Mr Willson’s Wild Ride! Don’t for get to Buckle up!

Peak Summited2021 Mount Wilson
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadFirst Creek Canyon Trail Head: Red Rock Canyon NCA
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsObstacles on trail

This was my second hike in the Red Rock Canyon, and with the experience of Turtlehead behind me, I though a trial run might be a good idea. So my Boyfriend and I went out for a short hike to get a feel for what Mount Wilson would deliver.  Luckily, I ran into a few hikers who had done this hike and they gave me some valuable information.  The overall consensus was it was a difficult trail with many obstacles and not marked well. Both of these were spot on descriptions of this trail! When we got back to the parking area, two hikers were walking up to the cars. I asked them if they had gone to the top and they said yes.  The tail is about 7.5 miles round trip and they said it took them 12 hours to complete!  So glad I asked, so this gave me conformation on the difficult trail ahead of me. With this information in mind, I planned on starting at 0600!  I officially started at 0615. Even though I had an idea of how difficult this trail was going to be, this trail lived up to the warnings. Now, I have hiked many trails to include a AT thru hike, Colorado Trail thru hike as well as completing the SoCal Six peak Challenge, and I have to say this is definitely the most difficult trail I have completed!  Not only is the trail challenging, but it is not marked very well and if not for the good hikers who left the cairns  I would never had found my way.  And even with this help, I ended up going back a completely different way, fortunately it was a much nicer  way to get out of the canyon, so I was happy about that. So enough complaining about the trail and on to my report about one of the toughest trails if I now proud to say I completed and can proudly put that notch on my hiking history!

Like I said, I started around 0600 as the sun was coming up.  I went all the up to the base of the climbers area and began the trek into the canyon. On the advice of a hiker the day before, I tried my best to stay closer to the wall. (I will explain later why I would recommend getting into the canyon earlier than that to avoid that dangerous and unnecessary struggle.   So as I was following a trail into the canyon and go to where the trees and brush became to think to go through I found a path up to the wall.  Warning this as very scary and difficult,  and some places the rocks were loose. I did see a beautiful owl. Maybe this was a magical owl watching over my safety as it was not afraid of me as got very close to it.

Once I got back down on the valley floor my hike really began. I could follow a trail and I could see the cairns. Once again, the trail I went up was not the same way I came down, so be very aware and maybe mark your own Cairns and use a tracking service to help keep you on trail. The rest of this trail is up and more up to the very top, but the scenery is very interesting with water pools of many colors and lots of beautiful plants to keep your spirits up.

Once I was out of the tree line the next phase this trail is a faint gravel trail over a gradual climb to the top. Once up there is a trek across the sandstone with more cairns to guide you to the top.  Up until this point I did not see another hiker all day. When I was going up a small space between to walls I saw a young man, who I had seen in the parking lot.  I was not aware the whole time that he was ahead of me.  I was lucky for me as he alerted me that I wasn't actually on  Wilson yet!  I had one more area to climb, which look very intimidating and after such a arduous hike I wasn't sure if I had it in me to do it, but the thought  of making all the this way and not going to the very top was too much so a powered on and started on the trail to the real Wilson Peak! Which turned out to be the easiest part of the whole day!  So as I stood on the top of the amazing mountain peak, I was very proud of my accomplishment! I was happy to find a USGS Marker and I sign in Box with ram's horn as a bonus!  And cell service to call my boyfriend to tell me all about my hike!

The way down was just as hard as the way up, with many obstacles to conquer but this time your going down, which seems even harder. And like I mentioned the trail is to marked well and even though I had GPS signal and I was following my tracks going back, I still got off trail a few times. At one point I really thought I was lost, but I just had to go down a few more feet to find the trail.  Somehow, I missed a turn to my advantage and I ended up on a completely different tail as I got into the Canyon on my way  back.  So my advice is not not go up near the wall to start this trail, but to get into the canyon much earlier as you are walking up the path towards the canyon. On the way back I stayed  to the left of the canyon and somehow avoided all of the brush and pop out onto the approach trail about 2/3 of the distance to the parking lot!  I was so happy to realize that I didn't have to suffer that climb by the wall that I too going in.  So my advice is as you are approaching the canyon,  pop in as soon as you see a trail closer to the right of the canyon and follow the path to get into the canyon from there and stay to the right!

I hope this helps anyone attempting this hike.

Moxie is my trail name and I definitly needed some Moxie to finish this trail.  It was a tough day, but in the end I am very proud to have  gotten to the top!

So in the end I am very happy that I endured this hike and I learned a lot about navigation and perseverance and proud to say I made it to the TOP!


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  1. Way to go Moxie! Very impressive that you completed this by yourself! My husband and I just completed this hike on Sunday and man was it a struggle coming back down when you’re exhausted and your legs feel like noodles! Haha That is so awesome you saw an owl! Beautiful! We saw some big horn sheep! Congrats on finishing this! We hike often and this was definitely our toughest hike as well! Kudos to you! Great job and great pictures! Way to power through it!💪🏼

  2. So awesome!! Congrats on the summit and making it back safely! My wife and I just completed this and it was a workout for sure! Again, congrats and hope to see you out on the trails!