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Southwestern USA Hiking Trails including Scottsdale, Phoenix, Northern Arizona


Soldiers Pass to Brim Mesa - Sedona, AZ

Directions: Park at the Posse Grounds in Sedona and take the Sedona hiking shuttle to the trailhead. Follow these directions from Sedona Town Center to the Posse Grounds park-and-ride parking lot.

  1.  Travel east on 89A 1.6 miles, then turn right onto Soldier Pass Rd.

  2.  Continue 0.7 miles and turn left into Posse Grounds Park and ride.  

  1. It's important to note that the parking area fills up fast, so arriving early in the morning is best to ensure a spot. Make sure to confirm the bus is going to Soldier Pass. The same bus also takes hikers to Dry Creek Trail. The bus alternates trips between the two hikes.  

  2. Tip:  If you missed the bus and don't want to wait 50 minutes, it's about a 15-minute walk to the trailhead.

About the hike: Soldiers Pass to Mesa Brim is a 4.5-mile trail with an elevation gain of 856-feet. I would rate this trail as moderate especially at the end of the trail where you'll encounter a steep incline up to Mesa Brim. The hike features the seven sacred pools and caves for exploration.

The trail welcomes you with stair going downward towards a dry creek bed, and then you immediately start climbing up the hillside on the stoney steps.

The massive red rock formations peek through the Ponderosa Pines as you ascend upward.

At the top of the hill is an open space with carins clearly marking the trail. To continue on Soldier's Pass take a right at the marker.

I really liked this part of the trail hiking across the rocky slate. It felt like I was walking down nature's sidewalks soaking in all the majestic beauty in front of me.

As I walked across the smooth pathway I noticed off to my right a small indention in the mountainside. Not quite a cave but deep enough to provide shelter from Mother Nature's elements. I wondered about all the creatures who may have seeked shelter and safety there.

The rocky slate pathway turned into a packed red earth trail leading me into a cluster of trees providing the perfect shady canopy to slow down and breath in the different scents permanating off of the trees and earth.

While in the shade of Mother Nature, the trail leads into the Red Rock Secret Mt Wilderness.  

Exiting the cottonwood and pinyon pine canopy, I arrived at a dry creek bed. This part of the trail was tricky because the dirt trail went straight down except along the ledge, where you could navigate through the boulders. It was a giant step down to the lower boulder in one place. This was all forgotten when I arrived at the Seven Sacred Pools shortly after.  

The seven Sacred Pools are carved out of ocher-colored sandstone and fed by a seasonal stream. These pools are located between the Oak Creek Mountains and Sedona's arid desert land; the pools are an essential water source for the area's wide variety of wildlife.

At this time of year, in May, the water wasn't flowing, but I still found a peaceful spiritual quality in this tranquil place in the high desert.  

After spending a respite in this tranquil place, I continued on my hike. Shortly up the trail, I came upon a beautiful view of Cathedral Rock in the distance.

From this point on, the elevation gain is continuous towards Mesa's Brim, but the views grow more spectacular. Along my way, I noticed small coves eroded into the sandstone along the mountain range's ridge line.

Navigating the loose gravel and rocky steps to the top of Mesa's Brim was challenging, but the views were well worth my effort.  

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