Wilson Canyon

Coconino National Forest, Arizona

Elevation Gain432ft
Trailhead Elevation4,538ft
Elevation Min/Max4538/4841ft
Elevation Start/End4538/4538ft

Wilson Canyon

Wilson Canyon is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Coconino County, Arizona. It is within Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness Area and Coconino National Forest. It is 1.1 miles long and begins at 4,538 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 2.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 432 feet. This trail connects with the following: Jim Thompson.

Wilson Canyon Professional Reviews and Guides

"This popular hike climbs the south slopes of Wilson Mountain in the Red Rock–Secret Mountain Wilderness. Your reward for the effort is an excellent view of lower Oak Creek Canyon.

The Wilson Mountain Trail starts climbing immediately, but then the climb moderates for a bit as the trail goes north through open pinyon-juniper forest. The climb starts in earnest as the trail starts switchbacking up the steep, south-facing slopes. The view opens up as the pigmy forest is replaced by the chaparral brush that favors this sun-baked slope. The trail reaches the First Bench of Wilson Mountain, your goal for this hike. You can walk southeast along the rim of this sloping volcanic shelf to a viewpoint overlooking lower Oak Creek Canyon and the magnificent red-rock formations surrounding uptown Sedona."

"The Wilson Canyon Trail heads up canyon along a shaded, forested, streambed. The trail passes the remnants of the old road and bridge used to cross Wilson Canyon before Midgley Bridge was erected in 1939.

Our hike is the Wilson Canyon Trail straight ahead past the picnic tables. The trail is a wide path. At a quarter mile are the remnants of the old Wilson Canyon Bridge. Past the remnants, the trail becomes a footpath and follows the streambed up the canyon. At a half mile is the Old Jim Thompson Road, a side trail leading uphill to the left. Continue along the canyon floor straight ahead. At 1.5 miles the canyon narrows. The trail begins its steep ascent out of the canyon to Wilson Mountain. For this hike, instead of climbing out of the canyon, retrace your steps to the trailhead."

"Though a well-traveled wilderness trail, the parking lot is deceptively crowded, being a launch point for several attractions: the Huckaby Trail overlook, the Midgely Bridge scenic overlook, the Wilson Mountain Trail, and the Wilson Canyon Trail 49.

Horses are not recommended here and cycling is prohibited beyond the wilderness boundary, so this is effectively a hiking-only trail. Arrive early, heed the leash rules, and you and your dog will enjoy this mostly shady, cool, and very scenic hike in red rock country."

"This is an easy, popular walk up a red-rock canyon in the Red Rock–Secret Mountain Wilderness.

The Wilson Canyon Trail starts from the north end of the parking area and stays near the rim of the inner canyon. After this gorge ends at a high, dry waterfall, the Jim Thompson Trail branches left. The trail wanders another half-mile up the canyon though fine stands of Arizona cypress before fading out."

Wilson Canyon Reviews

4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
icon1 Total
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
The Wilson Canyon trail is a good short hike that is close to Sedona. It would probably make a good after dinner hike, but in the summer it's best to start it early in the morning. By afternoon, the parking lot can become quite crowded.

Wilson Canyon Photos

Trail Information

Coconino National Forest
Nearby City
Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness Area
Skill Level
Coconino National Forest
Local Contacts
Wilson Mountain, Munds Park USGS quads
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018