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Cibola Pass Trail, AZ

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Guide 38 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona NW
3.4 of 5 by 17
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Distance One Way 0.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,531 feet
Elevation Gain 170 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 1.27
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25  2019-06-01
Wilson Mountain Loop
16  2019-06-01
Wilson Mountain Loop
19  2018-12-27
Brins Mesa Trail #119
24  2018-12-24
Brins Mesa-Soldier Pass-Cibola Loop
18  2018-11-03
Sedona Arches
7  2018-11-03
Brins Mesa Trail #119
13  2017-11-02
Cibola-Jordan-Soldier-Brins Loop
11  2017-06-28
Brins Mesa Trail #119
Page 1,  2,  3
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Feb
Sun  6:11am - 6:31pm
Official Route
13 Alternative
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Connector Trail between the southern terminus of the Brin's Mesa Trail and the Jordan Trail. The Jordan Trail connects the southern terminus of Brin's Mesa to the Soldier Pass Trail at the Devil's Kitchen Sinkhole. The Cibola Pass Trail passes through the wilderness boundary, while the Jordan Trail does not. Thus, Cibola Pass can be used by hikers and shorter the Jordan Trail stretch by .2 miles. Both the Cibola Pass Trail and the Jordan Trail can be utilized to created a 6-8 mile loop (depending on which trail-head is used) with the Brin's Mesa and Soldier Pass trails.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
  • wilderness related
  • Sedona Trails 2018
    region related
    Sedona Trails 2018

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 14 deeper Triplog Reviews
Cibola Pass Trail
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The century plants were in glorious bloom through the hike, with the best example right in the parking lot at the Jordan Road Trailhead. (As it is referred to on Google Maps; signage at the trailhead refers to it as the Jim Thompson Trailhead.) After taking a few pictures, I headed out, hiking clockwise.

After a brief misdirection on Jordan Trail, I got on Cibola Pass Trail. The “pass” itself, is barely 125 ft. above surrounding terrain. (Which makes the saddle behind my house look like the Khyber Pass.) The most mitten-like view of The Mitten, came very quickly, while still on its easterly side, before reaching the top of Cibola Pass.

The best views of Morning Glory Spire some as Cibola Pass Trail reconnects to Jordan Trail, where the route crosses slickrock as it approaches the Devils Kitchen Sinkhole. Even when on normal dirt trail, other than a few century plants, flowers were quite rare.

After checking out the sinkhole, I made my first planned diversion, heading west on Teacup Trail, which starts as jeep trail. According to the map, Teacup heads southwest, fairly straight for a half mile before Skidmark Trail splits off from it. Instead, Teacup was perhaps the twistiest trail I’ve ever been on. Given all the mountain bike tracks, Teacup had obviously been rerouted and optimized for MTBs. (More twists = more gradual elevation gain.) It was actually a mile to reach the intersection, which is located at a small boulder pile. Skidmark Trail is not obvious, but it is there. You just have to look close. As the views of Coffee Pot Rock were no better up close, and time was a factor, I headed back to Devils Kitchen.

Whereas from Teacup, Coffee Pot looks just the face of a cliff, from Soldier Pass Trail, it instead looks like a series of tilting dominoes. You can see Coffee Pot is composed of four or five separate spires.

The most scenic part of Soldier Pass Trail is the Seven Sacred Pools, a series of pothole cascades in a short gulley worn through the slickrock. The water was not flowing, but lining the Seven Sacred Pools up with Coffee Pot Rock makes for a great photograph, if shot in vertical mode. (As I found on Google image search, I was not the only one to have this realization.)

Just before the trail begins climbing to the top of Soldier Pass, I instead turned up a side trail towards the Soldier Pass Arches. Soon after that, I bailed. I was close to the arches, but keeping an eagle eye on my time, and it was getting short. I had started at about 7:40 a.m., with a hard end-ex of 12:15 p.m. It was already 10:50 a.m. and I had almost three miles to go.

