Slide Rock State Park
Location: Munds Park, AZ
Price: $30/car summer weekends, $20/car summer weekdays and during spring/fall, $10/car winter
Smashed Penny Machine: No
In the hills just outside Sedona is an amazing state park. Slide Rock State Park about 15 minutes north of Sedona and about 40 minutes south of Flagstaff making it an easy day trip from either location. The park consists of several historic buildings that used to be a family apple farm on the land, hiking trails and nearby Oak Creek. Oak Creek is the reason most visitors are coming to the park. The main draw of the creek is an 80 foot long chute cut into the rocks in the creek bed that make a natural slide.
We arrived right at park opening with a few other cars. From the parking lot you’ll walk through the main part of the park which includes two sets of bathrooms, the historic farm buildings and a gift shop/concession stand. You will descend a flight of steps and have to scramble over a few rocks to reach the creek. The full walk from the parking lot to the creek is probably about a half a mile.
The wet rocks are very slick so be very careful in the water. Water shoes are not a requirement (the rocks are not sharp they will not cut your feet) but might help for better traction. The main water slide is not really deep (only waist deep through at most) but you are sitting to go through it so parts of it can seem very deep to shorter people. The water also moves at fast current through the slide making it hard to maneuver yourself through the slide (you pretty much go where the water takes you). I would suggest flotation devices for kids who are not very strong swimmers that are going to go down the slide.
When we first arrived the water was cool (around 65 degrees) so it was a bit of shock getting into the water; but after going down the chute a few times the water felt fine. There were also several areas were the creek doesn’t have much current. These pools were great to let the kids splash and swim in. In a deeper park of the creek people jump from the cliff into the water. I wasn’t brave enough to try that but my brother-in-law did and he said he didn’t feel the bottom when jumping.
By about 10, the creek bed had really started to fill up with people. We were there on a Wednesday morning in July. If you are planning on visiting on a weekend or a holiday, I would suggest coming early. Many groups had brought down lawn chairs and coolers (one group had a sunshade) so people clearly spend the whole day playing in the creek. The area by the creek has primitive bathrooms but no other facilities so anything you bring down you have to carry back up.
Overall: Slide Rock State Park was a lot of fun. The park offers other activities than just the creek so making a visit last a whole day probably would be very easy. We spent about two hours in the park, which gave us plenty of time to try the water slide. Our older two kids (7 and 5) didn’t care for the slide. Neither are strong swimmers and current does get a little strong. All four kids did have a good time splashing in the pools along the creek. If you are staying in the Flagstaff or Sedona areas, I would recommend checking out this great swimming hole.