Soldiers Pass Trail
If you don’t have a lot of time but still want some hardcore off-roading on the red rocks, don’t miss this trail. The short but challenging trail departs a Sedona neighborhood and quickly takes you to Devil’s Kitchen, a natural sinkhole.
Permits: The trail is limited by the Forest Service to 12 private vehicles per day using an online permit system. Permits can be obtained 72 hours to 90 days in advanced, but are given out on a first come, first served basis. More info and apply for permit here.
Where to go:
From downtown Sedona (Highway 89A/Highway 179 junction) head west on 89A. After 1.2 miles, turn right onto Soldiers Pass Road. Follow it north for 1.4 miles. Turn right onto Rim Shadows Dr. as you drive through a residential area. After a few hundred feet, turn left towards Jordan Trailhead. There is a small parking lot where the trail leaves the main road.
Immediately after leaving the parking lot, the trail turns to dirt and climbs over a moderate rock ledge. This obstacle is used to keep cars and other lower vehicles out. Continue north. Just after 0.1 miles, take a right onto F.R. 9904B to access Devil’s Kitchen. The trail is difficult
A couple hundred feet after leaving the main trail, the trail climbs over a few decent sized rock ledges or steps. Good clearance and 4-wheel drive will be needed. The trail quickly climbs over the slick rock and turns right. Off to the left at 0.2 miles is Devil’s Kitchen. The trail turns around and ends at an overlook of the large natural sinkhole at 0.3 miles. Return the way you came 0.2 miles back to the main trail. Turn right to continue north. Your odometer should read 0.5 (side trip added 0.4 miles).
Continuing north, the trail remains tight and rocky. The trail quickly climbs at 0.6 miles and splits at 0.7 miles. Stay right here. Stay right at 0.9 miles where a side trail leads to a natural feature known as the “Seven Sacred Pools”, or a series of cascading pools that fill up after a rain. There is a small parking area at the pools. Return to the main trail and turn right at 1.0 miles to continue north. The trail continues to be moderately difficult as it winds through the dense forest. The trail ends at a small turnaround spot at 1.4 miles. A hiking trail continues on but is the end of the road for vehicles. Return the way you came 0.9 miles back to the start.
Notes & Trail Ratings:
This is a very short but scenic trail. It is only about 2.4 miles roundtrip. Allow for 1-2 hours to drive the trail and stop at the two scenic spots. Despite being short, the trail is on the high end of moderately-difficult. Numerous rock ledges, and tight sections require careful tire placement in addition to high clearance and 4-wheel drive. We’ve rated this trail ‘6’ out of 10. An aggressive stock SUV can make this trail. Not advised for non-street legal vehicles since there is no place around to stage.