SOLDIER PASS ARCHES
Soldier Pass Arches
The Soldier Pass Arches trail is a pretty walk through rolling red rock hillsides. The trail is wide and well maintained for the most part.
Just a few minutes into the hike you will pass a huge sinkhole to your right, known as “Devil’s Kitchen.” Peer inside and take a few pictures before continuing around the edge for the rest of the trail.
A little over half a mile into the hike you will pass the Seven Sacred Pools which are dips in the rock in a small canyon off to the left. There is water here year round and I’ve heard it is a gathering place for animals. I haven’t seen any yet! A friend tells me not to be here during a flash flood!
The trail continues up and down little dips, passing dry washes and giving you gorgeous views no matter where you turn. When you reach the 1.25 mile point you’ll see a Wilderness Boundary sign and fence. The books tell you to ignore the wide trail that goes straight ahead; take the other one instead and you will soon begin to climb up out of the wash towards the arches. If I recall correctly, my friends and I went through the fence and along the wash for a short way before turning and climbing.
From Phoenix, take I-17 north to Hwy 179 (exit 298). Turn left onto 179 and follow it past the Village of Oak Creek to the Sedona (Burger King) “Y”. Turn left at the “Y” onto West 89A. Watch for Soldier Pass Road (there’s a light) and when you see it turn right onto it. Turn right on Rim Shadows drive then go straight ahead until you eventually see a graveled parking lot to the left. The trailhead is at the end of the lot, marked “Soldier Pass Trail #66”
Moderate. The trail itself is well-maintained but the final climb to the arches is uphill and you should take it slow if you’re not used to hiking.
Things to bring:
Wear very comfortable shoes. If you plan to climb around in the arches, hiking boots with traction are a good idea, otherwise regular sneakers will do. Bring water, snacks, and your camera.
Check with the US Forest Service for pass and fee information before your trip. A Red Rock Pass is required for parking in most locations.