The A.B.Young Trail leaves from the southernmost end of the Bootlegger Picnic Area. Take steps down to the creek, find a suitable place to “boulder hop” or wade the stream, cross the creek and find an old metal sign indicating the trailhead.
It immediately begins a moderately steep ascent and enters wilderness area. The shade of the creek area is quickly lost and nice views of the canyon and some interesting rock formations open up. The trail climbs 1600 feet in 1.6 miles over the 33 switchbacks to the rim of Oak Creek Canyon. At this point, the trail enters the shade of Ponderosa pine and heads west for 0.8 miles on a gradual ascent (this portion of the trail not well marked), ending at the East Pocket Fire Lookout Tower.
The trail is believed to have been built originally by C.S. (Bear) Howard in the 1880’s and it was reconstructed in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corp and supervised by A.B. Young.
Rating: Very Strenuous
Uses: Hiking (Very steep, horses not recommended)
Hiking time: 3-4 hours depending on your pace (one-way)
Note: No horse trailer parking. Bicycles prohibited in the wilderness
Open Season: Year ’round
Closest Towns: Sedona, AZ
Operated By: Red Rock District – 928-203-2900
USGS Maps: Munds Park and Wilson Mountain
Location: 20 miles south of Flagstaff (10 miles north of Sedona) on paved roads in scenic Oak Creek Canyon.
Access: Drive into Oak Creek Canyon to Milepost 383.3. The trail starts across the creek from Bootlegger Campground. After crossing the creek, a short climb will bring you onto an old road above the creek. The trailhead starts at the old metal sign (see photo at left) which is within 300 feet of your crossing. From most crossings, the sign will be just downstream.