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Wilson Mountain Loop, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona NW
4 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 17.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,755 feet
Elevation Gain 1,555 feet
Accumulated Gain 4,100 feet
Avg Time Hiking 6-10 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 31.56
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25  2019-06-01 joebartels
16  2019-06-01 The_Eagle
13  2016-03-23
Morning Glory - Sterling Loop
3  2016-03-23
Morning Glory - Sterling Loop
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
Trips 4,256 map ( 21,429 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, May, Mar
Sun  6:11am - 6:31pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
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Geology Nearby
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outta the skillet red rock feature tour
by joebartels

Semi avid loop on various terrain. You will pass four iconic Sedona features with a healthy dose of red rock, garnished with Arizona Cypress.

Ascend 2.15 mi up North Wilson Mountain Trail #123. It's a hearty 1,545 ft up and midway across First Bench of Wilson Mountain to Wilson Mountain Trail #10.

Drop 2.25 mi / 1,545 ft down with a photogenic view of Steamboat & The Sail to Jim Thompson Trail #124. After the major ascent & descent Jim Thompson is a welcomed change of pace. This historic road isn't a staple of best-of or cause-driven guides slapping social media like a drunk cash register. If you can get over the utility line it's a great hike around Steamboat Rock.

Following the Official Route for this guide you can avoid the Jordan Trailhead by crossing the road where Jim & Jordan get close. Then follow Jordan Trail 0.2 mi to Cibola Pass Trail.

Jordan & Cibola don't get social luv but I'm a fan of the twisted
Arizona Cypress. An 0.65 mi stroll on Cibola is a shortcut to the end of Jordan. In about 0.35 mi you arrive at Devil's Kitchen. Experienced technical climbers can add in the class four Morning Glory Spire.

Merge onto Soldier Pass Trail #66 heading north. In 0.35 mi you pass the Seven Sacred Pools. Follow the Official Route closely for 1.0 mi & 500 ft to Soldier's Arch.

Carefully crawl up through the arch to Brins Mesa. It's about a third of a mile to merge onto Brins Mesa Trail #119. Along the way you might be near Hole in the Sky. Next hike the least two exciting segments.
2.0 mi WNW to Brins Mesa Trailhead
1.9 mi N then NE on FR 152 to Vultee / Bear Sign Trailhead.

Rejoice and continue a leisure 1.6 mi / 380 ft E on Vultee Arch Trail #22 to a view of Vultee Arch. Wolf down a bowl of Wheaties for the 1.1 mi / 770 ft ascent to Sterling Pass. Rest. Admire. Drop 1.1 mi / 1,100 feet to Sterling Trailhead.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

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

2019-06-04 joebartels
  • wilderness related
  • Sedona Trails 2018
    region related
    Sedona Trails 2018
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
Wilson Mountain Loop
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
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 Loop
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Pretty sweet loop around Wilson Mountain of course linking a handful of trails together. :D I was having an off day so I skipped a sidetrip to Vultree Arch or the top of Wilson Mt and my time logged includes 2 half hour siestas along the way. :zzz:

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 hike
To avoid the mile of highway as posted in the guide this needs to be a shuttle. Leave a vehicle on the narrow apron at Sterling Trailhead. See directions @ Sterling Pass Trail #46

Then start at North Wilson Mountain Trailhead which is Encinoso Picnic Site. Red Rock Pass required at Encinoso.

Dangerous IMO but you can walk the narrow highway and start from other trailheads like Jordan, Brins or Vultee.
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