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.
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.