| Home | Warning | Gear | Books | Photography | Hikes | Links | Flora & Fauna | Etiquette | About Me | What's New |



Sterling Pass to Vultee Arch - Sedona

Summary: An out and back hike via a lesser used route to a natural arch in Sedona.
Directions: From the junction of Highways 179 and 89A in Sedona, head north on 89A for 6.5 miles to just past mile marker 381 and the Manzanita Campground. There are a few small pull offs suitable for 2-3 small cars on the west side of the road. If these are taken, save the hike for another day since there is no shoulder on 89A to walk along and lots of traffic.
Road Conditions: Passenger Car
Navigation: Easy
Length: 5 miles
Date Hiked: May 2005
Weather Conditions: Warm & sunny
Required Skills: None
Hike Description: From 89A, locate the rusty metal Sterling Pass #46 sign which marks the start of the trail. The well maintained trail climbs moderately to steeply up through a nicely forested area of pine, juniper and oak. As you continue up the canyon the path becomes steeper and climbs about 1000' in a little over a mile to Sterling Pass. There are several use paths at the pass, stay straight on the trail that immediately begins descending down the other side. The path descends moderately to steeply through more forest, eventually leveling out somewhat to travel beside a small stream, which was flowing when I was here. Soon you'll reach a trail junction and sign pointing back to the right for Vultee Arch (2.4 miles), the Sterling Trail continues straight another 1.6 miles to the Dry Creek Trailhead (the more popular and easy route to this point). Turn right and in a few minutes you'll spot the arch on the hillside to the left. The arch is sort of blocky as arches go, but nice enough. There is a brushy use trail that travels through the manzanita and scrub oak right up to the arch if you want a better view. When ready, return the way you came (5 miles).
Rating (1-5 stars):
The author and his wife completed the hike to the arch and back at a moderate pace in 3 hours.
Maps: Bear Tooth Maps: Sedona
Books: 'The Favorite Hikes: Flagstaff & Sedona' by Cosmic Ray
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.

Climbing towards
Sterling Pass.
Descending from the pass.
Vultee Arch. Another view of the arch.