Of all of the places that I’ve been to in Arizona, Slide Rock State Park may be at the top of my list. It is a place I return to whenever I get the chance. Located north of the town of Sedona, Slide Rock combines almost everything I’m looking for – fantastic red rock scenery, a chance to hike around while climbing over boulders, swimming if you dare (shrinkage alert!), or just grab a hard spot to sit and relax watching the river (running water gets more mesmerizing the longer you live in the desert).
Whenever we have visitors, this is a must stop. It is “Arizona Family Friendly” – meaning you can fall, but it likely won’t kill you, unless you are doing something really stupid! In fact, the only time I did decide to go swimming, it was not my intention. I fell crossing to the other side and in I went. After the “fall”, I took full advantage of already being wet and did the whole experience – sliding down the water chute and had a blast!
There is no pathway, so expect some level of skill and health the further you go up the river. I highly recommend this! Less people seem to want to do this, and it really is beautiful.
It is also home to my favorite boulder, which looks totally out place.
Slide Rock gets very busy on the weekends, especially in the summer. Be warned that coming back into Sedona can be a slow and frustrating experience. You can choose to head north to Flagstaff instead if you make this a stop on the way out of town.
If you can, plan to see it during the week and off-season if you do not want to swim. The best time I ever went, we were the only ones there and selfishly had it to ourselves.