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North Wilson Mountain Trail #123
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mini location map2021-08-21
19 by photographer avatarddgrunning
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North Wilson Mountain Trail #123Sedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 21 2021
ddgrunning
Hiking12.23 Miles 2,709 AEG
Hiking12.23 Miles   6 Hrs   56 Mns   2.01 mph
2,709 ft AEG      51 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Left the East Valley about 5:30 a.m. and were on the trail in Sedona by 8 a.m. There are two trailheads for this hike. We started on the North Wilson Mountain TH, which begins at the Encinoso day use area and eventually connects with the Wilson Mountain Trail, after about 3 miles of hiking. The North TH is a lot more "forestry" and green, with more shade, while the Wilson TH is more open and exposed, but with more views of the surrounding red rock that characterizes Sedona.

The N. Wilson trail climbs right out of the gate, and we put up about 1000 ft of elevation in the first 1.5 miles. It was a page right out of Indian Garden to the top of the GC. That said, the climb was beautiful, with the surrounding forest and greenery. The temps were also nice and the shade was good. The humidity was a little annoying, but all good. Very few people on this part of the trail, so we enjoyed a lot of solitude.

After two miles, the trail topped out on a flat area called "First Bench," where the landscape opens up and where a fire came through about 15 years ago. Lots of meadow and wildflowers here, including a nice patch of sunflowers.

Then it was more climbing after the N. Wilson and Wilson trails merged, up to the top of the mountain, which is itself more a flat plateau, and which, upon reaching, we arrived at a fork that would allow us to head out to the south overlook (0.4 mi.) or the north overlook (1.5 mi.). Naturally, we decided to do both!

The south overlook, gives expansive views down on Sedona and surrounding area. We relaxed there and ate lunch, before retracing our steps and then heading to the north lookout. The section heading to the north lookout had been pretty scorched by the fire in 2006 and was the least scenic portion of the hike. However, the burn area did not extend all the way to the north lookout, which remains surrounded by some nice, tall pine trees and related foliage. In fact, the trees obscured some parts of the north lookout, which on first view didn't seem as impressive as the south view. But, with a little exploring, we discovered some alternate viewpoints, with awesome views and an ideal campsite right on the edge of the rim, from which I'm sure it is spectacular to watch the sunset. We made a note to come back and do this as an overnighter.

On the way down, at the junction, my wife suggested that I hike down to the Wilson trailhead while she headed back down to the car, and then she would shuttle over to pick me up. It was nice to get to experience both trails. The Wilson trail ends at the Midgley Bridge over 89A. The bridge itself is kind of cool, and it was fun to check it out.

Another great Sedona hike in the books
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