Brins Mesa - Soldiers Pass Trail Loop, Jordan Trailhead, Sedona: Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness, Arizona
Brins Mesa - Soldiers Pass Trail Loop - 5.2 miles
|Round-Trip Length:||5.2 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||4,527' - 4,527' (5,073' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+546' net elevation gain (+1,124' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Brins Mesa - Soldiers Pass Trail Loop - 5.2 Miles Round-Trip
The Brins Mesa, Soldiers Pass, Jordan, and Cibola Pass trails form a 5.2 mile loop through stunning red rock formations and open desert just outside downtown Sedona.
This popular route is highlighted by views over Mormon Canyon, Capitol Butte, Brins Mesa, the Seven Sacred Pools, Devils Kitchen and miles of open red rock desert. The following description begins on the Brins Mesa Trail and travels counter-clockwise:
Note that some trails in this area have been renamed or re-routed, and that commonly used maps don't always match trail signs. Refer to updated signs for guidance on the Jordan and Cibola Pass trails:
The Brins Mesa Trail heads northwest through intervals of cypress, pinyon, juniper, yucca, manzanita, agave, prickly pear and cats claw.
At 1.0 mile (4,722') the grade steepens on a stone-stepping climb to the mesa top (1.4 miles : 5,073'), where it levels and drops gently down a sloping plateau with good views across the adjacent canyon, and north to Lost Wilson Mountain (6,762') and Maroon Mountain (6,666').
Turn left on the Soldiers Pass Trail (2.05 miles : 4,935'), where you'll begin a steep, twisting descent beside Capitol Butte. This rugged section is highlighted by open rock and a diverse collection of cacti and shrubs.
The trail moderates through 2.75 miles (4,607') on a rolling course to the Seven Sacred Pools (3.7 miles : 4,518'). The Seven Sacred Pools fill deep potholes in a shallow sandstone slot, most of which are easy to reach. These are critical water sources for local wildlife, and should not be used for consumption or swimming.
Note that a Jeep road splits off to the right, and you'll keep left on the Soldiers Pass Trail.
The Soldiers Pass Trail climbs over the pools to Devils Kitchen, a 40+' deep sinkhole formed when fractures in underlying sandstone layers collapsed. A few steps away is the Jordan Trail (4.1 miles : 4,511'), which turns east across open slick rock beneath towering formations.
This short section is potentially confusing, as some maps suggest the Soldiers Pass Trail connects directly with the Cibola Pass Trail - note you must first travel a short distance on the Jordan Trail to reach Cibola.
The Jordan Trail undulates through open rock with unabated views to the Cibola Pass Trail (4.5 miles : 4,535'), a seamless split that keeps you heading east.The Cibola Pass Trail dips and rises steeply several times back to the Jordan Trailhead to complete the loop (5.2 miles).
- N34 53.279 W111 46.107 — 0.0 miles : Brins Mesa Trailhead
- N34 53.469 W111 46.426 — .5 miles :
- N34 53.848 W111 46.501 — 1.0 miles : Begin steep climb to mesa top
- N34 54.023 W111 46.765 — 1.4 miles : Crest and level on mesa top
- N34 54.305 W111 47.297 — 2.05 miles : Soldiers Pass Trail split
- N34 54.103 W111 47.383 — 2.5 miles : Steep, twisting descent in varied landscape
- N34 53.762 W111 47.202 — 3.05 miles : Winding travel through cypress stands
- N34 53.424 W111 47.147 — 3.7 miles : Seven Sacred Pools
- N34 53.215 W111 46.993 — 4.1 miles : Jordan Trail split
- N34 53.185 W111 46.655 — 4.5 miles : Cibola Pass Trail split
- N34 53.279 W111 46.105 — 5.2 miles : Brins Mesa Trailhead
- The Jordan Trailhead sees heavy traffic all year long, especially on weekend mornings. Arrive early to secure parking and avoid crowds.
- New signs offer guidance on the last 1.1 miles between the Soldiers Pass Trail, Jordan Trail, and Cibola Pass Trail. Refer to updated trail signs.
- Parry Agave is variously referred to as Century Plants. Century Plants bloom only once in their life, sometime between 10-30 years. It begins with a thick, asparagus-like stalk that can grow 8" a day and reach over 10' in just two weeks. This process drains the plant of all its resources, killing it in the process. The seeded stalk dies too, but with a full stock of seeds that are re-distributed by wind and wildlife.
- On June 18, 2006 a fire broke out on Brins Mesa that affected nearly 4,500 acres. While many trees were charred grasses, brush, and wildflowers have filled open spaces, and the area is recovering naturally.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- There are no designated backcountry campsites in the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness. Dispersed camping is permitted in specific areas past trailheads and roads (see map page to view the PDF). It's advisable to contact visitor services at 928.203.2900 to review your itinerary in advance.
- Backpackers must be at least one mile from the trailhead, or as indicated by the map or signs at trailheads (guidelines may vary slightly by trail).
- Backpackers are encouraged to occupy sites used by others, and practice leave no trace ethics.
- Water is scarce. Plan on carrying all of your own into the backcountry.
- Campfires are permitted on a seasonal and forest condition basis. Fire restrictions are strictly enforced.
- Bears and others animals capable of reaching your food inhabit Red Rock Country. Store supplies safely by hanging or using bear canisters.
- There are 7 developed campgrounds in the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness vicinity: Pine Flat, Cave Springs, Manzanita, Chavez Crossing, Clear Creek, and Clear Creek Group Camp. There are at least 186 combined individual sites and 4 group sites.
- Individual sites range $16-18 per night, and group sites $65-200. Coconino Forest Campgrounds do not accept Credit Cards on site (except Cave Springs). Cash and in-state checks only. Reservations and credit card payments may be made in advance through Recreation.gov or by calling 877.444.6777.
Rules and Regulations
Red Rock Pass - a fee is required to recreate in the Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness:
- Daily Pass: $5
- Weekly Pass: $15
- Annual Pass: $20
The Red Rock Pass is valid for use as a parking permit to recreate in Red Rock Country, including access to Red Rock Country Heritage Sites.
It's not valid for other fee areas such as developed campgrounds, Grasshopper Point Picnic and Swimming Area, Crescent Moon Day Use Area, and Call O' the Canyon (West Fork Trailhead).
Passes may be obtained at all Ranger Stations, Visitor Centers, Online, and at a number of local kiosks and commercial vendors (e.g. grocery stores).
Directions to Trailhead
The Jordan Trailhead is located 1.7 miles from the Highway 179 - 89A split in Sedona, AZ. The trailhead is located above a residential community on the north side of town.
From the 179 - 89A split, drive .2 miles north on 89A to Jordan Road. Turn left on Jordan Road and drive .8 miles to Park Ridge Road. Turn left on Park Ridge and follow signs into the parking lot cul-de-sac. There are signs for the trailhead along this short drive. Note the last few hundred yards are packed dirt-gravel.
Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness
Red Rock Ranger District
8375 State Route 179 (just south of the village of Oak Creek)
Sedona, Arizona 86341
8:00 - 4:30 Monday - Friday
Visitor Information: 928.203.2900
Administration Office: 928.203.7500 or 928.282.4119
Coconino National Forest
1824 S. Thompson St.
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Visitor Information: 928.526.0866
Supervisor's Office: 928.527.3600