Tuesday, September 23, 2008
WILSON MOUNTAIN NORTH TRAIL #123 Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness, Sedona NOTE: THE PHOTOS IN THIS POST SHOW THE MOUNTAIN JUST MONTHS BEFORE THE June 2006 BRINS FIRE TOOK OUT MOST OF THE VEGETATION . SINCE THEN , THE TRAIL HAS BEEN RESTORED AND DESPITE THE LOSS OF TREES, IT'S STILL A GREAT HIKING DESTINATION. Other trails damaged by this fire include: Sterling Pass and Brins Mesa. A pleasant alternative to the more popular Wilson Mountain South trail that starts in the lot just past Midgley Bridge, the alternate north route has many advantages. First, it’s shady for most of the way. It’s slightly longer than the south route, but it’s got 100 feet less elevation gain ( a big advantage at high altitude). Encinoso waterfall sometimes flows after heavy rain and during snow melt (visible at about the .25 mile point on the first ridge.). Most of the strenuous climbing is crammed into a half-mile canyon-bound segment it’s pretty steep and in some places the trail is just inches from the precipice. The canyon winds are a constant companion, whipping up from a thousand feet below and accelerated by the narrow canyon walls. At about the 3-mile point, the trail levels out onto a wide bench with remarkable views of Oak Creek Canyon and intersects the Wilson South trail. From there, the trail is now known as the Wilson Mtn trail, and with most of the hard climbing behind, the final mile climbs 800 feet to the top. The summit is huge and there are two paths that lead to lookout points: one overlooks Sedona , the other overlooks the Oak Creek Canyon. LENGTH: 6.8 miles round trip (including side trips to the view points) ELEVATION GAIN: 4,600- 7, 000 feet RATING: difficult GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, go north on I-17 to the Sedona exit Highway 179. Turn east onto Highway 179 and continue into the town of Sedona. At the junction of Highway 179 and Highway 89A (the “Y” intersection) turn right onto Highway 89A and continue for 5.3 miles to the Encinoso picnic area on the left. Access roads are paved all the way and there are restrooms at the trailhead. The hike starts at the signed kiosk at the north end of the picnic area.