Soldier Pass Arches Trail Sedona Arizona

Soldier Pass Arches

TRAIL STATS

Mileage: 3.1
Elevation gain: 595 feet
Time to complete: 2-3 hours
Stars: ★★★★½
Difficulty: 1/5 (Ratings explained)
Good trail, mild incline

Soldier Pass Trail leads to some fantastic arches where you can climb into a cave-like chamber that has a thrilling ledge traverse. But that’s not all. You’ll also be able to visit Devil’s Kitchen and Seven Sacred Pools along the way. This trail is popular, so you will want to get there early for good lighting and the possibility of having it to yourself for one blessed moment.


Trail Description

Soldier Pass Trail No. 66

There are two trails marked on the map, but the one on the left is actually a forest service road, and you’ll likely see a couple Jeeps tours heading in. (A permit from Recreation.gov is required for all motorized access.) Just go ahead and feel happy about being on foot because chances are good you’ll all arrive at Seven Sacred Pools at the exact same time, but you also get to see the arches! (And maybe take way too many photos of the glorious century plants, if you’re lucky enough to be there when they’re in bloom. I’m so guilty.)

Century plant on Soldier Pass Trail

Devil’s Kitchen

After two tenths of a mile, you’ll come to Devil’s Kitchen, a really cool sinkhole that appeared in the 1880s. We couldn’t help but think about rappelling into it, though the only way out seemed to be the same way you got in—a rope. Ah, too much work.

Be sure to visit the lower and upper viewpoints here because each is unique.

Devil's Kitchen Soldier Pass Trail Sedona
Devil’s Kitchen

Seven Sacred Pools

Continuing on the trail for just under half a mile more, you and the Jeeps you saw at the beginning will arrive at Seven Sacred Pools. They were filled, though muddy, and I couldn’t help but think about the powerful influence of a great name. The truth is, we saw a lot of other pools that I guess weren’t sacred, but it was all sacred to me.

Seven Sacred Pools on Soldier Pass Trail
Seven (Muddy) Sacred Pools

Stay on the hiker trail until you reach the junction for the arches, which is at a pretty obvious trail fork and is marked on the map. Go right.

Soldier Pass Arches

I’ve heard them called caves, but technically they are arches nestled up against the cliff side. If you happen to get off the main trail like we did, you’ll arrive at a large arch without the cool upper chamber first. That’s okay, it’s a great view anyway, and you’ll soon be following the voices over to the main attraction.

A natural arch along Soldier Pass Trail in Sedona
The arch without the cool upper chamber. Still cool.

If you stayed on the main trail (good job!), you’ll arrive at the two-story arch first. An easy climb is required to access it. Don’t forget to check out both arches either way.

The upper chamber, complete with sketchy ledge (ah, yeah)

Walk the ledge. You have to, right? Climb up into the small arch if you’re extra brave. Take it all in. And turn around at the end of the ledge because the view behind you is pretty sweet, too (hint: it’s the cover photo).


Map & Directions

Location Soldier Pass, Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness, Sedona, Arizona

From Highway 89A in Sedona, go north on Soldier Pass Road. Take a right on Shadow Rock Drive and then a left on Forest Service Road 9904.

Shuttle If the Sedona Shuttle is running, you can’t park at the trailhead, so you will need to make a left into the Carruth Dr from Soldier Pass Road and then right on Posse Ground Dr and park there. Hopefully the shuttle is there or will be soon. Our driver told us it runs every 50 minutes. If it’s not and you’re eager to get going, you can take the pedestrian path to the trailhead (marked in black on the map). You can also walk on the way back, if you prefer.

Fees/Passes None

Trailhead Facilities Portable toilets available

Download KML or GPX


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Disclaimer Outdoor activities have inherent risk, and we will not be able to tell you all the risks you may face. You are responsible for your own safety, so prepare as well as you can and know your limits. Follow this guide at your own risk. And have fun!


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