Sterling Pass Trail is a 3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sedona, Arizona that features a great forest setting and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
3.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,804 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

walking

forest

views

snow

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.

4 days ago

Difficult climb and footing, but breathtaking vistas and great payoff view.

7 days ago

By far my favorite hike in Sedona!! Very difficult do not start out thinking it’s only 3 miles. The climb will get to you, trust me. We took this trail all the way to the end where it reaches the Vultee Arch trail. Of course we had to go up to Vultee Arch and have lunch the turned around and went out the same way we went in. Very hard and the elevation gain was somewhere around 4K- there was a lot of ups and downs and back up! It’s Gorgeous hike!!! Well worth it and is now one of my Top 10 hikes in AZ.

2 months ago

IT IS VERY DIFFICULT, a proper pack out is needed, water triple what you normally need due to the steep mountain climbs, proper hiking boots and trek polls. those things save your knees and the in some parts it's loose and slick. what for rain the hike becomes harder when it rains and the trail gets slicker. plan 5 hours round trip which should in could breaks in along the way and at the arch. That first steep hike up is the worst part, suck it up and do it. It down hill after that to the arch. rest for a bit and on your way back that hike back up is not too had not so steep but the poles really help you here. enjoy the scenery it takes the pain away. once at the summit it all down hill and moves fast watch for lightening. there is alot of areas there that shows lightening strikes alot in that canyon.

2 months ago

Great hike up a side canyon in the shadow of Wilson Mountain. Made it to the arch, well worth it. Saw a rattlesnake on the west side of the summit. Would do this hike again.

2 months ago

Wonderful hike. The trail is in good condition.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is hard to find - it's very easy to pass on 89A North, but is well worth the trouble. It has almost no parking, so you may consider parking in town, and then Uber'ing to the trailhead.
I liked that the initial part of the hike is a steep incline as you climb the mountain. Because of this, you quickly see lovely red rock views. Once you crest the top, you start a subtle decent through a woodland area.
In some areas, you're hiking on loose gravel and dirt, thus I highly recommend you wear proper hiking footwear. There is also a decent amount of poison ivy, so be forewarned.
I'm not sure this is the best trail for children because of the incline with such loose gravel & dirt, AND because of the poison ivy.
I recommend this trail, however there are many other hikes in Sedona with better views. ...which isn't to say this trail is boring at all.

backpacking
4 months ago

Went all the way to the arch,past end of trail. Returned back to 89A. Garmin shows 8.5 miles round trip. Great hike. Saw a lot of poison Ivy along trail. 4hours round trip with weighted backpack.

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike! https://youtu.be/jxDfGxc9qNI

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome hike hard to do late may when you’re not used to the heat. Didn’t see many people out. But be careful of poison oak that grows along the path. We hiked with somebody who great up knowing what it looks like and let us know when we were coming up to it.

hiking
5 months ago

Nice hike. I didn’t make it to the Arches, which is the full 3miles in, I believe. I stopped at the apex halfway, went a little down the backside (decent view 100 yards down) and returned. 45min to apex, about same back down. While it was quick, it was strenuous, but go at your own pace. Don’t let the difficulty scare you, I ran into octarians, septarians, etc... I was the youngest person on the trail (34yo).

It was a late morning hike, the sun is hot on the front side. Back side is well shaded and even green (in May).

I ran into a snake (not a rattler) mere steps off the trail. A lady I passed had spotted what she thought was a wild boar snorting around in the bush. Great views along the way, especially on the way back.

5 months ago

Incredible!!

6 months ago

Beautiful hike but more than 3 miles... plan accordingly

6 months ago

Whoa! Incredible views but if you have vertigo.. don’t look down. Strenuous, rocky steep. Go up over the pass and down the other side where the trail is softer, switch backs to Vultee Arch. But then you go back up and over again. 6.5 mi of ass kicking gorgeous hike!

hiking
7 months ago

Back again! What what. It was the last day of a beautiful month. As I was staying strong, being away from my Dudett/companion/cuddle bug/Jungle eye Queen for way to long (a total of 16 hours) We were once REUNITED!
We once again took the blue Sub down the scenic 89A north, with a mix CD so amazing MTVs TRL Carson Daly would be jealous . As tho, we did get confused on where to park. We did fine a great spot on the side of the road right next to the trail! The woman before me stated “Giving birth was easier than hiking this trail”...now as a man, I have no idea what that means but she nailed it. Off the bat you start ascending towards what seems like the sky. Off the bat the switch backs come in and seem to become an never ending bout with nature. She wins. Now, having a powerful, intelligent, one with Mother Nature...daughter nature(?) dudett like I have, extremely helps with conquering this trail. I’d suggest an ample amount of water, trail mix and layers. You will go from snow trails to sunshine. Icy trails to muddy and again a elevation that seems cruel. Please remind yourself to hydrate and stay hydrated. Make it to the arch, climb the arch and have a great feeling of accomplishment...and you will have to do the entire ascend all over again back.
To the Olympic athlete/robot man who passed us twice up and down..we get it, however make USA proud with your running my friend.

