Slide Rock State Park

Just north of Sedona in Oak Creek Canyon, travelers give into gravity on a natural water slide.

An 80-foot stretch of Oak Creek rushes through a narrow red-rock flume at Slide Rock State Park, where visitors are whisked down an incline into a cold pool. The natural water slide sees most of the action, but trails in the park lead to wading pools and fishing holes along a half-mile stretch of Oak Creek. Algae makes the sandstone flume slick, which helps build momentum on the slide but makes getting out of the water a bit difficult. Wear water shoes or sneakers with tread to avoid an unfortunate vacation slip and fall.

Arizona’s Ultimate Natural Playground

The speed and bumpiness of the slide is not for everyone. But the beauty of the red rock canyon and its towering sycamore and cottonwood trees sets the stage for exhilarating outdoor getaways all can enjoy. Near the parking lot, visitors find 15 picnic areas in a meadow. Others find pullouts along the scenic drive and enjoy refreshing waterside picnics or dips in the cool waters of Oak Creek. Anglers find honey holes upstream to fish for native brown trout and stocked rainbow trout.

Seasonal Fun

Parking is limited in this tiny and impactful state park, so visitors are encouraged to arrive early or visit in the off-season. When Arizona residents check the fall color report, they are anticipating when they can drive to Oak Creek Canyon when the color show is at its most brilliant. The park also features an orchard with more than 300 apple trees. Late summer into fall during the harvest, visitors can follow the Pendley Homestead Trail to see the remnants of one of the first settlements in the area, which includes the original family home, historic farming equipment, apple-picking shed and rustic vacation cabins that date back to the 1930s.

Highway 89A Pitstops

Road trippers hop off I-17 and meander along Highway 89A to explore the natural wonders of and charming small towns in the area. Stop in some of Arizona’s best known visitor destinations along the way, including Flagstaff, Sedona, Cottonwood and Jerome. Just outside the park, Indian Gardens Market & Café offers food and supplies, plus booths with Native American arts and crafts under a canopy of tall trees in Coconino National Forest.

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