Distance: 4-7 miles
Elevation Gain: 600-1300 feet
Dog Friendly: Yes.
Permit/Pass Required: Yes. A Red Rocks Pass must be purchased to hike this area. It can be done at the kiosk for $5 at either parking lot (Jordan Road or Soldier Pass).
Tips: Get there early. And if you do, start at Jordan Trailhead as Soldier Pass’s parking lot doesn’t open until 8am and there is no parking in the surrounding neighborhood. This lot only has room for 15 cars which also keeps this trail less trafficked than it probably would be otherwise. Jordan’s parking lot is much larger and open by dawn but starting here will add an extra mile or two to your journey. This is well worth it though as each trail provides something spectacular.
About the Hike: I started my hike at the break of dawn to avoid the weekend crowds which meant starting at the Jordan Road Trailhead. At 7am there were only five other cars in the lot on a beautiful Sunday morning. My pup and I didn’t encounter a single human on the entirety of the Jordan Trail. The red dirt trail is well-maintained and easy to follow with signs at all trail crossings and will lead you almost a mile before you reach Soldier Pass Trail.
Once you reach the main event you’ll come face to face with Devil’s Kitchen Sinkhole, the largest of seven sinkholes in Sedona. Take moment to "oooohhhh" and "aweeee" over the growing hole in the ground then continue on to the Seven Sacred Pools. This photo-worthy spot was where I ran into my first humans on the trail, and while I would have loved to stop and chat, I knew this crowd was likely the 8am group that had just started their hike and this was my chance to get ahead of them, so I regretfully passed by the pools and continued onto my main destination: the hidden cave.
I had done a lot of research on finding this secret spot, and I highly recommend you do the same. And if you do, be safe, don’t harm the vegetation and please stay on the trails already created by those who have discovered this incredible gem.
After taking in the peace and quiet of the hidden cave, the pup and I continued on our journey, climbing to the top of Soldier Pass then cutting over to Brins Mesa for the final two miles of our 6.5 mile journey.
This is where the landscape changes again. The red soil turns golden brown and the mesa lays out flat and expansive in front of you. The Brins Fire burned 4,000 acres of this beautiful landscape back in 2006 and the new growth makes everything seem exceptionally green this time of the year.
To the right you’ll see a small trail veer off to a flat rock perfect for eating lunch or just taking in the sites, before you continue back down to the parking lot. If you struggle going downhill, this may be where the trekking poles come in handy, because the gradual climb you’ve conquered all day suddenly drops all at once, which makes for an incredible view the whole way down as you look across the red-rock filled valley.
The trail then becomes flat and you will be easily guided back to the Jordan Road parking lot, restrooms and your car….which ideally would be a brand new 2020 Toyota Highlander from your Valley Toyota Dealers!
Do you want to “Take a Hike with the Highlander?” Listen weekdays at high noon for the keyword to text or enter to win HERE!