Soldier Pass Trail in Sedona, AZ is a gorgeous moderate to slightly difficult hike (depending on detours). You can take it as a full loop or just pick and choose what you want to see. The highlights of this particular trail is Devils Kitchen Sinkhole, The Seven Sacred Pools, Soldier Pass Arches that are just below Brins Mesa. Parking is extremely limited so you’ll definitely want to check out my tips below.
Are you ready for some awesome Arizona travel tips this year?! I have not written enough about this state I love. I think I’ve been trying to keep it a secret. This year I’m focusing on bringing value to my readers so keeping local spots, tips and tricks a secret doesn’t give you much does it?! Soldier Pass Trail is a “moderately trafficked” trail and I think it’s only moderate because of the lack of parking, otherwise I’m betting it would be MUCH busier. Here’s a video of our visit:
This is a great hike for families with some considerations. The full loop has a pretty steep climb going up to Brin’s Mesa so if you have little ones or family members that don’t want a rough hike just stick to 1/2 of the hike and turn around when it starts getting too rough. It’s definitely still a “hike” and not a paved/stroller usage type road.
Part of the trail is used for Jeeps/bikes/etc and some is just for on foot so portions of it may be busier than others. This trip we went on a Thursday late afternoon and it was pretty quiet. Both the Devils Kitchen Sinkhole and the Seven Sacred Pools can both be seen without too rough of a hike if you park in the “main” parking space. I didn’t do the full loop so I’m not sure about the other additional parking.
TIPS FOR HIKING SOLDIER PASS TRAIL
Parking is going to be your biggest hurdle. If you want to drive and park go first thing in the morning during the week not on a holiday. If you’re trying to visit on a weekend, in the Summer, Spring Break etc. you’re going to have a tough time parking unless you’re one of the first 14 vehicles there. There is NO parking outside of the parking lot as it is a residential neighborhood. There is an additional parking lot that you can try as well but I’m having trouble finding driving directions. We visited on a Thursday afternoon in late January and still had to wait 20 minutes or so for someone to come back to their car and leave.
I would suggest if you’re visiting from out of town and staying in a nearby hotel, see if your hotel offers shuttles or grab an Uber/other ride share service. Just make sure you pack along PLENTY of water (For out of towners bring 2-3x the water you think you’ll need. A hydration backpack is great for this.), snacks, sunscreen, extra phone chargers etc.
If you’re wanting a photo opp, as usual first thing in the morning or closer to sunset are going to be your best times. Especially for The Seven Sacred Pools!