While camping at East Pocket, or Edge of the World, I had a hunch there had to be a trail that led up to the area rather than driving 26 miles down a long dirt road.
After my camping trip I took a look at a map and noticed a dotted line with several switchbacks leading up to the area. A little research and few minutes later I learned about the A.B Young Trail #100.
My favorite part of the A.B. Young Trail has to be the fact that you begin in Sedona and end in Flagstaff. I don’t know of many trails that accomplish that in 2.5 miles distance (one way)!
This way of reaching Edge of the World takes a lot more effort for it is a steep climb, but it provides the best views down Oak Creek Canyon along the way.
A.B. YOUNG TRAIL STATS
Distance: 5 miles RT
Summit Elevation: 7,199 ft.
Elevation Gain: 2000 ft.
Type: Out and Back
Location: Bootlegger Picnic Area, Sedona
Trailhead: A.B. Young Trail
Dog Friendly: Yes, leashed
Permits: Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful
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FINDING THE A.B. YOUNG TRAIL
Oh, this will be fun.
The A.B. Young Trail embarks from the Bootlegger Picnic Area off of N State Route 89A. Parking here fills up fast on the weekends because families like to picnic and play in the creek.
If you can’t find parking at the picnic area you can try finding a spot alongside 89A. When I visited I had to park along the road but scored one directly across the street from the Bootlegger parking!
Once you park you’ll want to find your way down to the creek because the trail begins on the other side so you’ll have to cross it.
Figuring out where to cross is the fun part. The trail is overgrown and hidden so you’ll have to do some of your own path finding. Eventually I spotted a small wooden arrow on a tree which pointed the way!
Pro Tip: Download the GAIA App beforehand and utilize their maps to help you find the trailhead. That is the way I was able to find it!
WHEN TO HIKE THE A.B. YOUNG TRAIL
The best times to hike A.B. Young Trail would be late spring and fall when the temperatures are a bit cooler.
98% of this trail is exposed to the sun and it is quite a climb, so I would refrain from hiking this one in the summer if you can. If you’re an early riser and can knock it out before it heats up then you might be okay.
HIKING THE A.B. YOUNG TRAIL
Once you’ve managed to find the trailhead you’ll begin climbing elevation right away. Don’t let the beginning photo fool you- the shade in the beginning does not last for long and sooner than you know you’ll be completely exposed to the sun for the remainder of the hike.
The views, however, begin right away! I kept wanting to stop and take photos along the way but the further we got up the better they got.
The A.B. Young Trail consists of multiple switchbacks as you climb. Try your best not to count these! Counting them makes the hike seem much longer and miserable.
You just have to knock them out one at a time and if you need a break there are many spots to step off to take a breather.
Proceed with caution on this trail for there are many spots full of scree and rattlesnakes are most definitely in the area. The trail is also thin and follows along the edge of the mountain so you’ll want to be sure of your footing the entire way.
Pro Tip: Keep your ears open for rattlesnakes for they will let you know if you are too close. Also stay on trail since most attacks happen when you go off trail into bushes.
Once you reach the top of the mountain you’ll have hiked about 2 miles. A lot of people stop here because they think it is the end.
You do get the best views into the canyon at this point, but if you’re looking to hike further or reach the East Pocket Lookout Tower you’ll want to continue along the A.B. Young Trail for another half mile.
If you decide to head back down your hike will total to about 4 miles round trip.
As you continue towards the tower you’ll be surrounded by pine trees, some still charred from previous forest fires. There are many areas with fallen down logs blocking the trail but nothing you can’t easily climb over or hike around!
EAST POCKET LOOKOUT TOWER
Not long and you’ll see the tower off in the distance. The old wooden Lookout Tower that sits on top of the mountain was built in 1943 and is still used today.
It may be closed at times and if so, you are not able to climb up it. If you are accessing it from the Edge of the World camping area you’ll run into a closed gate and sign restricting access.
If you hike the A.B. Young Trail, however, you can still access it the back way. Just keep in mind this is still technically closed and the operators live and work here. I recommend keeping a respectable distance away.
Once you’re ready to head back down you will return the way you came. Or if you’re feeling adventurous you can continue hiking into East Pocket.
East Pocket (Edge of the World) Camping
Edge of the World is a beautiful dry camping spot within the Coconino National Forest. To access it you’ll have to drive down a 26 mile long dirt road which begins in Flagstaff, or hike the A.B. Young Trail which begins in Sedona.
This is a popular camping spot, and for good reason. You’re camping quite literally on the Edge of the World!
Slide Rock State Park
The kids will love this one! Slide Rock State Park is a unique place to dip into the mountain water and slide down the natural rock slide. It gets very busy during peak season and cars will be lined up for hours just waiting to enter.
If you’re looking to dip into some desert swimming holes but don’t want to pay or wait to enter Slide Rock, you can park alongside 89A and take one of the many paths leading down to the creek.
There are several swimming holes to enjoy upstream from the park. Just be sure to purchase a Red Rock Pass and enjoy exploring!
Devil’s Bridge is one of the most photographed landmarks in all of Sedona. It is the largest natural sandstone arch in the area and the coolest part- you can walk out onto it!
If you love a good sunset or sunrise hike then Cathedral Rock is the perfect choice! This hike is situated right in Sedona so it is easy to access. The trail is short but very steep so be sure not to underestimate this one and arrive prepared.
Soldier Pass Cave
One of the most unique Sedona caves to visit is the Soldier Pass Cave. This short hike takes you past several other popular destinations along the way such as Devil’s Kitchen and Seven Sacred Pools.
If you have limited time for only one more Sedona hike I’d suggest Soldier Pass Cave!
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE A.B. YOUNG TRAIL
I wasn’t sure what to expect when hiking A.B. Young Trail since there wasn’t much information on it and a lot of the stats were hit or miss. Sometimes that is the fun of it- not knowing what to expect!
The views did not disappoint and I was pleasantly surprised at the challenge the trail provided. I’m glad my curiosity helped me find this one.
If you hike it I highly suggest refraining from doing so in the summer, however dipping in the creek after descending the mountain was one of the best endings to a hike I could have asked for!
- Begin early
- Keep ears open for rattlesnakes
- Pack plenty of water- at least 2L
- Wear a hat and/or use sunscreen
- Use the GAIA App to find the trailhead
- Take a dip in the creek after!