Soldiers Pass Trail is a moderate trail that offers a back country feel yet is almost located in the middle of town. Sandwiched between Brins Ridge and Capitol Butte (a.k.a. Thunder Mountain), this trail offers everything you would expect from a great trail. The trail rolls through a number of arroyos, past the area’s largest sinkhole (Devils Kitchen), along the “Seven Sacred Pools,” then up 509 feet atop Brins Mesa. The highlight of the trail (according to my children) is the impressive sinkhole which was reported as a major collapse event in the 1880’s (retold by Albert E. Thompson in 1968) and then a secondary event in 1989 increased the size of the sinkhole by 1/3 (large block on the northern wall).
Soldier Pass Trail is a 4.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Sedona, Arizona that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
There are two trailheads that you can use to get there. Both are accessed by 89A. To get to the closest trailhead to Soldier Pass trail is by turning North on Soldier Pass Road to its conclusion. At the other trailhead you will need to take Jordan Road to its end, then hike either Jordan trail or Brins Mesa to get to Soldiers Pass. Both trailheads require a Red Rocks Pass. There are machines to buy a pass at both places.
This very short trail is maintained by Red Rock Jeep Tours in conjunction with the Coconino National Forest, and you can expect to meet some of the tour jeeps along the trail as well as private vehicles. The trail does not go all the way to Soldier Pass but stops a short distance before it. It is suitable for high-clearance 4WD vehicles, because it is rough and sandy for most of the way. The main trail is rated a 4 for difficulty, but the short spur to the Devils Kitchen sinkhole rates a 5 because of the rough slickrock and short, steep sections. Special Attractions: Devils Kitchen—a natural sinkhole; Popular, short rugged trail used by 4WD tour companies; Natural rock tanks of Seven Sacred Ponds. High-clearance vehicles are preferred, but not necessary. This trail is dirt roads, but may have rocks, grades, water crossings, or ruts that make clearance a concern in a normal passenger vehicle. The trail is fairly wide, so that passing is possible at almost any point along the trail. Mud is not a concern under normal weather conditions.