North Wilson Mountain Trail, Sedona, AZ
Directions: Drive north 5 miles from downtown Sedona on N State Rte 89A. Park at the Encinoso picnic area. Look for the trailhead next to the bathrooms.
About the Hike: North Wilson Mountain Trail is a 9.5-mile round-trip trail with an elevation gain of 2,637 feet. North Wilson Mountain Trail is north of Sedona between Oak Creek Canyon and Slide Rock Park. Hiking the trail is challenging, with many switchbacks leading you to the top of North Wilson Mountain. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash.
You will find the trailhead close to the road about 50 feet behind the bathrooms.
Stay alert looking for either of these trail-markers. The path winds through rocky mountain juniper, white fir, and ponderosa pines.
The view opens up, displaying rock stratifications. Check out the bright white band of Coconino Sandstone.
A 180-degree turn and the view switches from the famous Sedona red rocks to the beautiful rolling mountains covered in Ponderosa Pines, white firs, and rock mountain juniper.
Arizona Sycamore trees were clustered together at the base of the mountain range.
The dryness of 2020 showed everywhere from the lack of rain, especially in the open areas where the grasses lined the path.
Enormous boulders sit strategically placed, awaiting hikers to stop and appreciate the view and prepare for the next leg of their journey.
I climbed to higher elevations and found shady places along the trail covered with icy snow. The temperature dipped while we were in the shade.
The second leg of the hike takes you into the Sedona Wildness area. You can still see the June 2006 Brins fire's damage as you hike through this area.
My favorite part of the hike was when the trail takes you deep into a canopy of Ponderosa Pines with tons of Sycamore Oaks sprinkled beneath them.
Their leaves all turned orange and red. The early morning sun is filtering through, lighting them up a fiery red.
Just before we left this part of the journey the sun made a spectacular showing.
It was fun hiking through the leaves, reminding me of my childhood days in New Jersey playing in the fall leaves.
The sycamore oaks went all the way up the side of the mountain. The switchbacks start from here continuing upward until you arrive at the top of North Wilson Mountain. However, with each switchback, the views of the red rocks were terrific.
The third leg of this hike is where the switchbacks, kick-in. The path turns into a single track where one side steeply drops off.
However, the views open up during this last part of the trail towards the top of North Wilson Mountain.
Hiking on the single track close to the edge, I stepped carefully while also glancing around at the spectacular views. I did not want to stumble on a rock or root and tumble off the edge.
The trail widens at the top. With the switchbacks behind, you will have time to catch your breath and stroll along, enjoying the views.
The views continue for miles across the horizon. This hike was challenging, and I was undoubtedly worn-out afterward, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat!