North Wilson Mountain Trail

MODERATE 74 reviews
#2 of 2 trails in

North Wilson Mountain Trail is a 9.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Sedona, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
9.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,637 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

The trailhead is located at the Encinoso picnic area next to the bathrooms. There is a $5 fee for the day to enter.

20 days ago

The parking area takes national passes and the red rock pass. I tool 2 liters of water and that was not enough for me. I got to the first bend after a strenuous climb. At my age (65) I had to take frequent breaks, but this allowed me to enjoy the scenery. I would recommend this to anyone that is moderately to well fit but be sure to take plenty of water and snacks. Enjoy the scenery and the wildlife.

hiking
1 month ago

As others have mentioned it’s a tough hike up.
Start early 7am. Take your time stop rest and take the views along the way. Don’t burnt out and give up. The rewards are the flat plane as you get to the end and the breeze. so worth it. ProTip. Start at 7am. Bring a blanket Pack a lunch and have lunch and a nap up there Before heading back down. Spectacular!! Pro tip 2. Continue trail and head down to Midgely bridge parking and take an Uber back to you car.

If you decide to come back the same trail find a stick to help manage along the paths loose gravel. Seriously! You do t want to take a fall of one of those edges...

It’s a tough one but well worth the hike it’s beautiful up there!! Enjoy

1 month ago

Not an easy trail, but the incredible views are well worth the effort. Did this trail the first time last year and can't wait to do it again. A new favorite of mine!

2 months ago

Wilderness trail with minimal hikers. Shaded at the bottom and along the switch backs up the mountain. Beautiful views along entire hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Picking a favorite trail in Sedona is like picking a favorite child... difficult to admit. This big hike holds a big space in my heart. We double parked this one, so we ascended the south side from Midgley Bridge, hiked the north canyon and sedona overlooks, then descended the north down Oak Creek Canyon. I love every foot of this trail, and it never feels like I'm doing the same hike twice. With the elevation change, the terrain changes quickly and very significantly as you hike up- from the iron crusted sandstone, to the grey limestone, dense green pinyon pines, and finally onto the black basalt boulders that overlook the canyons and formations. The weather may also have noticeable differences with the elevation change (snow remains on the plateau much longer, wind is more intense, etc.). The north side is much more green and wooded, which was nice to hike down as the day got hotter. This side is also much steeper with loose rock, so watch your footing, especially when coming down. Wildlife is abundant, especially during the warmer months. We saw two species of horned lizards, deer, possibly a bobcat, and other reptiles and insects. Lots of animal tracks in the mud as well. Not much shade, bring sunscreen and lots of water (1 hr per person, per hour of hiking in the summer; it took us 6 hours to do all the trails with a long break to eat). Both lookouts offer great views- might as well do both since you already hiked up the hardest part! Still my favorite out of so many great hikes in Sedona.

hiking
3 months ago

I shoved off, at 7:45am on a day with a forecast high of 101. I'm heat tolerant so was not concerned as I took plenty of fluids, about 3.5 liters. For hiking days like this, I freeze a Gatorade overnight so it melts during the hike and then tastes fantastic as a slush towards the end of the hike when I need it the most. I followed the north approach as I read it receives more shade than the southern approach. The first 1.9 miles is fairly steep with an average grade of 15%. Then on the First Bench a pleasant hike across a meadow prior to the final ascent. You will reach a sign post giving you the alternative to go left to the Sedona Overlook or right to the Canyon Overlook. I went right and the next mile is fairly flat and kind of boring but the final view is awesome. It took me 2:11 to reach the end (I'm on Strava so not a guess) of the 5 miles. I found a hiking pole helpful on the descent as there are some slick spots with a lot of loose pebbles. Finished the entire hike in 3:35. It was my birthday today, reaching 60. Damn it.

4 months ago

Just amazing views of red rocks and Sedona. A workout but not as difficult as some other hikes - well worth the effort.

hiking
4 months ago

This trail is an ASS KICKER!! Super steep, rocky trail for the last half of the first 1.5 miles up to the bench, especially the switchbacks that might as well be washes. At the first half-mile up, I wanted to turn around, but because I'm stubborn, I did not. I took A LOT of short breaks. Be sure to drink a lot of water!! And start early!! I didn't even find the fabled bench on the 1st landing. There was a lot of cussing involved with those switchbacks since after every set it looked like the landing was next, but NOPE! I ended up resting under a tree by the overlook (really stinkin pretty btw). Pro-tip #1, those plants that look like aloe plants and definitely NOT aloe plants, and I got impaled by thorns and scratched up when I brushed up against one of those little shits. The summit trail was a lot easier, plenty of shade. Pro-tip #2, bring bug spray, sunscreen, and at least 3L of water. Pro-tip #3, the north canyon lookout trail is pretty washed out, not scenic, long as heck and takes forever, and filled with little gnats that swarmed in my face. I don't even think the view below was worth it. That trail won't survive another monsoon season. The Sedona lookout is totally worth it though. I reached that area around 430pm, so the pinks and reds were just starting to get brighter. The trip down was pretty easy except for the slight scrambling on some of the switchbacks. Theres some marvellous scenery into the gorge by the switchbacks you don't notice on the way up because you're too focused on not dying. Pro-tip #4, always pay attention to your feet on the way down, and if you want to look at the scenery DON'T DO IT WHILE WALKING!! You will slip on those rocks and possibly go careening off into the canyon. This truly is the "road that goes ever on and on" because you never know when you're going to be at where you're going.

