Sedona, Arizona offers many dog-friendly hiking trails. I enjoyed visiting the area with Xena past winter. Soldier Pass Trail is located in Coconino National Forest, and no permit is required for this hike.
Soldier Pass is an out-and-back trail. The first half of this trail is often high-trafficked due to jeep tour and off-road vehicle traffic nearby as well as a couple of fascinating natural wonders. Hang in there, you should be able to find solitude as the trail eventually leads into Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness.
The small Soldier Pass parking lot with only 14 spaces was full, so we parked on Soldier Pass Road and walked to the trailhead. This added an additional 0.6 miles to the total distance. We began the hike from the signed trailhead and crossed a wash.
Soldier Pass Trail was easy to follow. After 0.25 miles, we arrived at the Devil’s Kitchen (a.k.a., Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole) with the Sphinx rock in the backdrop. This is the most active sinkhole in Sedona having collapsed multiple times. Needless to say, please respect the warning signs.
The moment you realize Devil’s Kitchen is a big sinkhole and not a kitchen with naughty but delicious food. No puppaccino nor pup-patty here. Xena was not impressed.
After another quarter mile, we arrived at Seven Sacred Pools although I was able to count up to only 6 pools… In any case, it’s yet another natural wonder on this trail.
And then there was the broccoli tree! Did I mention this is a fun hike?
From here, follow the sign for Solder’s Pass/Brins Mesa and enjoy the less crowded trail.
The temperature began to drop. Eventually, it snowed then hailed. Can you see the hail in the photo below?
Soldier Pass Trail is well-maintained and has trail signs at every junction.
Here are photos from the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness.
If you stay on Soldier Pass, you will come to Brins Mesa Trail. At this point, you can either turn around and go back to the trailhead the way you came in or continue the hike on Brins Mesa Trail and return to the trailhead.
We did neither. 🙂 Before we reached Brins Mesa Trail, we took a no-name side trail from Soldier Pass for a short off-trail experience. This section required bushwhacking.
We eventually made our way out to well-maintained Brins Mesa Trail.
We turned right on Brins Mesa. When we came to Soldier Pass again, we turned right onto Soldier Pass Trail. From there, we retraced our path to the trailhead. This is a fun hike and is also family-friendly.
Good to Know:
- Hike Date: 2.16.19
- Distance: 5.3 miles RT
- Elevation Gain: 738 ft
- Maximum Elevation: 4,930 ft
- Difficulty Rating: Moderate
- Free parking at Soldier Pass Trailhead parking but it’s only open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Permit/Fee: None