“ All I ask is that your image has 4 equal sides, and that it reflects the theme of bright.”Becky B.
Only four more days of #BrightSquare including today, just enough time to take you on a new walk and to wish Beck a happy birthday. If you haven’t joined in, you still have time.
Sedona Old Soldier Pass Trail #1
We started our newest Sedona adventure at Butterfly Hamburger Restaurant which we highly recommend for hamburgers and the ahi tuna. The tuna was cooked to perfection, not poke. Our tiny waitress, a hiker and biker, highly approved of our planned adventure and hoped we’d find parking because we couldn’t park on the street.
The art festival traffic on State Route 179 caused the worst stop and go traffic we’d ever experienced all the way into Sedona where we hit Highway 89A. After a short stint on Old Soldier Pass Road, we pulled into the parking area just as someone was leaving and motioned us into their spot – the only one.
Warning don’t wear your bright shiny Las Vegas-style shoes on the Old Soldier Pass Trail just because it’s classified easy to moderate. Vince forgot to wear his hiking shoes. He came home with red toes, and you will see why in a second.
Easy is a subjective term. Some of the references say it’s four miles long, others say two. The sign says that the trail was constructed in cooperation with Red Rock Jeep Tours. We wondered how jeeps could travel those trails even though they were broad enough for two people to pass each other comfortably.
According to one sign, E-bikes were not allowed, so we were glad we left ours at home. We found a couple of bikes chained to a tree.
The USDA. Gov website said, “Motorized access beyond the trailhead requires a permit. Get more information and apply for a permit at Soldier Pass Motorized Use Permits. As of Jan. 8, 2020 Recreation.gov will be handling motorized use permits.”
Vince had to go ahead of me because I stopped every two seconds to take pictures. Even at an elevation of 4,400 feet, the path looked easy enough as we started out. It was flat with no potholes or small boulders to trip you if you looked at the gorgeous views instead of your feet.
The weather was a perfect 70 degrees with no winds. It rained the day before, so we hoped that the Seven Sacred Pools would be filled to the brim.
As soon as we rounded the first bend, the famous Sedona Rocks jutted into our sights. Don’t quote me but this might be Coffee Pot Rock. There are so many formations and they are parts of other formations that it takes a while to ferret out all the correct names. The sky was really that blue, the clouds that bright, and the dirt that red. No Photoshopping necessary on this trip.
“Continue on Soldier Pass until you meet and pass a jeep road at around 1.2 miles. You will see a fork in the trail.” Arizona Hiker’s Guide Forks were plentiful.
Signage was not as plentiful as promised. This would have been the perfect “Which Way Challenge” because there were at least three or four directions to turn, and we could see people on every trail.
We found distance to be relative as we talked to people coming back as we started our journey. Our goal – to see the Seven Sacred Pools.
Vince looks like he knows where he’s going, but we asked everyone if we were going the right way as we headed toward our goal.
At this point we had not even hiked 1/4 mile. We might have retraced our steps, though. I liked that there were no steep cliffs on either or both sides of the path.
Directions to Old Soldier Pass Trail #66
Location: 28 miles south of Flagstaff (1 mile north of Sedona) on paved and dirt Forest roads in scenic red rock country.
Access: From the junction of Routes 89A and 179, take 89A west 1.2 miles to Soldier Pass Road on the right. Go 1.5 miles to Rim Shadows Drive, then right 0.2 miles (keep straight ahead where Rim Shadows branches left) to a gated entry road to trailhead parking on the left.
GPS (Map): 34°53’03.4″N 111°47’01.8″W
USGS Maps: Wilson Mountain