Okay, not much of a hiking trail here, but if you’ve got an old pair of cut-off blue jeans and a wish to escape the heat of summer, this is the place to go! In fact, Fodor’s Travel listed Slide Rock State Park as one of America’s 10 Best State Parks in 2014! Here visitors can see the Pendley Homestead, one of only a few homesteads still intact in the canyon and examples of early agricultural development in Central Arizona.

Slide Rock

In The Call of Sedona, Ilchi Lee remarks about the area, “In the summer, this creek with water cold as ice is the best summer retreat.” He adds, “…the best thing you can do is to play in the water here at Slide Rock, play to your heart’s content like a little child.”

The park does offer several short hikes, including a nature trail, and it is close to several Coconino National Forest hiking trails. In general, the trails may offer sightings of an array of wildlife and birds to enjoy along the way.

This extremely popular Sedona destination is a great place to take older children who understand water safety. At the end of the natural red-sandstone water slide is a body-cooling swimming hole. For obvious sanitation concerns, plan to have a talk to be sure youngsters use the modern restroom facilities and drinking fountains located above the creek before you begin.

Pendley Homestead Trail: Explore bits of the original dwellings, the old apple orchard and even see some farming implements used historically at the homestead and enjoy thrilling views of the Oak Creek Canyon walls along this easy 0.25 mile trail.

Slide Rock Route: This primitive, moderately difficult trail along Oak Creek is the main access to the Slide Rock Swim Area. Brave the 0.3 mile trail to enjoy the natural water slide in the cool waters of Oak Creek. The path begins near the apple picking barn, traverses steps leading to the creek and then crosses the creek via a small footbridge.

After crossing, avoid stepping on any sunbathers as you proceed north along the warm, sandstone shelves. Note that if the area is experiencing high run-off, the footbridge will not be in place and you will have to stay on the west side of Oak Creek. If you continue to walk north, you will arrive at an eight-foot wall. You can either turn around here or negotiate the wall to explore the remote, more primitive areas upstream, unless advised otherwise.

Clifftop Nature Trail: Enjoy some scenic views of the Slide Rock Swim Area on this casual 0.25 mile trail which begins near the apple barn.

How to get to Slide Rock State Park:
Begin at the roundabout in Highway 179 known as the “Y” near Uptown Sedona and travel north on Highway 89A toward Flagstaff for 6.9miles 11.0 km to milepost 381.1 and the well-marked entrance to Slide Rock State Park. Enter the lot, where you will pay a fee, and park.


  • The park is open year round except on certain holidays. Admission required. For more information on hours and fees visit the website at http://azstateparks.com/parks/slro/
  • Difficulty: Moderate.
  • Usage: Moderate to very heavy. Plan to arrive early. Parking is limited and you may have to wait to gain entrance into the park as other vehicles depart.
  • No pets allowed in the Slide Rock Swim Area. In other areas, pets must be on a leash and attended to at all times. Please, DO NOT leave pets in your car!
  • Smoking only permitted inside vehicles in the parking lot.
  • No glass containers of any kind allowed.

Special Tips:

  • Hiking shoes or boots are recommended. Enjoy with caution, rocks and creek beds are slippery when wet.
  • On warmer days, this trail can be hot, so hike early.
  • Always take plenty of water, especially in warmer weather, and possibly a picnic or a snack, but please remember, “Leave no trace” and take what you brought along home with you. Damaging or removing rocks, vegetation, or public property is prohibited.
  • Stay in designated areas.
  • Take your camera to capture the views and the fun!

By Lynn A. Trombetta