Wilson Mountain Trail In Arizona

Here is everything you need to know about the Wilson Mountain Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Arizona
  • Length: 5 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: Coconino National Forest
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Not available.

The Wilson Mountain Trail, located in Coconino National Forest in Arizona, holds a significant historical background. The trail is named after Richard Wilson, an early settler in the area who arrived in the late 1800s. Wilson was known for his adventurous spirit and love for exploring the rugged terrain of the region. He played a crucial role in the development of the trail, which was initially used by Native American tribes for hunting and trading.

In the early 1900s, the Wilson Mountain Trail gained popularity among hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. It became a favored route for those seeking breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes, including the iconic red rocks of Sedona. The trail’s historical significance is also tied to the construction of the Sedona-Oak Creek Canyon Road, which was completed in 1938. The Wilson Mountain Trail served as a vital access point to the road, allowing travelers to explore the natural beauty of the area.

Over the years, the Wilson Mountain Trail has witnessed various improvements and modifications to enhance accessibility and safety. The trail’s historical importance is not only rooted in its connection to early settlers and Native American tribes but also in its contribution to the development of recreational opportunities in the region. Today, the Wilson Mountain Trail continues to attract visitors from around the world, offering a glimpse into the rich history and natural wonders of the Coconino National Forest.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Midgley Bridge Trailhead: This is the most popular access point for the Wilson Mountain Trail. It is located off State Route 89A, about 9 miles north of Sedona. There is a parking area near the bridge where you can start your hike.

2. Encinoso Picnic Area: This is another access point for the Wilson Mountain Trail, located about 1.5 miles north of Midgley Bridge. It offers a small parking area and picnic tables.

3. North Wilson Trailhead: This trailhead is located at the end of Forest Road 538, off State Route 89A. It provides access to the northern section of the Wilson Mountain Trail.

4. South Wilson Trailhead: This trailhead is located at the end of Forest Road 106, off State Route 89A. It provides access to the southern section of the Wilson Mountain Trail.

5. Sedona View Trailhead: This trailhead is located off State Route 89A, about 2 miles north of Midgley Bridge. It offers parking and access to the Wilson Mountain Trail via the Sedona View Trail.

These are the major access points or trailheads along the Wilson Mountain Trail. There may be additional smaller access points or trailheads along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Wilson Mountain Trailhead Parking Lot – Convenient parking area for hikers starting the Wilson Mountain Trail.
2. Sedona Trolley – Sightseeing trolley service offering tours around Sedona, including stops near Wilson Mountain Trail.
3. Sedona Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation to various trailheads in Sedona, including Wilson Mountain Trail.
4. Red Rock Magic Trolley – Trolley service offering transportation to popular attractions in Sedona, with stops near Wilson Mountain Trail.
5. Uber – Ride-hailing service available in Sedona, providing convenient transportation options to Wilson Mountain Trail.
6. Lyft – Ride-hailing service operating in Sedona, offering transportation services to Wilson Mountain Trail and other destinations.
7. Sedona Bike & Bean – Bike rental shop offering bicycles for rent, suitable for exploring Wilson Mountain Trail and other nearby trails.
8. Sedona Segway Tours – Segway tour company providing guided tours around Sedona, including stops near Wilson Mountain Trail.
9. Sedona ATV & Buggy Rental – Rental service offering all-terrain vehicles and buggies for exploring Sedona’s trails, including Wilson Mountain Trail.
10. Sedona Jeep Tours – Jeep tour company providing guided off-road tours in Sedona, including options near Wilson Mountain Trail.


The amenities available at the Wilson Mountain Trail may vary, but typically include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available at the trailhead or nearby parking areas. These could be portable toilets or permanent restroom buildings.

2. Parking: There is usually designated parking available at or near the trailhead. It may be a parking lot or roadside parking.

3. Camping Sites: Wilson Mountain Trail may have designated camping sites along the trail or in nearby camping areas. These sites may require permits or reservations, so it’s advisable to check with the local authorities or park management.

4. Picnic Areas: Some sections of the trail or nearby areas may have designated picnic areas with tables, benches, and sometimes grills. These areas provide a scenic spot for visitors to enjoy a meal or rest.

5. Water Sources: Depending on the trail’s location, there may be natural water sources such as streams or rivers along the trail. However, it’s important to check if the water is safe for consumption or if it needs to be treated.

6. Trail Markers and Signage: The trail is likely to have markers or signs indicating the trail route, distances, and points of interest. These markers help hikers navigate the trail and stay on the designated path.

