We all know about the national parks in the US. Parks such as Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon etc cover huge areas and would require a couple of days to even see a fraction of them. Somewhat smaller are the state parks of which there are almost 8000 within the US. It might surprise you however to find out that state parks actually attract more than two and a half times the number of visitors that national parks do and it is they that form the backbone of the park system. Whilst state parks may lack the size and some of the mountain grandeur of national parks they are none the less beautiful which brings us to what is reckoned to be one of the top 10 state parks, Slide Rock State Park in Northern Arizona.
During one of our recent US road trips we spent three nights in beautiful Sedona which is one of our favourite places in the US. If you have never been then we recommend you go and it’s only two hours drive from the Grand Canyon so it makes a great base for exploring the Northern Arizona region. From Sedona take Highway 89A which is one of the most beautiful roads in the US in our opinion and we have driven along A LOT of roads during our road trips! The road follows the Oak Creek River through Oak Creek Canyon and connects Sedona with the town of Flagstaff. The road eventually winds around the mountain and at the summit there is a viewpoint which gives great views down the canyon and where there are usually market stalls etc. Seven miles north of Sedona on Highway 89A is Slide Rock State Park which features a series of natural water slides and rock pools carved out of the red sandstone which the area is famous for.
We were there in early May and it was unusually hot for the time of year, probably close to 30 degrees C. Sedona is in the high mountain desert so unlike Phoenix, two hours drive south, it isn’t hot all year round. We arrived in mid morning one Sunday and made our way down to the river. Martha was first to test the water which was when we realised that the water was basically melted snow from the surrounding mountains so let’s say getting in was a bit of a challenge and there were quite a lot of oohs and aahs from Martha whilst getting in! Once in the water for a short time however she acclimatised and tested out the water chutes and pools which she loved. This place was like the worlds coolest water park and it was all natural. Nigel finally also took the plunge, quite literally , as he didn’t realise that one of the chutes would drop him into a deep pool well over head height…Nigel is to to swimming what buffalos are to figure skating so there was a few seconds of slight panic before he bobbed up to the surface again! Down river there was a ledge which a succession of people were jumping into the deepest part of the river from, not us, whilst upriver things were a lot quieter with less visitors and you could find a quiet spot from which to enjoy the beauty of Oak Creek Canyon.
If you should be planning on spending the day at Slide Rock then we would recommend you stop off at Garland’s deli / Indian Gardens as it’s also known which is about two miles south of Slide Rock. This has become our regular stop off either for breakfast which can be eaten in their pretty garden out back at the base of one of the mountains or to buy their delicious sandwiches and muffins to take with us for lunch on a day out.
This was undoubtedly one of the most memorable days of our road trip that year so if you’re ever in the area on a hot day get there early before the car park fills up and test out natures finest water park!
Here’s our gallery of photos from our memorable day at Slide Rock as well as a couple of videos from fellow bloggers about the park as well as the town of Sedona. Look out for the expression of terror on Nigel’s face in one of the pictures!
This short video made by Mike at www.mikesroadtrip.com lets you see a little of what the park has to offer:
The following video gives a brief overview of the Sedona area: