Soldier Pass Trail is a popular hike that is typically accessed from Soldier Pass Trailhead in West Sedona. It can be done as a short 2 mile out and back or combined with Brins Mesa Trail, Cibola Pass Trail, and Jordan Trail for a 5 mile loop. If you are angling for more distance, you can cover all of Brins Mesa Trail also, for a rewarding 9 mile total.
From Soldier Pass Trailhead, you won’t have to hike far to see some amazing sights. In the first 1/4 mile, you’ll arrive at Devil’s Kitchen, a sinkhole that formed when an underground cavern collapsed.
Another 1/2 mile up the trail is Seven Sacred Pools, a series of desert pools that almost always hold water, even during Sedona’s driest months (May and June). After heavy rainfall, the pools are replenished by temporary waterfalls.
- Distance: 5 mile loop
- Hike Time: 2-3 hours
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 900 feet
- Fee: Free, but Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass are required to park
- Dogs: Yes
- Difficulty: Moderate
Limited parking is available at Soldier Pass Trailhead, so I recommend getting there early. You can also improve your chances by avoiding weekends and holidays. If the lot is full, you can start the hike from Jordan Road Trailhead or Brins Mesa Trailhead instead.
From Soldier Pass Trailhead, head right onto Soldier Pass Trail. To the left, you will see Forest Service Road 9904, a 4WD road that is used by local jeep tours. After 1/4 mile, you will come to a large sinkhole called Devil’s Kitchen. Bear left here and at the next junction, bear right to continue on Soldier Pass Trail.
About 1/2 mile from the sinkhole, you will arrive at Seven Sacred Pools. Look for it on the left as it is easy to miss if you are moving fast. From here, continue up the trail as it climbs up to Soldier Pass, elevation 4,950 feet. On the way up, look to the right to see some interesting arches and caves.
Once you reach the top of Soldier Pass, bear right onto Brins Mesa Trail. From here you will hike along the flat tabletop of the mesa for 1/2 mile before descending precipitously into Mormon Canyon. Here, you will take in sweeping views of the red rock countryside before reaching Jordan Road Trailhead (aka Jim Thompson Trailhead).
At the parking lot, bear right onto Cibola Pass Trail and continue for another 1/2 mile to the next junction – bear right here onto Jordan Trail. After 1/4 mile, you will run into the Devil’s Kitchen (the sinkhole) again. From here, you can retrace your footsteps on Soldier Trail back to Soldier Pass Trailhead where you started.
From Sedona, head west on Arizona State Route 89A then turn right onto Soldier Pass Road. Continue 1.4 miles then turn right onto Shadow Rock Drive (which turns into Canyon Shadows Drive). Finally, turn left onto a dirt road (Forest Service Road 9904) and you will arrive at a small parking lot.
- Sedona Trail Map
- Flagstaff, Sedona [Coconino and Kaibab National Forests] (National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map)
- USGS Wilson Mountain, AZ – 7.5′