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Steamboat Rock - Sedona, AZ

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Guide 13 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona NE
4.8 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 0.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,714 feet
Elevation Gain 550 feet
Accumulated Gain 600 feet
Avg Time One Way 1-2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 2.5
Interest Off Trail Hiking
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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4  2013-10-20 PrestonSands
30  2012-04-28
7  2012-04-28
Damifino / Steamboat / Wilson
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
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov
Sun  6:15am - 6:24pm
Official Route
3 Alternative
All aboard!
by joebartels

Follow Wilson Canyon Trail about 0.55 miles.

Named after a trapper that chased a bear into this canyon. The bear turned on Wilson. Without a charge in his muzzle-loading rifle he climbed a juniper. The bear dragged him out and killed him. Lesson learned.

Rumors crested around 1914 as reports surfaced of old man Wilson haunting the canyon. Scribbled legend has it spooked horses pranced in terror as the apparition circled noisily. Locals Tex Ownby and Wright Clark fiddled a tale the noise was the rifle dragging around, slamming against the rocks.

Hang a left
Take a left on Jim Thompson Trail and follow for two tenths of a mile. Jim was just a rancher, this segment is safe!

Steamboat Rock is a half mile off trail up the slickrock. Cairns may help if stumble upon the correct set.

Check out the final route up the rock. Switch the map to satellite for a good overview. For the intrepid researcher that reads descriptions, here is the full route. The out-n-back is a 2.6mi / 810aeg hike.

Too scary for some. Similar to playing around on Papago Buttes in Phoenix, one must be careful and know their limits. It is a class 3 scramble if you find the correct route. Which means you could die from a fall. If it seems to risky don't do it. Remember it's usually more difficult getting down than up.

I haven't done the top. I'd imagine it's class four or above. Nevertheless the views from near the top are well worth the moderate effort for this hike. It's amazing it hasn't become more popular.

Many of the Sedona area hikes are short tourist jaunts. Bruce and I incorporated Steamboat into an 18 mile loop in 2012. Lack of waterfalls and dancing girls will keep this one under the radar.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2015-12-28 joebartels
  • wilderness related
  • Sedona Trails 2018
    region related
    Sedona Trails 2018

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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 Triplog Reviews
Steamboat Rock - Sedona
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Evening hike with my wife and mother in law. They came as far as the base of the steamboat to watch the sunset, and then I continued up alone. Had the deck of Steamboat to myself as usual, and enjoyed Mitten ridge's deep orange light show. The agaves on top looked rough, likely from the recent heatwave. We rejoined back in Wilson Canyon at dusk, and finished off the day with dinner at Oaxaca. I do love me some Steamboat.
Steamboat Rock - Sedona
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
My wife and I stayed at the Forest Houses Resort in Oak Creek Canyon during the week of New Years. I wanted a short quick but awesome and uncrowded hike that was easy to access from the canyon so this one fit the bill. I had not done Steamboat for a few years and I had never done the climb solo so it would be a personal challenge. The climb seemed easier going up than I remember but was kind of hairy going down. Views of Mitten Ridge and Munds Mountain in the late afternoon were awesome!
Steamboat Rock - Sedona
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Did a quick round trip to the deck of the Steamboat, then headed down the Huckaby Trail to enjoy Oak Creek, where a "beware of hog" sign was posted. Que? A wild boar? A Javelina? Boss Hogg? I found a nice little pool on Oak Creek and submerged myself for a very refreshing swim before heading home. A great ending to my work day. :DANCE:
Steamboat Rock - Sedona
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Left the crowds at Midgely Bridgely and climbed up on Steamboat Rock, one of my favorites in the Sedona area. Went to Joe's Ruin The Experience and out to the end of the ledge. Noticed a few pottery sherds this time, hadn't seen those before. Coming off Steamboat, I had the usual nervous moment at the little wall with the finger holds and chiseled toe holds. Got down it, then decided to look around for an easier bypass. Found an easy one about 200 feet north. :) I don't know why I hadn't looked before...

Back in Wilson Canyon, I climbed a trail (Jim Thompson?) up the east side, and took Wilson Mountain Trail back to Midgely Bridgely. Went down Huckaby Trail a ways, roaming along Oak Creek, checking out the color. The water looked inviting, but a swim would have been FREEZING. A fun afternoon wandering in perfect weather!
Steamboat Rock - Sedona
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
I wanted to hit some new areas in Sedona, and visit a little known favorite of mine.

This is the first TH I've used in awhile that was paved. I could have washed the truck. ](*,) It was nice that we were able to park the vehicle at Midgley Bridge and use it as the hub for basically 3 hikes. We were able to resupply, so we didn't have to carry as much weight.

Good thing the clouds were out until 9am or else Tibber Bartel and Tibber Coan never would have finished this hike. We crossed under Midgely, crossed over Oak Creek and headed down Huckaby for a short distance. We then scrambled up a track that Joe had drawn up and made a beeline for the Unnamed trail on the way to Mitten Ridge and the start of the Damifino Trail.

That mile or so of trail that traverses the ridge and the beginning of Damifino, is one of the most beautiful sections of trail I've been on. I have no idea why it is not shown on any maps and is unnamed.

We completed the loop going past Grasshopper Point saying hi to Hanks relatives and back to Midgley to resupply. Next it was the scramble towards the top of Steamboat Rock. More pretty views and fun climbs to get close to the helm of the ship. It was the one of the first times I had a bit of fear in climbing. I was looking for a way up to the Helm and got to a point where Joe told me (from below me) not to look down. I couldn't help myself and got that feeling in my stomach that I had to wait to pass before going back down.

Next it was off to the Classic Wilson Mountain Trail. Both of us nursing Chest Colds, and Joe whining about no sleep the night before made this tougher than it should have been. We had a trail guard that tried to get Joe to turn around.

Once passed the Trail Century, it was still a pretty good climb to the South Overlook. But well worth the effort.

Another great day on the trails. We are so lucky to have Sedona and the rest of the hiking playground, right in our back yard! Thanks for joining me Joe.
Steamboat Rock - Sedona
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Damifino / Steamboat / Wilson
Bruce and I went on a World Class hike and witnessed spectacular views. Started off with a little off-trail to the best unnamed trail in Arizona. Albeit overcast t'was a joy. We hooked up with the Dam - if - i - no trail. Apparently easier to follow than the name suggests. The sun burned off the morning layer enhancing our views.

Next up was Steamboat! The approach is Cathedral Rock squared and tourist free. I forgot to ruin the experience this time around. The Aloha Boardwalk Deck wasn't in the cards again. My good buddy Bob would knock it out in a heartbeat.

We scratched plans for Wilson Canyon and headed straight for the grand finale on Wilson Mountain. Here we passed a half dozen groups. The highlight on route was the worlds meanest hissing gopher snake. Yawner finale views sealed the deal. The sleigh was homeward bound.

Cheers cheers and sandstone dreams in a roundabout kinna way!

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

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
page created by joebartels on Apr 29 2012 11:28 am
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