8 months ago

Giving birth was easier than the elevation gain on this trail

hiking
8 months ago

It was just challenging enough for my friends and me! The weather in the winter months really help the hike. Really recommend going to the arch at the end even if it seems scary. The view was gorgeous, and the photos turned out awesome! Easy access to the trail, which was a plus!

8 months ago

Agree with all written here.. well worth the hard work. Ironically we found a plaque at Vultee commemorating the plane crash of Jerry Vultee on 1/29/38. Our hike was 1/29/18.. made the hike extra special. You will enjoy this out and back.

hiking
8 months ago

An amazing hike with amazing views that I hope to do again. I lost my car keys but met some awesome people who made a bad situation feel not as bad. It’s definitely a hike that I’ll remember forever.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike! Went all the way to Vultee Arch. Uphill both ways but was very beautiful and well worth the climb.

hiking
9 months ago

Absolutely beautiful hike! One of my all time favorites near Sedona! I went solo and it took me 2.5 hours with a couple breaks to take pictures and eat a snack. This would definitely be difficult if you're not used to hiking or if you're out of shape; there's a lot of elevation change. But if you hike semi-regularly you should be fine. Gorgeous views and a beautiful landscape.

hiking
10 months ago

This was a beautiful hike. It is a bit longer than shown here. From the trail head to the highest point was 1.6 miles and then another 1.2 down the back to get to where the Sterling Pass and Vultee’s Arch trails meet. It is at that point where you can turn right and hike up to the arch.

Hiking up to the arch had some steep scrambling to it for a newer hiker. But nothing an experienced hiker would find too hard.

Sterling Pass itself is a moderate hike for an experienced hiker. More strenuous for someone new.

Once you reach the Sterling Pass/Vultee Arch middle, you can also keep walking on Vultee’s Arch to another trailhead where people can drive jeeps up to. That is another 1.5-1.6 miles.

hiking
11 months ago

What a hike! Short and steep! More difficult then some other moderate trails I have hiked. Also seems far for 3 miles. ( the route appears to have changed at some point)

11 months ago

Not for the ‘moderate’ hikers! This trail is long, steep and very challenging for endurance. The views are breathtaking and making it to the vista gives you quite a sense of accomplishment. We will be sore tomorrow no doubt. Worth the time, but be prepared!

hiking
Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pros: Beautiful mountain views, great birding (thanks to hiking in a valley), lots of shade & wildflowers, and it's not heavily populated. I also loved the woodland-feel of the trail. It was just lovely. If you're from Phoenix, the initial climb up reminded us of Piestwa Peak - a nice cardio challenge with switchbacks
Cons: Minimal parking available only off side of road.
Notes: In some stretches, this trail had loose, fine dirt as the trail, high along the peak before we crested. It could be dangerous without proper hiking shoes or boots. There were a decent amount of large rocks my friend & I had to carefully maneuver over (we're both around 5'-4"). Again, proper hiking footwear will minimize any slipping or falling for shorter legs. :-) Watch your footing! Overall, we loved this trail & would hike it again.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Absolutely beautiful!!

hiking
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Secluded trail, beautiful scenery.

hiking
Sunday, April 23, 2017

Very strenuous going uphill, but beautiful the whole way! I couldn't feel my legs or butt after. Best workout ever!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Steep but great views. Not for the squeamish.

hiking
Saturday, April 15, 2017

This is NOT A LOOP. It is a strenuous 1900 foot ascent... and if you want to go out the other side, you have a tough descent down the woodsy mountain back and another 5 mile walk until you get to the road. All Trails is misleading when they say this trail is a loop.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

WOW!! I can't feel my legs or butt cheeks after this hike! Lol

I decided to take my lovely girlfriend on this beautiful hike on 4-8-17 and we kicked butt! we made it all the way to the top of the arch and soon I find out she's afraid of heights! I know! she's screaming to the top of her lungs thinking she's going to fall off the mountain and die! lol she sat on her tush and slowly made her way back down the mountain lol :)

I would recommending pacing yourself on this hike and watch where you step.

I would recommend this to anyone looking for a beautiful hike.

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