Take a dip in one of America’s top 10 most beautiful swimming holes.
Just seven miles north of Sedona, in an area called Oak Creek Canyon, Slide Rock State Park offers a day of fun: picnicking, hiking, biding and whooshing down the Oak Creek’s natural water slide. It is a popular destination, so the best time to visit Slide Rock is early or during off-peak times. Parking spots are limited and pulling off along the main road (AZ State Route 89A) is prohibited.
Apple Picking at Slide Rock
More than 300 apple trees dot the grounds of Slide Rock State Park. Originally planted in 1912, Frank L. Pendley pioneered a unique irrigation system for his 43-acre apple orchard. The property became a state park in 1987, and today the Pendley Homestead Trail leads visitors past the original trees, the family house, the apple-picking shed, historic farm equipment and rustic vacation cabins built by Pendley in the 1930s when the area grew in popularity. Late summer and fall, visitors enjoy the fruits of the apple harvest.
Things To Do
Naturally, Slide Rock State Park’s main attraction is Oak Creek, and a ride down the exhilarating 80-foot-long red-rock slide doesn’t disappoint. Bring an inner tube to float downstream and find a swimming hole. Look for wildlife such as deer, javelina and coyote as you lounge. More than 140 bird species call the park home, and even more pass through on their way to warmer climates come fall. Picnic areas, charcoal grills and two large ramadas with electrical outlets make things easy for gatherings Note: There are no lifeguards here, and the water can be swift, so keep an eye on little ones and those who aren’t strong swimmers. The algae-covered rocks are very slippery — plan to bring water shoes or footwear with treads.
Stay & Eat
If you need to stock up on supplies — from sunglasses and sunscreen to shirts and snacks — pop into the park’s seasonal market. For overnight stays, several boutique lodging options line Oak Creek. For Slide Rock State Park camping, Manzanita Campground’s 18 creekside campsites are popular among trout anglers; there’s also a rainbow trout farm down the road with a stocked pond, picnic tables and grills to cook your fresh-caught fish. Don’t miss the adorable Indian Gardens Market & Café for creative food and drinks on the expansive leafy patio.