I’ve hiked to the Devil’s Kitchen, the sinkhole in Soldier’s Pass, Sedona, AZ, many times. But the last one was several years ago. Jeff and I tried it a few weeks ago, but the parking lot was full, so we went to Fay Canyon. This time, we lucked out and found a place to park. The photo below is taken of the east and south sides.
In the past, we’d walk a ways up the dirt road that the Jeep companies use to tour visitors around, and then follow a short trail to the sinkhole. But in the period since our last visit, the Forest Service has actually created a trail from the parking lot to the Devil’s Kitchen. That meant we didn’t have to dodge vehicles, though we did have to contend with mountain bikes.
That tiny figure in the photo above (arrow pointing at) is me on the west side of the sinkhole. Sinkholes are created when water dissolves rock underground, forming a cave. Eventually, the cavern gets large enough that the surface rock collapses into the cavity. It’s about 100 feet deep and over 100 feet wide. The photos below are taken of the north side.
This sinkhole, originally formed in the 1880’s, has expanded since I moved to Sedona in 1982. Part of the back wall fell in the late 80’s, in the early 90’s and again recently. And there are cracks (in the foreground of the photo below) where another part is falling away from the wall.
From the sinkhole, we followed the new trail a little way further to visit the 7 Sacred Pools. These are pockets eroded into the rock along a dry creek bed. When we have rain, water flows over them and leaves them filled. After a while, the water becomes brackish and evaporates. Where you see white bands, there’s a pool there. The first and highest pool is just beyond that outcrop.