Wilson Mountain

Wilson Mountain

Wilson Mountain

Make no mistake, this is a big hike. Some of the Forest Service info below I think is a little off. Almost two thirds of the elevation is gained between mile 1.5 & 2.5. The rest between miles 3 & 4. For a total of 5.3 miles (one way not including side trail on top). Give yourself at least 6-7 hours for this hike. Pace yourself, you’ll be glad you did. Two snacks, a lunch and a lot of water. It can be cool on top in spring and fall too, maybe take a windbreaker just in case.

If you are in shape for this, you are going to love it. As you start gaining altitude the rocks you were looking up at are soon at eye level, and shortly after, below you. Once on top of ‘The First Bench’ it opens up a lot and you know the worst is over. There’s about a half mile of meandering, then your heading up the last 600+ feet of elevation in the cover of trees.

When you get to the very top the trail starts to flatten out. Somewhere in this vicinity there is a side trail on the left. It goes down to the SE edge of the mountain. It is only about .4 miles long and the views are killer. You can even see over the top of Munds Mtn.

Once back on the main trail there is about 1.5 miles remaining to the North view point at the end of the trail. This is way worth seeing. Vultee Arch below left, Slide Rock below right. Oak Creek Canyon travels almost straight North pointing directly at the San Francisco Peaks. It is a grand sight indeed, stay awhile.

The way back is a breeze until you start to drop off the edge of the First Bench. The loose rocks tend to roll under the feet, trying to land you on your fanny. Slow down and focus until you pass the next switchback. Then your sailin’ downhill to the car. What a great day.

Below is what the Coconino National Forest website has to say.
Or you can go there by clicking “Here”

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.

Rating: Strenuous
Use: Moderate
Hiking time: 5 hours round trip

No mechanized vehicles in Wilderness.
This trail can be hot in summer.
Elevation ranges from 4600′ to 6900′.
Open Season: Year ’round
Usage: Light-Medium
Best Season: April to November
Operated By: Red Rock District – 928-203-2900

USGS Maps: Wilson Mtn., Munds Park

Directions: Drive 22 miles south of Flagstaff or 2 miles north of Sedona on U. S. 89A. The trailhead is at the north side 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.