|Name: Soldiers Pass (FR9904)||Author's Rating:|
|Author: Matt Marine||Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet|
|Type: Hike||Difficulty: (Beginner along the 4WD road only - does not include the hiking trail into the Wilderness Area)
|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 hike along a 4WD road in the heart of Sedona that provides access to other trails in the area|
|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.|
NOTE: This description is only for the portion of the trail along the 4WD road and does NOT include the portion that continues into the Wilderness area. If you include this portion, the hike should be rated MEDIUM and you should add another 2 miles onto the roundtrip. The Wilderness portion is probably the best for hiking and includes a side trip to an arch. Click here for more information on this hiking trail.
I did this trail as a 4WD adventure and the pictures and video are from this adventure.
This trail is 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. It can be used to access many other hiking trails (which is probably the best thing about this trail).
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.
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).
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). Devil’s Kitchen (a big sink hole), is worth the walk. 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. You can continue along this trail. The Forest Service describes it as follows:
The trail forks at the wilderness area boundary sign 1/8 mile further on. The right branch leads up rather steeply for 1/4 mile to an arch. Great views. The left branch is the main trail. This leads out of the wash on a moderate grade. Most of the shade is lost, but the views open up. The trail becomes increasingly steep and rocky as it climbs to the pass. Nearing 2 miles, it levels out on top of Brins Mesa, then continues for another 1/4 miles where it intersects Brins Mesa trial. Ultimately, scenic vistas can be enjoyed south into Sedona and north into the wilderness and the red cliffs of the Mogollon Rim.
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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