Sterling Pass Trail to Vultee Arch

The Hike House Sedona Trail Rating System
Sterling Pass Trail
to Vultee Arch
The Sterling Pass Trail follows a side canyon of Oak Creek Canyon along the north face of Wilson Mountain. The trail climbs to 6,000 foot Sterling Pass, then descends into Sterling Canyon, a quiet canyon with ponderosa pine, oak and maple trees. The trail leads to Dry Creek Basin at the end of Forest Service Raod 152. A side path leads to a large slab of red rock with an overlook of Vultee Arch, a large 40-foot-high natural bridge stretching 50 feet across the north wall of Sterling Canyon at the base of East Pocket Mesa.
Trail Data Trail Rating
Distance: 2.5/5 miles (One way/Round Trip)
Time: 3 hours (Round Trip)
Elevation Change: 1900 ft.
Difficulty: Difficult
Map: Click here for a map of Sterling Pass trail.
VN:RO [1.9.8_1114]
Overall
Views
Difficulty
Rating: 4.5/5
View the Sterling Pass Trail to Vultee Arch Slideshow and Commentary
Sterling Pass Trail Image 1 Sterling Pass Trail Image 2
Sedona Trail Rating System

The Hike House Sedona Trail Rating System provides actual hiker feedback and ratings of each of the Sedona hiking trails. The cumulative trail ratings for the Sterling Pass Trail to Vultee Arch submitted by fellow hikers is located above with the Trail Data. Your trail feedback and ratings are an important resource for fellow hikers and provide a personal account of your trail experience from which others may learn. So please hike Sedona, help others, and rate a trail today!

Comments

  1. Ron and Kim says:
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    Difficulty

    Must do in Sedona! Started at 9 a.m. at the end of April. Perfect weather for this hike. Definitely wear good hiking shoes as the footing going up and most especially coming down was slippery from loose rocks and gravel. Also very windy up at top of pass. At Vultee Arch you can go out on the arch if heights do not scare you. Kim went out on the arch but Ron did not. Amazing views up on and by the arch. Again the footing going to the arch was slick . A great hike with some difficulty and amazing views. Vultee arch is a must see.

  2. Mary Jo and Craig Cohen says:

    Started at 9 am on September 30th. Took about an hour and 45 minutes to reach Vultee Arch, mostly because we kept stopping to look at map and at the views. Lots of nice cool shade on a hot day. Nicely maintained trail – lots of stone steps, but lots of scrapes on bushes. Almost completely dry – would be impressive earlier in the year. No other hikers on trail until we got to the Arch(coming from the easier path), but then we had it to ourselves for 30 minutes. The incline back to Sterling was very gradual. Made it back to the car in 90 minutes. Wasn’t sure where to park our car – had to walk 10 minutes from a pull-out on road.

  3. Overall
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    Please note: Vultee Arch is accessible from Oak Creek Canyon (89A) or FR152. The route from Oak Creek is strenuous and approximately 3.5-4 hour roundtrip. If accessing from FR152 then the trail is moderate and 1.5 hours roundtrip. (Note: FR152 does require a high clearance vehicle)

  4. Dennis Nixon says:
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    Great workout, first 45 minutes are straight up followed by a long downhill run. After the first ascent all you think about is that the downhill portion is going to hurt on the way back. The arch is worth the pain and due to the difficulty you will encounter few hikers. Do this trail for the vista and the workout and don’t be put off by the difficulty my wife and I are both 50 and we passed a man and wife in their 60s. Go for it.

  5. Janelle Sparkman says:
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    Done this more than once. The front to the top is the best. Too many long switchbacks on the back side. Really a heart burner – the uphill seems never to end but well worth it. One of my top ’10′ hikes in Sedona.

  6. Keith & Shelly Myrom says:
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    A great hike with great views that includes three Windows and of course the fantastic arch at the end. 3 hours 8 minutes round trip and 4.5 miles on our GPS. If you do this hike be ready for a difficult workout!

  7. Betsy & Larry Hanson says:
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    What a great hike. So glad we took the recommendation of the Hike House, and challenged ourselves. We haven’t done a great deal of hiking, so we weren’t sure we were up to it. Slow and steady, one step at a time, we didn’t make it a race, and enjoyed the scenery and peace and quiet. Looking forward to our next trip to Sedona and more recommendations for new trails.

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