Overall Score: A
Cost: A ($10 per vehicle with 4 people, $3 each for extra passengers; cash payment requires exact change)
Fun Potential: A
*Summer hours 8am-7pm (last entry is 6:30pm, open all year, check website for more info)
If you’re traveling to Sedona, Arizona, be sure to take a ride down a natural waterslide at Arizona’s Slide Rock State Park. North of downtown Sedona on Highway 89A, Slide Rock State Park gets its name from an area of slick rock on the bottom of a creek, with natural grooves that create slide-like impressions. Here in Oak Creek Canyon, you can experience the 80 foot natural water slide, cool off in the creek’s pools, or sun yourself on the sandstone.
The property on which this park resides was originally the Pendley homestead, an apple orchard, and family farm. Eventually, people learned about this amazing canyon; due to newly paved roads, more and more people came out to visit. This led the family to build cabins for vacationers. Today, some of these rustic cabins still stand, as do other historical buildings from the farmstead. Click here to go to the Arizona State Parks’ website to learn more about the history of the park.
While we visited in late March, the water was very cold, despite the warm 70-80 degree weather. There was a scattering of people in the park and we headed to the busier part of the canyon. Here, kids and adults were taking turns going down the natural waterslide, but not before shrieking at the temperature of the water. My adventurous daughter was eager to try the slide. Obviously, there are no lifeguards here, so swim at your own risk.
The slide lasts only ten to fifteen seconds at most, depending on how far you coast down the rock. The rushing water pulls you downstream at a fair pace; safe enough for school age kids to participate. The ride itself is done while sitting on your butt, although I heard that there were a few large bumps on the bottom of the slide that made people sore. I absolutely hate being cold and I wasn’t about the jump into that frigid water. Fortunately, my adventurous family tried it and loved it!
Here at Slide Rock State Park, people jump off the canyon cliffs, climb the slippery rocks, and plunge into the cool creek. Some picnic and others soak up the sun. Visitors took turns on the slide and waded in the water with an abundance of caution. Guests need to remember that they are in a natural pool; hazards are all around. The sandstone rocks can be slippery so be careful. Keep an eye on small children and help them walk on the rocks that surround the creek. Please note, pets are not allowed in the swim area of the park.
In addition to the creek and natural waterslide, this park has hiking areas, fishing, restrooms, a gift shop, picnic areas, and plenty of areas to see wildlife. There is a bit of a walk to get back from the waterslide/creek area to the main facilities area, but the park has placed a vault toilet near the creek. There are also a few exhibits at the park that showcase the Pendley homestead, their farm, and farm equipment. Plenty of parking is available here as well.
Bring your bathing suit, towel, and plenty of sunscreen when heading to Slide Rock State Park. I would recommend stopping here when the weather is hot to cool off at one of nature’s unique swimming places! For more information, click here to go to the park’s website.