I gotta say though, for the record, if my inexperienced, out-of-shape butt can summit this mountain, you can too. Took 3h up and 2h down (from the N canyon lookout).

This trail was hard AF, but if you're stubborn and brave enough, YOU CAN DO IT!!

(Side note, parking was easy at the picnic area, and I saw maybe 6 people total on the trail.)

hiking
5 months ago

Wow! This trail is very very tough. If you are in great shape and inexperienced hiker this will be no problem for you. Most likely. I myself am on the bigger side but and not that experienced. This trail should be rated Hard to be truthful. If it were not as hard I would have given it 5 stars. Due to the difficulty I couldn't enjoy it as much as I would like. The trail is beautiful. Very lush and shaded. The trail head is in the Encinoso day camp area. Be sure to use the bathroom before embarking on this hard trail.

hiking
6 months ago

What a great trail! I would suggest getting on the trail early as there is no shade at the top. It was high 40’s low 50’s when we hiked it. The hard part is at the bottom, which is nice. Once you get towards the top the views are spectacular and the trail levels off. A previous review discussed insects, we did NOT have any trouble with them, but there are spots on top with standing water. Trekking poles would be a huge help, but we did without. Lots of loose rock.
Totally worth the effort!

hiking
8 months ago

Great trail and strenuous. Started in the north and finished at the bridge to the south. Found the descent to be slower than I expected due to the rocky nature of the trail. The view from in top is worth the effort.

hiking
10 months ago

Wilson Mountain trail (+North Wilsom Mountain trail back and forth) was one of our favorite in Sedona. Doing both is a significant hike but it is worth it. The view from the top is great. It also feels special to walk on the plateau for so long, passing through the forest fire. If you do the North Wilson path, you will go through a microenvironment that includes maple tree. Being in november, we had the great fortune to pass there while the leaves turned bright pink (!). It was very special and unexpected. If do Wilson Mountain, you have a great view from red rock mountains at the begining of the trail which you have also on the way back. We stayed midway down for the sunset and it was magnificient (bring light and some warm layer if you do that).

hiking
11 months ago

This trail was fun. There are Flat areas that are interesting and all you to recover you energy while still walking. I ran about 3+ miles of this trail. I was looking for a good workout. This was not as challenging or as breath taking as Sterling Pass to Vultee Arch. It was still a fun hike. The trail is well marked and maintained.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

me and my 10 yrs old kid loved it. The view overlooking sedona is great.

hiking
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Great trail. Hot in summertime. The walk up to the first plateau is great but go to the top and look over into secret canyon wilderness. Just awesome. One of my favorite places in the world. Bring plenty of water.

backpacking
Thursday, February 23, 2017

Beautiful views! Go after a good rainfall or snowmelt and you will have an awesome view of a spetacular waterfall across the canyon.

hiking
Thursday, November 24, 2016

Very light traffic. Such an amazing hike. I enjoyed the cool canyon approach. The switchbacks up to the First Bench were the toughest part of the whole hike! The Sedona view is incredible. The view of San Francisco Peaks were incredible. It's a long and taxing hike, but worth the effort!

hiking
Thursday, November 10, 2016

Only giving it three stars because my boyfriend wanted to leave early so we didn't do the full thing. Only did about a 2 Mile hike (I think, we stopped before we came across any sign). Still very beautiful and I shall go back to complete it!

hiking
Monday, October 10, 2016

Amazing views.. Did this hike with a friend yesterday. None of my friends had heard about this hike but because of the reviews I had to try it myself. We only saw 5 people on the entire hike.

The views throughout the hike are great and at times spectacular. I don't know why so few people do this hike, we saw 5 hikers yesterday. Maybe because it's between 11 and 12 miles (depending on your GPS tracker) people don't want to go here. I plan on going back again with more friends to show them the views.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Great hike alternate to Wilson Mtn instead of from Midgely Bridge. Areas on the switchbacks before you get to the first bench are very loose recommend poles particularly on descent.

hiking
Tuesday, June 28, 2016

incredible views of the surrounding rocky cliffs. due to the weather we did not go all the way to the top of Wilson mountain. regardless it was beautiful and shaded for good portions. bring water. it is a good climb.

hiking
Monday, March 21, 2016

We attempted to hike North Wilsons trail earlier this year, but we're surprised to run into a fair amount of snow on the initial ascent. We were able to go within less than a half of a mile to the first bench and had to turn back. Because of the great reviews the trail has received we went back again this weekend and were able to complete the trail at the Sedona overlook. Our total distance hiked was between 9-10 miles, half of which were uphill with a total elevation change of 2000 feet. The trail was not heavily traveled, yet we were pleased to see several other hikers along the way. Although we were challenged by the loose footings when going downhill, the rest of the trail was easily passable and the hike along the flat bench and summit were very enjoyable. The view of Sedona is unparalleled and is at the top of our list for "end of the trail rewards". We highly recommend this trail for anyone who hikes regularly and suggest hiking poles for the descent and food for a picnic at the top.

birding
Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Great hike! Perfect for a warm fall afternoon. A little rugged at times but getting to the top is well worth it. Even trekked through a little bit of snow.
The view and the fall colors were amazing!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Using North Wilson trail is beautiful! Starts at manzanita campground and through beautiful colors. There are a lot of switchbacks but it's worth it once you get to the top! Lots of deer as well

hiking
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Switchbacks all day long. I'd search for a better hike in Sedona unless you really want to go to the highest point.

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