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Wilson Canyon and Steamboat Rock, AZ

Guide 13 Triplogs  1 Topic
  3.8 of 5 
69 13 1
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,413 feet
Elevation Gain 778 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,277 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.69
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30  2012-04-28
7  2012-04-28
Damifino / Steamboat / Wilson
7  2012-02-16 PrestonSands
25  2010-02-27
Wilson Mountain Trail #10
15  2009-12-11 Jim_H
7  2009-09-18
Jim Thompson Trail #124
14  2009-03-13 JimmyLyding
8  2009-01-21 hippiepunkpirate
Page 1,  2
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 241
Routes 830
Photos 11,805
Trips 4,644 map ( 23,740 miles )
Age 50 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Feb → 8 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:38am - 5:45pm
Official Route
3 Alternative

Coconino National Forest
Salad and burger
by joebartels

Here I've combined two hikes into one, as both are rather short. Included below are the statistics for an individual hike on either of the two.

Wilson Canyon Trail: 2.8 miles RT - 372 feet elevation gain
Steamboat Rock: 2.7 miles RT - 723 feet elevation gain

After opting out of two other preplanned hikes I decided to check out this area. I really had no clue where I was going or what to expect on route. From the parking area you simply head straight out on the dirt going north and away from SR89A. Immediately you pass the Huckaby/Vista junction on your left. Wilson Mountain Trail takes off and up to your right. Keep strolling straight down the old dirt road, which now serves as the beginning of Wilson Canyon Trail.

The trail crosses an intermittent streambed several times along the way. This was one of the more relaxing hikes I recall to date. It was borderline hot at 86 degrees with a late start in March. I was expecting full exposure as most Sedona hikes dish up. Mid way up the canyon I realized this hike was better than expected. Although far from shady an occasional section is certainly enjoyed.

It's a pretty simple hike. You go up canyon. The trail peters out. A distinctive trail-of-use takes off on your right up the steep slope. You can go up the first tier pretty easy and get in some great views. If you want better views go up further until you reach a wall. It's not much more difficult but probably not for younger kids. I say that because I imagine tourist heavily travel this trail. I passed two families on a Thursday in March and a few couples, none of which looked like serious hikers.

On the way out I tacked on Steamboat Rock. This definitely isn't for families with young kids. At Jim Thompson junction jump on that trail. It's something like an eighth of a mile to the obvious jump off point. Cairns will likely be in place to assist you. If not you'll figure it out. Basically it's up! You can head straight up if you have a little climber in you. Otherwise minor zig zagging will do the trick.

You will know when you reach the deck "of the Steamboat". It's flat as a pancake and without a doubt the biggest smooth chunk of red rock at such altitude. You can work your way up to the upper deck but there is a minor climbing move involved. If you fell you'd seriously hurt yourself. However I don't think you'd die because there's a slight break in the grade and a tree to keep you from rolling off the mountain.

Regardless of how high you go the views are AWESOME! I don't recommend screwing around on the slanted edges. Leave the hearty boots at home. Red rock slabs are best tackled in running shoes or tevas in my opinion.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2004-03-20 joebartels
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  • Sedona Trails 2018
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    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.

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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