On my friend and my second day in Sedona Arizona we woke up early so that we could spend the morning at Slide Rock State Park. We were super excited to jump from rocks and ride nature made water slides. We hoped to get there early and miss the crowd that we had noticed the day before. It was a 45 minute wait to get into the park when we passed that day.
We got there so early that there was no wait at all. We pulled into the park and paid our $30, more than usual due to the fact that we went on Memorial Day weekend. It was even raining, but we wouldn’t let that stop us from having fun. We decided to take some time to explore the area before heading down to the area where people swim, jump from rocks, and ride the slides.
We took our time walking out to the rock slide area and found some old tourist cabins built in 1933, the Pendley homestead house built in 1927, the Rock Slide Market which was closed that morning, a black apple orchard, a bunch of old farming equipment, and the apple packing shed built in 1932. In 1907, on a fishing trip to the area Frank Pendley decided to try to claim rights to the land. It had been unclaimed due to the difficulty in diverting the water from the creek in the area. By 1910 Pendley was able to established squatter rights to the area as he had figured out a way to build an irrigation ditch. He built a cabin on the land as well and filed for ownership under the Homestead Act. The original cabin was torn down in 1927 and replaced by a new homestead with running water that you see there today.
The homestead and farm gained electricity in 1948 and a telephone in 1950. In 1984 the farm closed and was sold only a year later to the Arizona Parkland Foundation. The State of Arizona then purchased the farm. In 1987 it was opened to the public as Slide Rock State Park.
It didn’t take long for us to explore all the history and reach the slide area. It was still quite early, rainy, and pretty cold out when we did and we were nowhere near ready to get in the water. We walked a little further past the apple packing shed and found a hike that ran above the creek overlooking the main attraction to the park, the rock slides. It was called Cliff Top Trail.
The trail was a dirt path that was not that long, but gave the most beautiful views of the park. We also found cactus flowers, a small orchard, and several cliff overlooks. As we walked we reached a point where the path started to become steep and very narrow. We decided to turn back due to the rain which had made the rocks super slippery.
As we headed back the rain started to clear up. We headed down into the rock slide area and explored a bit more. First to the south to see the underside of the bridge and where cliff divers jump into the cold water below. Then to the north to scout out our own jumps and rides through the park. It was absolutely beautiful. It started to get hot and we couldn’t take it anymore. We headed back to the car to get changed and set to have some ultimate water fun.
Cliff jumps were first on our list so we lined up behind some boys and waited our turn. Then, we jumped in. The water was so cold it was a shock to your body which made climbing up the rocks on the opposite side to get out more difficult than it needed to be. By the third jump you fall into a rhythm and know exactly how and where to place your legs to help you get out.
Next on our list was the rock slide. Once again we lined up behind some children and waited our turn. They were having so much fun, sometimes stopping and allowing the others to crash into them. We waited for them to clear out and then rode down the slide. The water pushed you so hard you barely had to do anything to help yourself along. Occasionally a little guidance through a longer stretch, but that was it. It was so much fun. Up and down and sometimes almost turning around. We went twice and then the water started to feel too cold to continue to stay in.
Rock Slide State Park is a great place to enjoy a nice sunny summer day. The history, the trail, and the water park are all in unity with an amazingly spectacular outdoor outing. Go spend the morning there sliding and jumping down the rocks, then have a picnic at one of their many tables and end then afternoon with more water shenanigans. Children and adults, who are like big kids, will be entertained and will love coming back to this place time and time again. I know I did. And I will be sure to go back soon.