If you are trying to find Vultee Arch in Sedona this article will not only show you how to get there but also the different trails that can lead you to this beautiful natural bridge.
Vultee Arch via Sterling Pass is easily one of the top 5 hikes in all of Sedona and you must add it to your Sedona hike bucket list.
If you want to read the entire Sedona Bucket list read our article here. It encompasses hikes, restaurants, secrets, wineries & oh so much more!
Vultee Arc is picturesque natural sandstone arch carved out of centuries of erosion, which was named in memory of World War II aircraft designer Gerard Vultee.
The hike itself via Sterling Path is a breathtaking hike from views and the effort you need to get there but it is oh so worth it.
Is Vultee Arch Better than Devil’s Bridge?
Yes, this is the best natural bridge in Sedona and I love the hike to it via Sterling Pass more than the Devil’s Bridge trail for a couple of reasons.
The main obvious reason is less crowds, with it being a harder hike it keeps out people who just want to do the much easier Devil’s Bridge hike.
If you can hike during a less crowded time of year you can have the bridge all to yourself. Sitting down on the arch just listening to the wilderness was the most peaceful moment I have had in years.
The other reason I love Vultee Arch more than Devil’s Bridge is the Sterling Pass hike itself is beautiful. It is a tough yet picturesque journey, surrounded by towering cliffs and lush vegetation with unique views and formations the entire way.
While I love the Sterling Pass trail method, there are a few different ways to get to Vultee Arch which are covered below.
What is the best trail to Hike to Vultee Arch?
Sterling Pass is the best way to get to Vultee Arch. It is a tough hike but by far the most beautiful and rewarding trail to get to Vultee Arch.
There are some absolutely amazing views as you ascend the trail unveiling sweeping vistas of rock formations only to go down on the other side with a completely different setting.
I love the Sterling Pass hike because it is like two different ecosystems. On the initial side it is very green and more deciduous trees where the other side is more of a pine forest with coniferous trees and a completely different look.
There is also a ton of tree cover so depending the time of day you go you could be shaded 75% of the time or more.
If you want a great picture, about 0.90 miles up the initial side there is a short second long path to the left on a rock face lookout point that shows the entire valley.
The expansive panorama includes famous formations such as Brins Mesa, Wilson Mountain, and the rugged peaks of the Secret Mountain Wilderness.
The hike itself is very straightforward and impossible to get lost as the trail is very pronounced the entire way to the sign directing you to Vultee Arch as you get closer to it.
How Long Is The Hike to Vultee Arch Via Sterling Pass?
The Hike from sterling pass is 4.75 miles with a 2,500 elevation gain.
It is a difficult hike up to Sterling Pass trail summit and it is something you have to do twice! You hike up and over the pass two times as it is an out and back hike. It is akin to doing Camelback Mountain from one side to the other.
It will take around 45-60 minutes to get up to Sterling Pass trail summit and around 1.5 hours to get to the arch itself. The entire hike will take 3-4 hours pending your pace and how much time you take sightseeing, taking pictures etc.
How To Find Sterling Pass Trailhead & Park?
Sterling Pass Trailhead is easily mapped off the 89A Highway to Flagstaff, just 10 minutes from the heart of Sedona’s town.
The one negative about Sterling Pass is that there is not much parking for the trailhead and the trailhead itself is directly off the busy 89A Highway.
If you don’t have your map directions to it, and even if you do, there is a good chance you could breeze right past the unassuming trailhead.
There are 4-5 very tight spots barely off the highway going Southbound. If those are not available there are other places to park off the road down either sides of the highway or slide rock state park.
How Do You Hike From Vultee Arch Trailhead?
Another way to get to Vultee Arch is from the Vultee Arch trailhead itself. With that said, to do this you will need a 4×4 to hike directly from the trailhead.
The hike from the Vultee Arch trailhead is an moderate hike and just 3.4 miles with a 500 foot elevation gain. This is the easiest hike to Vultee Arch but again you need a 4×4 to reach this trailhead.
If you don’t have a 4×4 then you will be hiking from the Devil’s Bridge parking area off Boynton Pass Rd/Dry Creek Rd and this will add another 9 miles to your trip.
This is a terrible 9 miles are you are just hiking down a dusty 4×4 road constantly moving over for 4x4s and jeep tours as well as it being heavily trafficked due to it being the same path initially as Devil’s Bridge.
Overall it will be 12+ miles and not a very fun hike at all, much better off doing the Sterling Pass hike even though it has much more of an elevation gain.
Regardless of which way you choose it definitely is one you must do!
The trail meanders through a diverse landscape, featuring aromatic pine forests, meandering streams, and unique rock formations making it a great hike even without the arch.
Vultee Arch via Sterling Pass is a gem among Sedona’s hiking trails, offering a perfect blend of challenging terrain and awe-inspiring scenery.
Lace up your shoes and prepare for a day of exploration, where every step brings you closer to the captivating allure of Vultee Arch one of the many crown jewels of Sedona.