• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    8 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1000 Feet

Scenic

This hike travels through open desert with great views of red rock country. You will need to have a 4x4 vehicle to access the Brins Mesa Trailhead from Vultee Arch Rd or start from Sedona at W. Park Ridge Dr to complete the loop.

This loop starts from Vultee Arch Rd. Important to note that doing this loop from here requires a high clearance 4x4. In this direction, the trail starts off flat and crosses a dry creek bed several times. The trail is relatively easy to follow. This section passes through junipers that offer some shade. Eventually, the trail begins to climb exiting the creek bed and junipers. After about one mile, you'll have great views of the surrounding red rock.

The top of the mesa is really a pass as you are surrounded by higher elevation red rock. After passing a large peak near the trail on the right, the route begins to descend steeply. This would be a very difficult section if you hike in the reverse direction. Short switchbacks take you down the bottom where the trail levels off again as you approach the trail head at W. Park Ridge Drive.

Just before the parking area, on the right, you'll see Cibola Pass Trail. Turn right here and follow the trail for about a half mile until you reach the junction with the Jordan Trail. The two trails merge so just continue straight. After about another half mile you'll reach the Soldiers Pass Trail. You can't miss this as it has constructed stone cairns and signage. Turn right here.

The Soldiers Pass Trail begins to climb gradually for about .25 mile when you reach Devils Kitchen, a sink hole with a large block of sandstone balanced on the side. About another .25 mile up the trail, you'll pass a series of seven potholes carved in the sandstone by water runoff.

The trail continues uphill and begins to get steeper. After about one mile from the trailhead, you can see Soldier's Pass Arch. Because of the open country, this remains in view for another half mile as the trail begins to get very steep. The Arch is difficult to spot but at mid-day you can clearly see light shining on the ground behind the arch. Access to the arch can be gained from the Brins Mesa Trail.

The trail begins to even out and turn to the right where it will end back on the Brins Mesa Trail. Turn left and follow Brins Mesa Trail back to the trailhead on Vultee Arch Road.

It is possible to starts this hike from Sedona at the trail head on W. Park Ridge Dr. and eliminate the need for a 4x4 and hike only the loop without the beginning of the Brins Mesa Trail. 

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Hat
  • Sun block
  • Plenty of water
  • Sturdy hiking boots
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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