Weather: 47º, overcast, misty
About this Hike: I first experienced the Soilders Pass trail in September of 2016. This was during my weeklong hiatus in Red Rock Country. During that visit I made it a theme of the trip to explore the Dry Creek / West Sedona trails in depth.
Soilders Pass is a hike with early rewards. Starting off is Devil's Kitchen Sinkhole. Shortly thereafter are the Seven Sacred Pools of Sedona. In September when I visited they were filled with stagnant water and at least one had scary mutant-looking tadpoles swimming about.
Anyway, on this particular Friday parking was a nightmare. The small trailhead is in a ritzy residential neighborhood where you best not even think of parking on the street. At the back of the trailhead is a turnaround area and a Jeep road. I waited in this area for at least 30 minutes for a parking spot. Jeepers and ATVs were whizzing by dangerously close to my car. Of course others were waiting too. As the first batch of hikers came off the trail, I (politely) informed other waiters I had been there first. Surprisingly nobody gave me a hard time. As the previous hikers backed out I enacted the universal sign of a claimed parking spot—I sat their anxiously, turn signal flashing...
I hoped with all the recent rain the pools would be a little fuller/cleaner. They were better, and no tadpoles this time. After the pools Soilers Pass gives way to red rock scenery and small arroyos. This opens up to magnificent cliffs as you start to ascend Brins Mesa. Near the top of Brins Mesa U.S. Forest Service Rangers were trimming manzanita bushes. A misty rain was falling off and on. I didn't go far on Brins Mesa. Someday under better conditions I'd like to go further on Brins and see where it leads to.
Despite the parking wait time and somewhat soggy conditions, this hike was totally worth it. Soilders Pass is a great winter-day (or any time!) hike in West Sedona.