7. Information Boards: At the trailhead or along the trail, there may be information boards providing details about the trail, safety guidelines, flora and fauna, and any specific regulations or restrictions.

8. Benches or Rest Areas: There might be benches or rest areas along the trail where hikers can take a break, enjoy the view, or have a snack.

It’s important to note that amenities can vary, so it’s recommended to check with the local park authorities or visitor centers for the most up-to-date information on the amenities available at the Wilson Mountain Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Lodging:
– Sedona Real Inn & Suites – Comfortable accommodations with modern amenities.
– Sky Ranch Lodge – Rustic lodge offering stunning views of Sedona’s red rocks.
– Poco Diablo Resort – Resort with golf course and outdoor pool.
– Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa – Upscale hotel featuring a spa and outdoor pool.
– The Orchards Inn of Sedona – Charming hotel with balconies overlooking the red rocks.

2. Food Services:
– Elote Cafe – Popular Mexican restaurant serving creative dishes.
– The Hudson – American eatery with a diverse menu and outdoor seating.
– Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill – Upscale Latin American cuisine with panoramic views.
– Indian Gardens Cafe & Market – Casual cafe and market offering sandwiches and baked goods.
– The Secret Garden Cafe – Quaint cafe serving breakfast and lunch with a garden setting.

3. Emergency Services:
– Sedona Fire District – Local fire department providing emergency services.
– Sedona Police Department – Law enforcement agency serving the area.
– Verde Valley Ambulance Company – Emergency medical services for the region.
– Sedona Urgent Care – Medical clinic offering urgent care services.
– Verde Valley Medical Center – Full-service hospital located in Cottonwood, AZ.

Wilson Mountain Trail Difficulty Notes

The Wilson Mountain Trail is known for its challenging difficulty level, making it a popular choice for experienced hikers seeking a strenuous adventure. With a total distance of approximately 10 miles and an elevation gain of over 2,400 feet, this trail demands physical endurance and mental determination. The steep and rocky terrain, coupled with sections of narrow paths and exposed cliffs, adds to the trail’s difficulty. Hikers must navigate through switchbacks and scramble over boulders, requiring careful footing and a good sense of balance. However, the reward for conquering the Wilson Mountain Trail is well worth the effort, as it offers breathtaking panoramic views of Sedona’s red rock formations and the surrounding wilderness.

Features And Attractions

The Wilson Mountain Trail offers several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable attractions along the trail:

1. Wilson Mountain Summit: The trail leads to the summit of Wilson Mountain, offering breathtaking panoramic views of Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon, and the surrounding red rock formations.

2. Sedona Overlook: This viewpoint provides a stunning vista of Sedona’s famous red rocks, including Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Courthouse Butte.

3. Steamboat Rock: A prominent natural landmark along the trail, Steamboat Rock is a massive red rock formation that resembles a steamboat.

4. Devil’s Kitchen: This unique geological feature is a collapsed lava tube that formed a large sinkhole. It offers an interesting glimpse into Sedona’s volcanic past.

5. Ancient Ruins: Along the trail, you may come across ancient Native American ruins, including cliff dwellings and petroglyphs. These historical sites provide a glimpse into the area’s rich cultural heritage.

6. Bear Mountain: While not directly on the Wilson Mountain Trail, Bear Mountain is a nearby peak that offers stunning views and is often hiked in conjunction with Wilson Mountain.

7. Oak Creek Canyon: As you descend from Wilson Mountain, you’ll pass through Oak Creek Canyon, a scenic gorge known for its towering cliffs, lush vegetation, and the sparkling waters of Oak Creek.

8. Wilson Canyon Trail: This side trail branches off from the Wilson Mountain Trail and leads to Wilson Canyon, a picturesque canyon with unique rock formations and a tranquil atmosphere.

These are just a few of the many attractions you can encounter along the Wilson Mountain Trail. Remember to check local regulations and trail conditions before embarking on your journey.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Wilson Mountain Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Hiking on the Wilson Mountain Trail is permitted year-round, but certain sections may be closed during extreme weather conditions or for maintenance purposes.
3. Camping or overnight stays are not allowed on the trail.
4. Littering is strictly prohibited. Please carry out all trash and dispose of it properly.
5. Open fires are not permitted on the trail. Use designated fire pits or grills in designated areas only.
6. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed on the Wilson Mountain Trail.
7. Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted or private areas.
8. Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed any animals encountered on the trail.
9. Hunting or fishing is not allowed on the Wilson Mountain Trail.
10. Be mindful of other hikers and maintain proper trail etiquette, yielding to uphill hikers and staying to the right.
11. Carry sufficient water and supplies for your hike, as there are no water sources or facilities along the trail.
12. Leave no trace – pack out all trash and leave the trail as you found it.
13. Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at the trailhead or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Wilson Mountain Trail, located in Sedona, Arizona, offers breathtaking views and a challenging hiking experience. The best times of the year to visit this trail are during the spring and fall seasons. In spring, the weather is mild, and the trail is adorned with colorful wildflowers, creating a picturesque landscape. The fall season brings cooler temperatures and stunning foliage, making it an ideal time to hike and enjoy the vibrant autumn colors.

