Hike Soldier’s Pass Loop, Sedona, AZ

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

68 degrees at 6:00, high of 86

Rated 4.5, it is a 4.5-mile loop trail. We turned it into a 6-mile hike with a few diversions. Sedona is a huge hiking area with 252 trails, most of which are highly-rated. With beautiful, red mountains all around, it is hard to go wrong.

All Trails hiking app warned us of parking problems, recommending the city shuttle. As we got to the closed parking lot, a lady in a car asked if we wanted a ride. We said yes and followed her to a remote parking area. She introduced herself as Debbie. She used to drive the city shuttle, then decided to go on her own. It was going to be a busy day for her. She talked quickly as we drove back to the trail head. “Don’t miss the turn to the cave”, she warned, showing us a picture of the turn. “Drink lots of water, and don’t push it. Turn around when you begin to tire. Go up the road for the first part. The trail is muddy.”

We got out, paid her and walked over to the trailhead sign. Martha is a good trail follower, and she reads every sign to completion. I always let her take the lead so I can take pictures. We missed the turn to the cave, as there was no sign or marker, so we went back. 

Following a man and his son, we climbed up a mountain to the mouth of a cave. It had a very steep and narrow slot into the cave. Once over that hurdle, it opened into a cave with a 3.5’ shelf across a wide opening. there was another shelf above. A man in sandals climbed down with a baby in his arms! His wife followed.

Across the shelf was another slot climbing out and further up the mountain. There was a half-oval window on the other side. Young people were climbing onto the window to have their pictures taken. I am amazed by what people will do to take a picture. I don’t like heights, so I didn’t want to explore any more. I was quite happy to climb out and get my feet on solid ground.

Up the mountain and over the mesa, the views were great. Back down the other side, we came to a parking lot, then followed another trail over to our parking lot. We were tired when we got there, especially knowing it was a mile and a half to where we parked our car. Amazingly, Debbie was at the gate waiting for us. As we smiled and got in, she said she was worried about us. She was also surprised such old people had walked the loop. She gave us a bottle of water and talked about all the things to do in and around Sedona. She recommended Judi’s for lunch, as she had worked there for 10 years.

It was an excellent lunch at Judi’s, and our waitress couldn’t have been nicer. Martha had a reuben sandwich and I had the chicken taco special. Now that we were revived, it was a good day.

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