. We would also see her again at the Sedona viewpoint. We made good time and 45 minutes later, the view we had hoped for was before us :y: .

We took pics of the views before sitting to enjoy the grand scenery. Kelly mentioned something about Vultees Arch and I just happen to look to my left and there it was. Now if I had tried to find it, I don't think I would have spotted it that quickly. So I got a few pics of that as well as of the fire remnants and up the canyon. I think about 1:15 we headed out but not before encountering a hiker and his little dog which made us think of Daisy.

We were back at the saddle 1/2 hour later and started our hike out to the Sedona Overlook. We checked out the tool/maintenance box that was standing almost vertically against a tree before heading up the incline, thru the forest, and then over to the viewpoint where we saw a few other hikers. We veered to the right to a rock outcropping to sit and take in the views before us as well as take pictures of course. I wanted to take particular note of where we were sitting so I could decipher it when we got back to the TH. The sun didn't help with the taking pictures but that's ok; we loved it nonetheless.

Around 2:30 it was time to head back as it would probably take about 3 hours to get down so off we went. The north side of the mountain provided shade as we headed back down to the bench. We saw 5 hikers I think along this stage. At the bench we checked out a path that took us to the edge of the saddle but not really anything new to see here so we continued on.

We started off the bench around 3:25. We were surprised at how much rockier the trail seemed on the way down. We still stopped on occasion to admire the view but were disappointed that the sun would not give us the view of the Schnebly Road formations we had hoped to see in better light at this time of day. We did enjoy the forested area as it's a nice change from the wide open grassy side of the trail alongside the mountain. It's pretty through here with the cypress and juniper and such; hard to get a good pic of it though.

We thot that pour off was right around the corner but you actually have to go over another drainage and then around the corner to get to the pour off. I had told Kelly a little earlier that I wanted to stop at the pour off for one last break (around 4:15) before knocking out the rest of the trail. We ended up ogling a bit at some of the landscape on our way down too so we didn't get back to the TH until a little before 5:15. We studied the sign at the TH to see our route and other routes. We looked way up high to see where we were sitting less than 2 3/4 hours ago.

But no, we were not done yet as Kelly insisted we do down below the bridge to take a closer look at the landscape below :) . Which reminds me, I have yet to put together the little video on that. Anyway, it was nice to enjoy this scenery at the end of a 12 mile day. Drank the other 1/2 of my beer and we headed out looking forward to our dinner and for me a Blue Moon brew (out of Denver) at the Blue Moon Cafe in the Village of Oak Creek; a very fitting end to our Sedona double weekend :DANCE: .

4 videos:
Wilson Mountain Trail #10
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wilson mountain is another hike that i've wanted to do ever since i've had the 100 classic hikes book
i've made at least two attempts when the trail was closed for fire reasons
planned a bear/wilson double with angela and rescheduled twice
this turned out to be the perfect day for it
had a nice breakfast at the coffee pot restaurant and hit the trail around 9:00
the first mile and a half is uphill but a moderate grade through classic sedona terrain
after crossing a drainage with a cool pour off, the trail switchbacks up more steeply
the grade is consistent, allowing for a steady pace
it didn't actually seem that steep until the return, but we stopped often to take photos and admire the views
you gain the first bench of wilson mountain just under three miles, and right at three is the junction with north wilson
we stopped for a snack break at the point and discussed whether we wanted to go to the north overlook, the sedona overlook, or both
the next section climbs to the wilson summit plateau
the trail here is a bit more overgrown and narrow
oak trees provided a bit of fall color, and we could see down into oak creek canyon and also a nice view of the san francisco peaks
upon reaching the point where the sedona overlook trail heads south, we figured out that we had time for both viewpoints and went to the north overlook first
not much elevation change on that mile and a half segment
lots of downed trees to climb over, and fire damage from 2006
the north overlook is awesome, with views down into sterling canyon and oak creek canyon
we spotted vultee arch and some bright red maples
had lunch there and admired the views for half an hour
went back to the junction and then to the sedona overlook another half mile away
nice high perspective of some classic rock formations, airport mesa, sedona and oak creek canyon
not the best light at this point in the afternoon
headed back down with a few photo stops and a short break at the pour off
checked out the views at midgely bridge at the trailhead and found three more hikes to put on the list
hit the blue moon on the way out of town
a fun weekend with good weather, good company and two more peaks
worth waiting for :)
Wilson Mountain Trail #10
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Cool hike with JJ3 above Oak Creek in the north part of Sedona. Coming down from Wilson Mnt on the north side on trail #123 is very pretty. Tall pines and lush. I tweaked my foot yesterday so I cut my hike short at the end of North Wilson Mnt Trail and waited for John to go back up and over on #10 to Midgely and get his car. Wandered down to Oak Creek and relaxed for a while.

We got stuck in traffic on I17 coming home. Apparently a jumper at the Northern Ave overpass. It took us 1.5 hrs to go three miles. Once past the gridlock we made extremely good time getting home. :o Thanks for driving John. Good times. :)

Permit $$
Red Rock Pass - may or may not be required. Go to Red Rock Pass then check "When is a Red Rock Pass Required?". If you have questions contact the Coconino forest service.

Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness
see map for camping restrictions

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To Midgely Trailhead
From I-17 exit on 298 and head west towards Sedona. From Downtown Sedona head north on Highway 89a for approximately 3 miles to Midgley Bridge. There's ample parking on the north west side of the bridge.

Location: 22 miles south of Flagstaff (2 miles north of Sedona) on paved roads in scenic Oak Creek Canyon. Elevation ranges from 4600' to 6900'.

Access: Drive 22 miles south of Flagstaff or 2 miles north of Sedona on U. S. 89A. The trailhead is just north of Midgely Bridge where you'll find a small parking lot and a monument to Richard Wilson who was killed by a grizzly in this area in 1885.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 123 mi - about 2 hours 4 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 228 mi - about 3 hours 32 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 26.5 mi - about 40 mins
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