Sterling Pass Trail is a 3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Sedona, Arizona that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from Flagstaff: Drive 22 miles south out of Flagstaff or 5.5 miles north from Sedona. The trailhead is a bit hard to see but it's on the west side of the highway, near mile marker 380. It's about a hundred yards north of the entrance to Manzanita Campground and a short distance south of Slide Rock Lodge. Parking is available some distance away, south of Manzanita Campground, on the east side of the highway.
A. You will be rewarded with 5 star Views !!
B. Please be Aware this is a switch-back trail with vertical ascent of 1150 ft. In 1.4 miles !! Then after reaching the Saddle, if you continue down the other side,
your descent will feature the same parameters!!
Your reward is Vultee Arch !!
Better be in good shape because the return requires doing it all again, for a total of 5.2 miles !!
C. Giving it the "Hard" rating for good reason.
Amazing views! Steady uphill. Challenging but not too difficult for decently experienced hikers.
Fantastically shaded and great fall colors!! One of my favorite trails in Sedona. Parking is limited so you need a little luck :-)
Immediate ascent from the trail head to the top of the peak, with beautiful views. Definitely not an easy hike; I would do it again!!!
Awesome trail! It is definitely not for those who don't like heights or some rock scrambling. I did this in the winter and it was icy in spots.areas of the trail are right on a cliff face and there can be mud and flowing water in places. Very rewarding hike, very beautiful views.
like a previous hiker said, we made it to the first crest and decided that was good enough. it is a 1,000 ft climb over 1.5 miles and can give you a good cardio workout. Lots of dead trees obstructing views or interrupting the trail. the thought of dropping another 500 ft to see the arch and the climb again did not sound appealing as we were getting low on water and the obstructed views when we crested. Overall, this was a decent hike but not one that I would redo.
Short and intensive
Really enjoyed this trail, I would say it's moderate & it is not a loop trail. We did not go to Vultee Arch but plan to next time. Beautiful view.
Rather strenuous hike toward the end, took us about 3 hrs out and back from the trail head on 89A (park along road). We did stop for water and rest a couple of times, so by no means did we hike fast. This is not a loop trail. We did not go to the arch since the length of the hike to the top and back was sufficient. Nice views.
This trail is great. And will get you away from the tourists. Go to Vultee Arch. You can park right at the trailhead, just squeeze off the road.
Also wanted to correct that this is not a loop trail as states on Alltrails. It is an out and back hike.
Did this hike in March 2013. This is a very strenuous hike even if you are in good shape. You climb right from the beginning up to the summit and then back down to the bottom of the creek bed. On the way out it is reversed unless you are taking Vultee trail out and then you would need to have your car at that trailhead or have someone pick you up. There were a lot of downed dead trees and seemed like the trail needs some maintenance. I. don't agree with the previous review as the end of the hike takes you to a creek bottom with cliffs all around you. Big rock croppings directly below Vultee arch makes a nice peaceful place to have lunch or even camp for the night. Surprisingly there was no water in the creek. Difficult going but not as bad on the return.
It was a fairly strenuous hike, but a little anti climactic. The very end of the hike isn't scenic at all, but some of the views 80% of the way there were nice.