During the summer months, the Wilson Mountain Trail can be quite hot, with temperatures often exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It is recommended to avoid hiking during this time, as the extreme heat can be dangerous and exhausting. Winter can also be a challenging time to hike the trail, as it can be icy and slippery due to snowfall. However, if you are an experienced hiker and well-prepared for winter conditions, it can offer a unique and serene experience.

It is important to note that the Wilson Mountain Trail has seasonal closures in place to protect the natural environment and wildlife. The trail is closed from December 1st to April 1st each year to allow for the wintering of bald eagles in the area. This closure is strictly enforced to ensure the preservation of these majestic birds and their habitat. It is essential to respect these closures and plan your visit accordingly to avoid any disruptions or harm to the local wildlife.

Overall, the best times to visit the Wilson Mountain Trail are during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the trail showcases its natural beauty. However, it is crucial to be aware of the seasonal closures and plan your visit accordingly to ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Wilson Mountain Trail is not wheelchair accessible due to its steep and rugged terrain.
2. ADA Accommodations: The trail does not have specific ADA accommodations, but alternative accessible trails can be found nearby, such as the West Fork Trail or the Sedona Wetlands Preserve Trail.

Safety Information

1. Steep and rugged terrain: The trail consists of steep and rugged terrain, requiring caution and proper hiking gear.
2. Slippery sections: Some sections of the trail can be slippery, especially during wet or icy conditions.
3. Exposed cliffs: The trail passes by exposed cliffs, so hikers should be careful and stay on the designated path.
4. Limited shade: The trail offers limited shade, so hikers should bring sun protection and plenty of water.
5. Wildlife encounters: Hikers may encounter wildlife along the trail, so it’s important to maintain a safe distance and not disturb them.
6. Extreme weather conditions: The trail can experience extreme weather conditions, including high winds and sudden temperature changes, so hikers should be prepared.
7. Flash floods: During heavy rain or monsoon season, flash floods can occur in the area, making certain sections of the trail dangerous or impassable.
8. Rockfall hazard: There is a potential risk of rockfall along the trail, especially in areas with loose rocks or cliffs.
9. Limited cell phone reception: The trail may have limited or no cell phone reception, so hikers should be prepared for emergencies and inform others of their plans.
10. Hiking difficulty: The Wilson Mountain Trail is rated as moderately difficult, so hikers should have appropriate fitness levels and experience.

Conservation Notes

The Wilson Mountain Trail, located in Coconino National Forest in Arizona, holds a conservation status of utmost importance. As part of the larger Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness, the trail is recognized for its ecological significance and the need to protect its unique natural resources. The conservation efforts primarily focus on preserving the fragile ecosystem, maintaining biodiversity, and safeguarding the trail’s surrounding habitats.

The trail traverses through diverse landscapes, including lush forests, rocky slopes, and exposed ridges, providing a home to a wide array of plant and animal species. The conservation status of the Wilson Mountain Trail aims to protect the rich biodiversity found within these habitats. Several rare and sensitive plant species, such as the Arizona cliffrose and the Arizona sycamore, are found along the trail, making their preservation a priority. Additionally, the trail is home to various wildlife species, including mule deer, mountain lions, and numerous bird species, which further emphasizes the importance of conservation efforts.

To ensure the sustainability of the Wilson Mountain Trail, conservation initiatives focus on minimizing human impact and preserving the trail’s natural integrity. This includes implementing strict regulations to prevent habitat destruction, erosion, and pollution. The trail is carefully maintained to prevent the spread of invasive species and to protect the fragile vegetation. Conservationists and park rangers work together to educate visitors about the importance of responsible hiking practices, emphasizing the need to stay on designated trails and avoid disturbing wildlife or damaging the surrounding environment. By actively managing and conserving the Wilson Mountain Trail, authorities aim to maintain its ecological balance and preserve its natural beauty for future generations to enjoy.

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