AB Young Trail, Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness

The Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness is 47,194 acres of arches, windows, cliffs, buttes, pinnacles, and slot canyons, all carved by wind and water out of immense layers of exposed red sandstones. The property is in that gorgeous red rock area a bit northwest of Sedona. The Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness is crossed by numerous trails, many of them through the canyons and among the buttes with others that head straight for the high country and even bigger views (the photo to the left is from the upper part of the AB Young Trail). A lot of the big vegetation is pinon pine, juniper and manzanita, except in the riparian areas where you'll find sycamore, willow and cottonwood.

Secret Mountain and Wilson Mountain are high mesas of the Colorado Plateau that stick out into the lower country here. This is Mogollon Rim country and some of the canyons cut into that Plateau/Rim are as much as 1,500' deep, with drainages that lead down to Oak Creek and the Verde River. The upper areas may be 10° to 15° cooler, and wetter, than the lower areas. You'll find big pines up top and cactus and juniper down below, except in the riparian areas: these might be very dense with large and small vegetation (cottonwoods, sycamores, willows, etc.) You'll also find mule and white-tailed deer, black bear, elk, coyote, jackrabbit, mountain lion, and javelina in the area.

There are roads all around Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness so access is pretty easy. Depending on how deep into the area you go, you may find people regularly along the way, although some areas see almost no one. There are some good swimming holes and a number of ancient Sinagua ruins: if you find something interesting, leave it where you found it. But there's something magical about those old abandoned cliff dwellings and the ancient petroglyphs...

Red Rock-Secret Mountain is a large and beautiful wilderness. As wilderness, no mechanized or motorized vehicles are allowed, not even mountain bikes.