I soon connected to Brins Mesa Trail, and booked across Brin Mesa’s burn area. Most of the trees were killed off in 2006, while the shrubbery have recovered, but the few survivors provided welcome relief. (The temp when I started was a pleasant 75, with a high -- at 3pm -- of 92 predicted, but it was already around 95!)

The descent down Brin Mesa’s east slope is across a half mile of steep slick rock, before re-entering the tree line. With .75 miles to go, I took another quick break, texting ahead to my always patient wife to let her know I would be back at the Jordan Road Trailhead in about 15 minutes. In the end, it took my old ass about 20 minutes, despite what felt like hauling ass. I arrived about 12:25, had a quick pee, rehydrated, threw my gear in the back, and off we flew to our lunch date up Oak Creek Canyon at Indian Gardens.

Hike Video: [ youtube video ]

Could count 'em on one hand.
Cibola Pass Trail
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Cibola-Soldier Pass-Brins Loop
Took advantage of the great weather to check out this loop and explore the arches and the cave - I had great fun climbing around the cave and getting great photos in the window. We met quite a few tourists along this trail, which was fun. On our way, we stopped at the Sinkhole, which was pretty neat. Then we came across the 7 pools, which would be great fun to see when it was raining, otherwise, they are pretty low.

The trails were pretty crowded, but we had no trouble with parking and only met a little bit of wind when we explored a white outcropping along Brins Mesa. It was a great day and a great hike!
Cibola Pass Trail
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Visiting our friends Rich and Sue in Sedona. Parked at the Jordan Road parking lot. Followed Jordan Trail to Cibola then picked up a short connector of Jordan to add a little more milage. Still had to walk down the road to the parking lot to get in 4 miles. :D Was water in all 7 pools as it had rained the day before. Watched 3 climbers doing a rock face in Devils Kitchen. They had a jeep with a wrench at the top pulling them up. No helmets, wearing jeans, one with ankle high hiking books and one barefoot! :o
Cibola Pass Trail
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Morning Glory - Sterling Loop
Finally got a loop around Wilson. jj felt a little uneasy driving up noticing I was wearing pants and a long sleeve shirt. "Off trail on this hike?"... no worse, the overnight low is 31 :scared:

55 degrees starting just before 9am and not much over 60 all day. Hiking weather.

Saw a few individuals heading over Wilson Bench. First time on Jim Thompson. Nice, nearby trails are nicer. Cibola is one of the nicest non water trails around Sedona.

Up and down MG Spire in 1h 15m at a nothing special pace. Couldn't clear the first pitch last month due to a chest injury earlier in the month. Healthy made all the difference. The first pitch was no trouble up or down. The slant up higher was as I remembered. First look it appears a bit sketchy. One or two steps into it and it seems impossible to have trouble unless you jumped out of the crack and off the wall.

Sink hole, seven super sacred pools then off to the arches. Morning light was the ticket last month. Just fair this round, almost dark inside mid day. Crossed paths with a group of interesting people, really just wanted to keep

First time on the west side of Brins. Most probably like the red rock east but the west is cypress tree canopy. A pleasant surprise. Up Vultee and down Sterling. The scariest part of the hike was the last mile along the highway. No shoulder and cars whizzing by ultra close.

not much, very isolated
Cibola Pass Trail
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Soldier - Brins - Cibola - Jordan Loop
Our fourth and final hike of the day started from the Soldier Pass Trailhead. This hike came onto my radar a few months ago when I saw some pics on Instagram of a cool looking cave. Then Coanbru, Joe & Tortoise Hiker hit this about a month ago making a loop hike that seemed perfect! The trailhead parking was full and a sign said you had to be out by 6pm. It was 3pm and I figured we’d cut it close so we parked outside the gate in a residential area.

