Soldiers Path #60 to hidden cave

Updated: Jun 2, 2021

Distance: 4.7 miles

Elevation Gain: 541 ft.

Type: Out and back with loop option

Difficulty: Easy / Moderate

Location: 34°53'03.4"N 111°47'01.8"W

Family Friendly: Yes, but we recommend 6+ for cave.

Dog Friendly: Yes, on a leash

Shade: Little

Fees: None as of 1/2021


The soldier Path Trail head parking lot is a postage stamp size lot, that is located deep in a Sedona neighborhood. The gate is only open between 8am-6pm, and with only 14 spots you want to be there early if you want to park in that lot. There are other points to access the trail, the locations will be listed below.


Our Hike

The trail is well marked from the parking lot following the rock baskets churns, it leads us down and across a dry wash. The path leads to where the trail divides with Jordan Trail to the right, and Soldier Pass Trail to the left. 

About 1/4 mile in we reached Devil’s Kitchen, a mammoth sinkhole that is still growing. The sinkhole is it is approximately 150ft wide and 50ft deep. Devils kitchen is a unique sinkhole because “outcrops in the immediate vicinity of the Devils Kitchen sinkhole contain no limestone. The upper walls of the collapse area are made up of massive sandstone of the Schnebly Hill Formation, while the lower walls consist of weaker, shaly siltstone of the Hermit Formation. The sinkhole almost certainly formed as the result of deep-seated collapse of caverns in the subjacent Redwall Limestone.” Another geological distinction of Devils Kitchen it is a wet sinkhole. Usually, a sinkhole develops when the water level in an underground cave drops below the ceiling causing it to dry out, and then collapse. You can read more about the unique geology of devils kitchen here.

From Devils kitchen we continued to the Seven Sacred Pools, which is located 1/4 mile from the Devils Kitchen. When filled with water the seven bowls form consecutive reflecting pools that line up, and point toward the scenic red-orange rock towers in the horizon. Sadly, there was only a little stagnant murky water in one of the pools when we visited. Although, they were dry, they were still interesting. They created a fun location to take photos, and admire the unique beauty of erosion. After Seven Sacred Pools we continued along for .9 miles to reach a fork in the trail to reach the cave. To hike to the cave go to the right or continue to the left to stay on Soldiers Pass. After crossing the flat mesa we stayed to the left to continue on the trail.

The pinned location on the map is for the turn off for the cave.

After the mesa the incline started increasing, and heading towards the base of the cliff is where the trail gets difficult. Following the path we can see that we are headed towards an arch in the wall, but once we were closer, we could see there are two arches. To access the cave we climbed up the crevice on the right side of the alcove with the small arch window above it. There are some rocks stacked on each other forming steep rugged steps leading up into the cave. Once inside, the steep crack we crawled through was below us, and the expansive warmly lit cavern greeted us. It was a extremely nerve wracking walking alongside the crack because of the steep drop-off. Exploring the cave pushed my fear of heights to its limits, and I was unable to walk the entire cave. Even though, the cave made me feel extremely uncomfortable, I am delighted that I push against my fear of heights, and experience the cave. Due to the difficultly and the narrow edges, I do not, recommend the cave for families with young children.

We all agree that the secret cave is the best part of hiking Soldier Pass Trail, and it deserves to be on the Sedona buck list. Climbing into the narrow opening to discover a cavern behind the alcove is such a neat experience! The light shining, and dancing through the arches, and cracks gives the cave a warm red-orange glow that makes it a natural wonder that can be admired for hours.


Special Considerations

The majority of the trail is exposed, and even in January the trail was quite warm. I recommend hiking this trail Nov-April due to the lack of shade. During the summer with soaring 100+ degrees temperatures, the red buttes, mesas, and the desert surroundings would give this hike the ambience of taking a stroll in the Devils Kitchen.

Soldiers Pass is well-marked for the majority of the hike; however, there are several trails that go off in other directions. Some of them connect to other trails, and go on for miles. There are interconnecting trails everywhere in this area, so I recommend a good trails map or an app.

There are other trails that access the Soldier’s Pass Trail if the lot is full, or you if desire a sunrise hike. There are larger parking lots at Jim Thompson Trailhead Or Jordan Park Trailheads, but this will add a couple of miles to your hike.

When you visit, remember your are in a delicate ecosystem. Leave this beautiful place better than you found it. Treat this natural treasure with the care it deserves! There will plenty of reasons to come back and see it again.


⚠️Underwesternskiesaz.comis a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission, but your price will not change. All products that I linked to we use personally, and most of the links are for safety equipment. I highly recommend going out with a first aid and snake bite kit. We don’t make any recommendations based on commission. ⚠️

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All