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Name: Soldiers Pass (FR9904) Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet
Type: Bike Difficulty: (Medium - some short hike-a-bike)
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: Medium 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 can be an interesting biking 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: Requires Red Rock Pass.
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

Note: This trail was originally done as a 4WD adventure, but could be done as a mountain bike ride also. Many of the pictures and video are from my original 4WD trip.

This can be a fun, moderately challenging biking 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.

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

The trail I describe follows the 4WD road. I believe there are also hiking trails that somewhat parallel this road, but I have not been on them. 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. If this makes you nervous, that may be okay. There are short portions of the trail that has obsticles like this, but not too much. You may have to hike-a-bike, but only for short portions. If this makes you very nervous, it may be better to 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. The climb isn't long. This can be easily hike-a-biked up. Maybe you can still bike it on the way down. Devil’s Kitchen (a big sink hole), is worth the ride. The 4WD trail stops at Devil's kitchen and you have to go back to the main trail. There is access to a hiking (and possibly biking) trail at the end of this portion of the road.

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. Mountain bikes are not allowed in the Wilderness Area.

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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