We started hiking and came to the huge sinkhole a few minutes into the hike. I thought it would be bigger but it was still very cool. From there we headed north on the Soldier Pass Trail. The trail is in great condition and relatively easy to follow. I had Coanbru’s GPS track and we easily found the turnoff for the cave. The use trail makes a steady climb leading to a cliff face. There were a few people hanging out in the window making a ton of noise. They were obnoxious! We climbed up into the cave and admired this magical place despite the noisy group. We took our pics and got out of there returning to the Soldier Pass Trail.

Once back on the main trail we continued north and connected onto the Brins Mesa Trail heading southeast. We took a break right before the trail makes the steep descent back to the Brins Trailhead. It was getting late in the day so we kept the break short and continued down the Brins Mesa Trail. As we neared the trailhead I figured there would be a short cut connecting onto the Cibola Pass Trail making for a perfect loop. We found a trail but it was hard to follow because spur trails went in several different directions. We had to go off trail to reach the Cibola Pass Trail but it wasn’t a big deal. Once on the Cibola Pass Trail we made quick time as we went over the pass heading west and connected onto the Jordan Trail. We took that back to the sinkhole and were back to the jeep a few minutes before 6pm. We timed this perfectly. From there we stopped at Pisa Lisa for some delicious pizza and then returned to Phoenix through Cottonwood. This was another wonderful trip and everything worked out perfectly!
Cibola Pass Trail
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Cibola - Soldier - Brins Loop
All prepared we took off down the Jordan Trail. It is a very nice tunnel through Arizona Cypress. A little over a quarter mile in we realized we didn't prepare so well. Jordan wasn't on the itinerary :lol:

Back on track we took Cibola over and cut up to Morning Glory Spire. Did MG with Jim_H and johnr1 back in 2009. All I remembered was the slanted chimney was scary at first but solid. Forgot about the approach onto the deck. Denny got up no problem. While I could get up, getting down with a recent chest injury seemed like a bad idea. Bruce was my saving grace. Knowing he let go of Denny on Battleship didn't secure my confidence... lol

It'd been 15.5 years since I last hiked Soldier Pass #66. It's a touristy hoot and I love it. We got up above the arches which is fun and easy.

Brins is okay, not my favorite. It was loaded with people so that was cool.

2009 MG video ... beBM
Cibola Pass Trail
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Cibola - Soldier - Brins Loop
Joe came up with a figure eight loop this week, that turned into two hikes. Denny was in early, so this week it's the Three Stooges in Sedona.

After we pulled into the trail head in the Range Focus, we were off like a heard of turtles in the sub 40's temps.

First up, was the Morning Glory Spire, in all it's Morning Glory. Joe'd done this one before, so he led the charge. We all scrambled up to the base of the first climb and made it up the first climb. Denny made the next step up, but Joe and I decided we could probably make it up, but getting down was iffy. Denny went a bit farther, but ultimately came back and we guided him down.

Next it was off to the sinkhole, a real interesting feature. We hiked past the 7 sacred pools, then it was off to an arch that Joe had us checking out. For me, this was the highlight of the trip. Unassuming viewing from the outside, you could actually easily climb up inside of it. We explored inside and the used the arch to climb to the top. We spent a lot more time here than planned. Well worth it.

