Sterling Pass Trail

MODERATE 46 reviews
#33 of 165 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.

1 day ago

Giving birth was easier than the elevation gain on this trail

hiking
14 days 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!

20 days 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
28 days 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
1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month 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
2 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
3 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)

3 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
5 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.

6 months ago

Absolutely beautiful!!

hiking
9 months ago

Secluded trail, beautiful scenery.

hiking
9 months ago

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

10 months ago

Steep but great views. Not for the squeamish.

hiking
10 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.

10 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
10 months ago

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

hiking
11 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
11 months ago

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

hiking
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

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.

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