Sterling Pass Trail

MODERATE 38 reviews
#36 of 167 trails in

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 moderate. 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
1801 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

walking

forest

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.

hiking
12 days 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
1 month 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)

1 month 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
2 months ago

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.

4 months ago

Absolutely beautiful!!

hiking
7 months ago

Secluded trail, beautiful scenery.

hiking
7 months ago

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

7 months ago

Steep but great views. Not for the squeamish.

hiking
8 months ago

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.

8 months ago

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.

hiking
8 months ago

Awesome hike today to the Vultee Arch with great grp of gals had gorgeous weather up in Sedona

hiking
9 months ago

Went about halfway due to a time constraint. Very nice secluded trail with beautiful views and a solid mix of scenery. Steep to start and the trail has several spots where you must clamber over rocks or fallen trees but very manageable.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike. Challenging at times. Snow and ice on top of trail. Vultee arch was the reward at the end.

hiking
10 months ago

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.

hiking
11 months ago

Amazing views! Steady uphill. Challenging but not too difficult for decently experienced hikers.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fantastically shaded and great fall colors!! One of my favorite trails in Sedona. Parking is limited so you need a little luck :-)

hiking
Tuesday, October 04, 2016

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!!!

hiking
Monday, March 28, 2016

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.

Monday, March 28, 2016

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.

hiking
Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Short and intensive

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