We took a side trip down a spur trail to check out some additional sweet views, then down, down, down back to the parking lot. We decided to drive to an improvised hike two, instead of hiking to it. Good times as always in Sedona. We are so lucky to have this area so close to us.
Cibola Pass Trail
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Great Sedona hike with 24 of my Arizona Desert Meetup buddies. Went up Soldier's Pass with a stop at the arches. Caught Brins Mesa to Cibola back to the TINY parking area. Trail was easy to follow. Views were spectacular. Skies were cloudy. Parked on Pinon Canyon since the parking lot was full. Saw some jeep tours and mountain bikers. Not many other hikers on the trail.
Cibola Pass Trail
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had heard good things about this loop
started from soldier pass road and went up soldier pass trail first
great view when you turn around at the top
took brins mesa and noted the fire damage
cibola pass and jordan to close the loop
very enjoyable and scenic hike
saw the huge sinkhole
Cibola Pass Trail
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Wife mentioned the Hummingbird Festival a few weeks ago, and being a good husband I took the hint and made arrangements to spend a day up there. Figured I might as well get in a hike, since the festival wouldn't be up & running until mid-morning when normal people wake up. Brin's Mesa was one of about 150 wishes on my list, and the one closest to where we were staying (Matterhorn, on 89A north of the Y). Met up with OL at the Jordan TH, and off we went. A couple of guys passed us on the way up Brin's, and about 15 minutes back they came: "It gets really steep". :sl: It's not bad, and it's only 300 feet. Certainly nothing like the step-ups on Ballantine. Brin's Mesa was very green, and looks to be recovering well from the 2006 fire. Soldier Pass was the most enjoyable part of the hike, with nice shade and interesting slick rocks and pools. Most interesting part of the hike was The Pit, just west of Devil's Kitchen. I didn't notice it when I looked at the HAZ topo, but on further review, there is a small depression symbol if you look close. Stupid camera battery lost charge at that point. :doh: Made it back to the TH, said we try to catch up with OL at the hummingbird banding, then headed back to the hotel for the day's second shower. Unfortunately, took our time back at the hotel -- it was supposed to be a relaxing day! :zzz: -- then got distracted by a shopping spree at Buck Thornton's World of Jerky. (Total Damage: $73.) By the time we got out, the hummingbirds were doing the sensible thing, hiding from the hordes pouring into Sedona. Oh well, wife picked up a really nice copper art hummingbird feeder, so she was happy, which was, afterall, the point of the trip. :D

Permit $$
Red Rock Pass - may or may not be required. Go to Red Rock Pass then check "When is a Red Rock Pass Required?". If you have questions contact the Coconino forest service.

Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness
see map for camping restrictions

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To Jordan - Jim Thompson Trailhead
Jim Thompson Trailhead ( Jordan )
From the Sedona Y (Junction 89A and 179) go north east, towards Uptown Sedona, for 0.3 miles. Turn left into Jordan Rd and follow Jordan Rd for 0.8 miles to a T intersection with Park Ridge Drive. Turn left on Park Ridge Drive to the end of the pavement and continue on a fairly bumpy dirt road (but passable for passenger cars) for about 0.7 miles to parking and trailhead.

Brins Mesa West
You may want to use this trailhead if you're planning to do a car shuttle hike between the west and east Brins Trail. From the Sedona Y (Junction 89A and 179) go west towards West Sedona and Cottonwood for 3.1 miles. At the Dry Creek Road light, turn right (north) and follow the paved Dry Creek Road for 2.1 miles. You'll be looking for a well marked turn-off to the right, which is variously labeled FR 152, Vultee Arch Road or Dry Creek Road. Whatever its name, it's the only dirt road going north west in the general area. Follow the quite bumpy road (but passable for passenger cars) for about 2.4 miles, past the Devil's Bridge Trail parking area. You'll get to the Brins Mesa Tr sign on the right and will find ample parking.

Soldiers Pass Trailhead
An alternate trailhead about 1.2 hiking miles away from the Jordan Road Trailhead. You may want to use it if you're going to do one of many loop hikes. From the Sedona Y (Junction 89A and 179) go west towards West Sedona and Cottonwood for 1.2 miles to the first light and turn right into Soldiers Pass Road. Follow the winding Soldiers Pass Road north for 1.5 miles to Rim Shadows Drive. There is a small brown trail sign there. Turn right and go on for less than 0.2 miles. The names of the roads are screwy around here, but there are little brown signs steering you to the parking area. The parking is on the left, up a gated drive (only open from 8am to 6pm!) with a limited number of parking spots.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 123 mi, 2 hours 16 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 228 mi, 3 hours 56 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 29.3 mi, 41 mins
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