The hike to the tallest peak in the Sedona area will challenge you, but reward you along the way with some truly breathtaking views. Before you even start the hike, you're in for a treat at the scenic Midgley Bridge, which spans a canyon right off of the parking lot for the trailhead. There's a half-mile hike to a cool stream and swimming area below where dogs are welcome. Note that you will need to purchase a $5 daily Red Rock pass to park here. You can buy one at the Oak Creek Visitor Center further down highway 89A, at a few other locations in town, or online.
Keep in mind if you add the excursion to the Oak Creek swimming area to your day of hiking that it's a steep climb back up to the Mount Wilson trailhead, and that you'll be ascending 2300 feet over the course of your main hike. If you're not sure that you're up for the entire hike, don't worry—there are awesome views all the way up the trail. Any amount of time you spend here will be a treat for the senses.
Take note of the colorful layers of ancient rock as you ascend the mountain. Some are millions of years old. The panoramas you see extend for over a hundred miles in every direction, with dozens of red cliffs and buttes in view, as well as the Verde Valley. Note the mixed stands of trees in the distance and the ponderosa pines clinging to the slopes. On Mount Wilson, you'll find stands of juniper and oak and congregations of agave and cactus. As you ascend, the terrain becomes more rocky. Be careful and take breaks as you or your dog need to, and make sure you give your fur-clad companion lots of water.
You and your pup will feel like champions when you reach the top of the mountain. Whether you want to attribute it to the special energy that some people say flows around Sedona, to the natural beauty around you, or to the endorphins released by hard exercise, you'll go home feeling completely exhilarated.