You can’t really call yourself an Arizonan until you’ve scooted down Slide Rock. Carved by the rushing waters of Oak Creek, this 30-foot-long slide is among the most popular places to cool off in the summer.
On hot days it’s teeming with swimmers and sunbathers. At least 250,000 people a year visit the natural water slide, seven miles north of Sedona in Slide Rock State Park.
"It’s the most fun thing in the world," says Ellen Bilbrey of Arizona State Parks. "You can be up there from the Valley in an hour and a half."
The slide and the adjacent swimming hole have appeared in several Hollywood Westerns, including 1950’s "Broken Arrow," starring James Stewart, and 1946’s "Angel and the Badman," starring John Wayne.
If you aren’t a swimmer, the surrounding canyon is ideal for bird-watchers and hikers. There are also picnicking facilities, a volleyball court and an apple packing barn.
The 43-acre park is built on a historic apple farm owned by the Pendley family. They were making apple wine for miners in Jerome and planted several varieties to determine which type made the best vino.
For your trip
• Bring plenty of sunscreen. It may be cooler at an elevation of 5,000 feet, but there’s just as much exposure to the sun.
• Glass is prohibited in the park, so bring plastic bottles and trash bags to haul out your garbage.
• If you plan to slide, wear blue jeans or cut-offs.
• Call the Water Quality Hotline at (602) 542-0202 before heading out. The water is tested daily, but E. coli may be present when water levels drop.
Nature’s water slide What: Slide Rock State Park
When: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
Where: 6871 N. Highway 89A, Sedona
Cost: $10 per carload of up to four adults, $2 per person thereafter. Free children age 13 and younger.
Information: (928) 282-3034 or