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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Slide Rock State Park, Arizona

The weather is warming up here in Central Arizona. Warm weather in Central Arizona means time to go to to one of the many creeks for a swim to cool off. The most well known of these swimming destinations is Slide Rock State Park in Oak Creek Canyon.
Slide Rock State Park is located along beautiful Oak Creek in beautiful Oak Creek Canyon.  Slide rock for me brings back great memories because my parents took me to this place several times when I was a kid, and now I take my child there.  The most notable feature of Slide Rock is of course the natural water slides that are created by the creek as it flows over carved out and smooth flat sandstone.
There are a series of slides and pools with some deeper places with channels cut through the rock where people can jump off the small rock cliffs along the creek.

The rock when wet is very slippery and you will often see people take a fall as their feet go out from under them. Sometimes resulting in an unexpected trip down a water slide, in some cases with camera equipment along for the ride.
Downstream from the water slides and below the highway bridge are deep pools with large cliffs that the brave ones do some cliff diving into the creek below. Upstream from the water slides are some beautiful sections of the creek that that pass between some moderate cliffs, that can be more secluded and a nice break from the crowds found at the water slides below.
This place is like a natural water park all in an amazing setting below towering redrock canyon walls. Summer at slide rock can be very crowded an often the parking area gets full so getting there early is advised to be sure to get in.
 The park opens at 8:00 AM and closes at 7:00 PM during the summer. The water can be pretty cold but in hot weather reaching 100 degrees it can be just what is needed.
Another feature of the park is the old homestead structures. The area that the park is in was homesteaded by Frank Pendley in 1907. His family owned the land until 1985 when it was sold to the Arizona State Parks. You can still see apple trees that were part of the orchard that Pendley planted in 1912, and small cottages that were built in the 30s and 40s. Along with this are some interesting equipment used to make the homestead work including a water wheel that was used to generate electricity before power lines were available in the canyon.

This is a great destination that has something for everyone to enjoy and is one of the most visited locations in Central Arizona.  For me it brings back childhood memories because it has not changed much since I was a little kid when my parents would bring me here on summer adventures.  Sure there is a parking lot now, and they make you pay, but the creek and the water slides are pretty much the same.


  1. So was it your Dad who first introduced you to all of these beautiful places, or did you discover them all on your own? I have my Pop to thank for introducing me to all the Southern beauty down here. He and my Grandfather (his father-in-law). The swamps. The pine scrubs. The oak hammocks. The keys and barrier islands. The old 'black water' rivers full of largemouth bass and bluegill. All of the little Southern towns and hamlets that we’d pass through with their tin-roofed gas stations dating from the 20s. The locals (who were affectionately known as ‘crackers’), most who knew my Grandfather by name. From the time I was a small child they both took me along, usually fishing out of the back of the boat. Since that time I have done the same for all of my children, and they have each come to love it, too.
    It’s awful nice there in Arizona, I see. It rivals anything we got going down here the Deep South, that’s for sure. I hope I can get out there to see it one day.

  2. Yes, I see (after reading your notes thoroughly) that your folks most certainly did! Sorry. I always do that. I speak first and read later.

  3. My Parents did take me to many AZ locations. On that foundation, I have discovered many more like Clear Creek. I'm sure the deep south has some great stuff too, just differeent. For me this has a special attraction of bringing back childhood memories.