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Name: Soldiers Pass (FR9904) Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating:(based on two user votes)
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (Moderate 4WD for everything but Devil's Kitchen)
(Demanding for Devil's Kitchen)
Time: 1 - 2 hours Region: NW Arizona
Length: 2.3 miles (roundtrip) Elevation gain/loss/change: +250 / -250 ft / +0 ft (roundtrip)
Type: Out and back Avg Elevation: 4500 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, winter Fees: Requires Red Rock Pass.
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Low Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: 8 am to 6 pm Last updated: October, 2011
Short Description: This is a short, but wonderful 4WD trip in Sedona
Geocaches: of cool geocaches around. Here's just a few. Keys to the Kitchen; Beyond the Kitchen; The Pools
References / Contact Information: Coconino National Forest;
Points of interest: Devil's Kitchen; Seven Sacred Pools
Special Considerations: Moving to be open to permit system (though not open to public at this time)
How to get there: From Sedona, head north onto Soldiers Pass Rd. Drive 1.4 miles, then turn right onto Rim Shadows Drive. Go straight at T-intersection. The trailhead isn't too far on the left. It looks like a residential gate. A small sign is also on the left. Click here for directions.

Trail Description

January 2017 Update: The Forest Service has reversed their decision to close this trail to the public. This trail will be undergoing a permitting system, with a maximum of twelve public permits issued per day. However, the trail will remain closed to the public until this permitting system is implemented. Please contact the Coconino National Forest Office for more information and when this may be open to the public again.

This is a fun, moderately challenging 4WD trail in the heart of Sedona - one of the most beautiful places in the world. Although the trail is short, there's lots to see: Devil's Kitchen (a large sinkhole) and the Seven Sacred Pools. If you have limited time in Sedona and want to get a taste of four-wheeling adventure, this trail may be for you!

General Information and History

Sedona has long been a favorite spot of mine for all the things I enjoy about the outdoors in Arizona: hiking, biking, four-wheeling, camping … the list goes on and on. Sedona is one of the most beautiful in Arizona, if not the world.

This fall I was lucky enough to be able to go back to Sedona and explore some new areas, one of those being Soldiers Pass. It has long been on my “to do” list and I wasn’t disappointed. Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. I was disappointed in one way. The trail was too short. Another few miles would have been great. But don’t be discouraged. It’s worth the visit and being that it is short, it doesn’t take too much time to enjoy.

This trailhead is smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood, the trail access looking more like a private driveway than the start of a 4WD, hiking and biking trail. You can choose the way you want to experience this trail. We decided to use the Jeep, but there were hikers and mountain bikers also along the trail. It’s a great trail no matter your chosen method of transportation.

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The Trail

January 2017 Update: The Forest Service has reversed their decision to close this trail to the public. This trail will be undergoing a permitting system, with a maximum of twelve public permits issued per day. However, the trail will remain closed to the public until this permitting system is implemented. Please contact the Coconino National Forest Office for more information and when this may be open to the public again.

The trail starts at the end of the parking area (Waypoint 001). Within the first 100 feet, you'll come to a 4WD “gate keeper” rock. It’s not too difficult, but if it makes you nervous, you may want to park and walk the trail.

After a short time, you will come to an intersection (Waypoint 002), a right turn taking you to Devil’s Kitchen (FR9904B), straight ahead to the Seven Sacred Pools.

Take the road to Devil’s Kitchen (Waypoint 003). It's the most scenic, but also the most difficult. After a short dip into a wash, you'll climb up the stairs. This may challenge some stock four-wheel drives. Devil’s Kitchen (a big sink hole), is worth the drive. The 4WD trail stops at Devil's kitchen and you have to go back to the main trail.

After Devil’s Kitchen, make your way back to the main trail and take a right at Waypoint 002. At Waypoint 004, take the very short sharp right hand turn down to the Seven Sacred Pools. This area is just plain awesome. There are seven pools (yes, I counted them) all in line in a small, narrow valley. The water wasn’t running when we were there, but I would love to come back some time and see it flowing from pool to pool. I bet it would be awesome. Take some time to walk around the pools and explore. It’s a great place to take a break and relax.

When you're done with the pools, you can continue up the road all the way to the end (Waypoint 005). The remaining portion of the trail is probably my least favorite. It heads up to the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness Area and a small turn-around point. Very small. The trail is narrow without many pullouts and I would not suggest traveling in groups larger than three vehicles. The parking area at the end is only large enough for a few.

Now it’s time to retrace your steps back to the starting point. This is a great trail to do while you’re in Sedona, especially if you don’t have a lot of time.

Have fun and be safe.

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