If you’re in the Sedona area, visiting Slide Rock State Park is an absolute must. At Slide Rock State Park, you’ll be greeted with a nationally acclaimed swimming hole, hundreds of apple trees, a deeply rooted history, walking trails, and fantastic views of Sedona’s red rocks. What more could you possibly want out of a day in the Arizona outdoors?!
If we’ve piqued your interest, keep reading. We’re going to tell you all about what Slide Rock State Park is known for, the area’s top spots to see, hiking and trails information, park information, and our favorite places to stay nearby!
1. What is Slide Rock State Park Known For?
Slide Rock State Park, originally known as the Pendley Homestead, is located on a scenic apple orchard within Oak Creek Canyon. Visitors from far and wide come every year to enjoy the fruits of the orchard, swim at one of the nation’s best swimming holes in Oak Creek, and catch trophy trout.
All the way back in 1907, Frank L. Pendley arrived in Oak Creek Canyon. By 1912, he had established a large apple orchard and a unique irrigation system on the land. In fact, his irrigation system was so impressive that it is still in use by the state park today. In addition, Slide Rock State Park still employs the original “Apple Packing Shed” built by Frank Pendley. Those who come to enjoy the fruits of this orchard will have the chance to look around inside!
Swimming in Oak Creek
Slide Rock State Park isn’t your average swimming hole! In fact, the Travel Channel has dubbed Slide Rock State Park as one of the top 10 swimming holes in the United States. Hidden right below a historic apple orchard, this swimming hole is surrounded by Sedona’s infamous red rocks as far as the eye can see. This half-mile area of Oak Creek is open for swimming, wading, and sliding on the Slide Rock natural water slide. You’ll want to come back time and time again… as many Arizona families do!
Fishing in Oak Creek
Just upstream from the swimming area, anglers will be delighted to find a high-quality trout fishing area. Wild brown and rainbow trout populations are seasonally supplemented with stocked trout by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. If you’re looking for the trophy fish and solitude, travel even further upstream. Rumor has it, the results get better the further you go.
2. The Top Spots to See In Slide Rock State Park
If you ask anyone who has visited Slide Rock State Park about the top spot to see, chances are they’ll tell you it’s the Slide Rock natural water slide. This natural slide is a very popular destination for Arizona locals and will just about blow your mind! In addition, the annual Slide Rock Apple Festival is another must for the whole family.
Slide Rock Natural Water Slide
The Slide Rock natural water slide is 80 feet long. (Yes, you read that right!) The slide also has a seven percent decline from top to bottom. Because the algae on the rocks create a very slippery ride right into a half-mile long swimming area, this spectacle offers fun for the whole family.
If you’d rather marvel at the slide than ride it, don’t worry. There’s plenty of room for onlookers and sunbathers to relax on the shore of the creek and watch as others squeal with joy as they slide down a natural water slide in one of Arizona’s most scenic settings.
Please note there is no lifeguard on duty at Slide Rock’s natural water slide or swimming area. Swimming is always at your own risk. Please also remember to bring plenty of drinking water and sun protection. We also recommend bringing shoes to help with your grip when walking about the wet algae-covered sandstone in the area.
Slide Rock Apple Festival
Every year, Slide Rock State Park celebrates the apple harvest with their Slide Rock Apple Festival. The weekend is jam-packed with activities, including a pick your own apple program, games, entertainment, vendors, and display booths. There’s no better way to kick off autumn!
3. Hiking and Trails Information
Slide Rock State Park has a number of short trails for visitors who are looking to get their steps in while surrounded by gorgeous natural scenery. And for those looking to get an even more intense hiking experience, the park is located nearby several Coconino National Forest hiking trails. Here are some of our favorites inside of the park:
- Pendley Homestead Trail – This is a quarter-mile paved trail that is suitable for all visitors. The path will take you around the historic Pendley Homestead of Slide Rock State Park. Prepare to see a glimpse of the original apple orchards, the Pendley Homestead house, apple packing barn, various farming implements that were used historically in the homestead, a new orchard of semi-dwarf apple trees, and incredible views of Arizona’s infamous Oak Creek Canyon.
- Slide Rock Route – This trail is roughly half-a-mile and leads to the Slide Rock natural slide. However, if you are feeling up for it, we recommend continuing past the slide area to explore the more primitive areas of the park using this trail as a guide.
- Clifftop Nature Trail – This is a quarter-mile trail that offers scenic views of the park.
4. Park Information
Park and Facility Hours
Slide Rock State Park is open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm from May 23 through Labor Day weekend. Beginning the Tuesday after Labor Day, the hours are the following:
- Tuesday following Labor Day through Halloween: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
- November through February: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
- March through May 22: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Please note that the last entry is granted one hour prior to closing and park swim areas close half an hour prior to closing.
Park Entrance Fee
Per Vehicle (up to four adults):
- March 1 through May 22: $20.00
- May 23 through Labor Day: $20.00 Monday to Thursday and $30.00 Friday to Sunday, holidays, Mondays
- Tuesday after Labor Day through September: $20.00
- October through February: $10.00
Please note, the motorcycle entry fee is always 50% of the per vehicle fee, and individuals/bicycles are $5.00 each. You can pay fast with a credit or debit card. If you pay with cash, you must have exact change.
Gift Shop and Park Store
The Slide Rock Market is open year-round. Here, guests will find ice, snacks, water, sunscreen, and a great selection of Slide Rock State Park souvenirs.
Found inside of the gift shop and park store, Slide Rock also offers exhibits on the Pendley homestead and history of this State Park. Stopping by this education exhibit can help you to fully appreciate the gorgeous area and the 100+ years of history of this land.
Slide Rock State Park offers fifteen different open-air picnic tables. The picnic grounds are available near the entrance of the park on a first-come, first-served basis. There are designated grills available for charcoal fires, but wood fires are not allowed in the picnic grills. However, personal propane grills and stoves are allowed.
5. Where To Stay Near Slide Rock State Park
Since there are no campgrounds or family cabins located inside of Slide Rock State Park, we recommend looking into Sedona, Arizona’s lodging options. Here, you’ll find everything from 5-star resorts to adorable bed and breakfasts and rustic family cabins. If you’re looking to camp, check out the nearby Coconino National Forest’s camping and cabin options. We’re confident you’ll find numerous places to stay that fit your budget and your needs!
Whether you make a weekend out of it or swing by for a sunny summer Sunday, you’re sure to be excitedly telling everyone you know about the hidden gem that is Slide Rock State Park. Grab your swimsuit, pack a cooler, and bring your sunscreen. You’re going to have a great time!