The Birthing Cave trail in Sedona is nice, short, fairly easy trail to do. Unless you do it the same day you do Soldiers Pass and you’re overweight and out of shape.
Oh, wait, that was me.😆
Honestly, getting to the trail head was probably harder than the trail was. My GPS disagreed with what AllTrails said. And I didn’t actually find the trailhead. I stopped too soon and parked along the road near the Mescal trail head. Which is also how I learned there was another route to Devil’s Bridge but I’d already been there the last time I was in Arizona.
We started out on the Mescal Trail thinking we were just going to go a mile or so in and see what there was as we knew we weren’t in the right spot. Luckily a quarter mile in, we hit a trail junction that included a branch off onto the Long Canyon Trail which is where I had been trying to drive to. So we took it. It was a nice single track with some elevation drop.
Once at the Long Canyon trailhead, we headed back towards the Birthing Cave. Or, at least we hoped, this trail doesn’t have signs and there some places you could another direction. We ran into others just as confused as we were. Good thing was that this trail was pretty flat, wide and actually runnable if you wanted to.
After a little more winding back towards the cliff walls, you start to climb. I had to take a break, I’m so out of shape.😂. Then you start to scramble up, careful you don’t try to use a cactus as your handhold. The cave is cool but also not as big as you think it will be and it fills up quickly. It’s also very slippery and I was too tired to try climbing all the way in. I didn’t need to break my face.
After a short time in the cave enjoying the views, we headed back to the car. With the extra we tacked on with parking at the wrong trailhead, we came up just under 3 miles. Like I said, short but still good.
Getting sick in January may have derailed my original vacation plans by a lot, I was still planning on adding getting in some miles on new to me trails. So I headed back to Sedona.
First trail up was Soldier’s Pass.
AllTrails calls Soldier’s Pass a moderate, 4.5 mile out and back trail. There is a small trailhead parking lot but will likely be full. We parked in overflow about a mile down the street at a school/ bike park location. There was a nice trail that ran along the road so it was nice warmup.
I love the color of the rocks and desert in Sedona. I know it gets hyped up a lot but there is a very valid reason for it. That also means be prepared for crowds. Everywhere. From prepared, experienced hikers to people in flip flops.
The beginning of the trail brings you to a cool sinkhole to check out. Then about a mile in (or 2 from overflow) the trail brings you to the Seven Sacred Pools. Maybe I was tired, but this part was a little underwhelming. Were there 7 pools? Maybe. Maybe I was blind. The trail starts to climb a little here but nothing strenuous.
The path was nicely shaded actually as we made our way to a little plateau. From there the real climb begins and things start to get hard. The path narrows and gets steeper as you make the last climb to the rock wall and the caves. The caves are cool. Getting up an into the big one is sketchy but I am proud that my claustrophobic self managed to climb up to the cave level. I spent some time up there for a bit- only almost fell once, ha! It does get crowded up there though and how more people don’t fall, I don’t understand. I did slip on my way back out of the caves and wrenched my shoulders a bit but I didn’t fall, so win!
From there, it was back down to the plateau then on to the Seven Sacred Pools again. Took a few moments here to take a sit and eat a snack or 2. It was a little warmer than I figured for March, even in Arizona.
All in all, round trip from the overflow lot to Soldier’s Pass was 6 miles with around 800 ft of elevation gain. Most of that in the last .25 mile or so. Totally worth it.
Friday was our last full day in Arizona and as amazing as the Canyon is, we wanted to see some other sights as well. We were up early and headed off for Sedona.
Sedona feels like a completely different world from the Grand Canyon. There’s just something about it. We were both super sore from the previous 2 days so we knew we weren’t up for something intense. So after a stop at the local Golden, errr Teal, Arches, my mother says- hey I found a trail. It’s called Devil’s Bridge and it’s only a 1.8 mile round trip hike. Ok, sounds pretty chill.
The trail head was crowded so we had to park on the street just as many others were doing. That should have been the first sign. Since it was a short hike, I didn’t feel like taking my pack and almost didn’t take water. I grabbed a bottle at the last moment and shoved it in my handheld.
As we walked into the trail area, the second sign appeared. This one literal- Devil’s Bridge, 2 miles from this point, take water. Hmmm, ok, I knew we parked on the street but it shouldn’t be 1 mile to the trail head??? And it wasn’t. Color me confused.
We picked up the trail and headed out. I was even more confused as there were a lot of cars in the trailhead lot not to mention those that parked on the street- but there was no one on the trail? The only people we saw were a couple of mountain bikers who were headed for a different trail. This continued for almost a mile. Were we lost?? The trail finally dumped us out onto an OHV road with an arrow saying it was the way to Devil’s Bridge. Ok?
Other than the deep sand we were walking in, the trail was fairly easy. But there was no way this was 1.8 miles roundtrip. Then we hit another trailhead. Huh? This one was only accessible by foot or by a high-lifted 4X4. Interesting. Not only were we running into more people, the trail was getting a little more technical. Ok. We kept going.
The views were amazing, so the extra distance wasn’t an issue. I had a Buff so I was keeping it up when people got a little close on the trail. It also helped me hide my facial expression when I overheard a conversation. A woman and man were hiking together and judging by their gear and clothes- they were athletes- runners or cyclists- something. But then I hear the woman say that she doesn’t like how spaced out the stone steps/ dirt was. It just wasn’t working for her stride and she wished it was different. Huh????? Sure, let me call Mother Nature about that right now.
The trail became more intense the closer you got to the Devil’s Bridge- like you now needed your hands to climb up rocks and steps to reach higher parts of the trail. Again, the parents letting their children run wild surprised me. There was a lookout point and then one last rocky climb up to the level of Devil’s Bridge– only to discover where all the people were. There was an hour+ line for top of the bridge photo ops! What??
No, I didn’t wait. There were way too many people. I tried to take some arch pics from where I was and then I headed back. Now we had to negotiate those same rock climbs going down- and I ate it on the first one- like I bounced. So much for having a big backside- other hikers told me they heard my tailbone hit rock. Yep, felt that one. Ouch.
Then we hiked back out following the OHV trail the whole way. Where once again we saw a sign- it too said Devil’s Bridge was 2 miles from that point- but it was still 1/2 mile or so to the other sign that said the same thing. So the true length of the trail is anyone’s guess. My watch showed 4.6 miles roundtrip.
The trail was gorgeous but I was a little broken- so the rest of the day was spent just strolling around downtown Sedona, hitting all the tourist stops. I would love to go back and spend more time on trails, maybe just in better shape.
Oh and my backside? Bruises that rivaled my dog attack- and it hurt to sit for over a week.