Sedona Hikes – Soldiers Pass

Soldier Pass

 

Soldier Pass Trail is located in the Coconino National Forest.  This forest’s diversity ranges from the red rocks of Sedona to alpine tundra.  It consists of mountains and canyons and you’ll find lakes and creeks scattered throughout.  This particular two mile hike will lead you north on your journey across Soldier Pass.  Here you will experience desert like landscapes and plenty of incredible views.  Convert this three mile hike into a five mile loop by including Brin’s Mesa Trail.

 

Rating

 

This trail is rated moderate on the way up, but is an easy descent of about 450 feet.  At the summit of this mesa, the surrounding peaks and downtown Sedona come into view.  It is here that you will fall in love with this beautiful region all over again.

 

About one mile in, the terrain becomes a stone-step climb to the top.  From there it levels out and takes a downward slope with amazing views.

 

What to Expect

 

The first half of this trail is typically very busy.  There is also a Jeep trial that follows the path.  Frequent tours by Jeep will be conducted nearby.  Along the way, there will be opportunity for shade at first.  After about a mile and a half, the trail begins to inline steeply for about a quarter mile.  From there, the views begin to open up.

 

Views Along the Way

 

Sedona hikes offer incredible diversity and this hike does not disappoint.  Along the way, you will see much of the beauty of the Sedona landscape, including two natural arches, the Devils Kitchen, and the Seven Sacred Pools and the Sphinx Rock Formation.    From the Soldier Pass Trail, you can catch a glimpse of the Devils Kitchen Sinkhole, but if you want to get a closer look, you’ll have to leave the trail which can be re-joined just north of the sinkhole.  This sinkhole was recorded to be formed in 1880 when the ground gave way with a thundering crash and a massive plume of dust.  At approximately 150 ft in diameter and close to 80 feet deep, the Seven Sacred Pools are a series of natural pools carved in the bed rock of the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness.  They are replenished by a seasonal stream.  The Sphinx can be seen at the trailhead of Soldiers Pass.  This unique rock formation towers over the Devils Kitchen Sinkhole.  

 

About 1.3 miles from the trial head you will find a side trail that routes you to the Soldier Pass Arches.  Although, a little challenging, you can reach two of the three arches.  The third is dangerous and not recommended as you will be navigating a narrow trail on the face of the cliff.

 

Directions to Soldier Pass Trail
Soldier Pass is located west of Sedona.  Off Highway 89A, take Soldier Pass Road.   Follow the signs that will lead you to the trailhead.  Be sure to be out by 6:00 pm or you’ll be locked in.  The park closes at 6. If you break down on your way to the trail, we recommend calling Poly’s Towing, the best towing company in Arizona.

Sedona Hikes – Little Horse

Little Horse

 

The Little Horse Trail is a total trip, in and back out, of 3.4 miles.  Give yourself about an hour and a half to complete the round trip.  Little Horse Trail is part of the Bell Rock Pathway.  From Bell Rock Pathway, at the fork, take the old jeep trail to the left.  About a mile an a half in, you will pass through a gate.  Remember to leave the gate open if you found it open and closed if you found it closed.  It is important for the safety of the livestock to either allow them access to water or to protect them from crossing, depending on the time of day.  

 

The red-rock monolith, Cathedral Rock are nearby, making this trial yet another magnificent early morning hike.  You will experience a variety of terrains including a cypress forest and dried up creek.  You will also  encounter some steep rocky moments.

little horse sedona arizona hiking trail

 

Rating

 

This trail is easy to moderate.  With and elevation change of just over 300 feet, it offers an opportunity for everyone to experience this magnificent hike.  It’s an excellent trail for beginner.  This trail is well maintained and improved.  

 

What to Expect

 

Little Horse offers everything you could desire in a Sedona hike.  From gorgeous view of Sedona’s breathtaking landscape and a chance to experience another of Sedona’s monuments – Chicken Point.  Come just after a monsoon for an amazing display of water features as it seeks to forge its way down the rock.

 

This spot is popular to mountain bikers as is much of the surrounding region.  There are also Jeep tours offered in this area.  Expect to see the Pink Jeeps from time to time as this is part of their “Broken Arrow Trail”.

 

This trail has very little shade aside from the stand of Arizona cypress.  So be prepared for heat and bring plenty of water.

 

Views Along the Way

 

At the top you will find stunning views of Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Gibralter Rock and Munds Wilderness.   This trail traverses around the Twin Buttes, home of the Praying Nuns.  While many have made the journey to Nun’s Saddle, be aware that it is more dangerous than it looks.  Be prepared and know what your are doing before tackling this taunting feat.

 

Chicken Point, the crest of this trail, is a favorite of many.  Being at these elevations in the red-rocks gives you a vantage point that will last a lifetime.  If you’re looking to escape to a place of solitude, this may not be the place for you, but if you start early, you can glean a few moments of peacefulness.  And if you beat the jeep tours you will experience the real serenity that the Sedona red-rocks offer.  If you are early enough, the sunrise is absolutely astonishing as it peaks over the surrounding rock formations.

 

Directions to Little Horse

 

Little Horse is just a three and a half miles South on Highway 179.  Watch for the signs.