The first time I went to Arizona I was 6 years old. I remember being at the airport and stepping through the sliding doors and immediately the heat and dry air took my breath away. This Alaskan was NOT used to this weather. On that vacation, one of the top stops was Sedona and Slide Rock State Park. My mom has a VHS tape in her collection of a timid 6-year-old in a black and white polka dot bikini (that would be me) in the shallow pools of Slide Rock, but not partaking of the slide part of Slide Rock. As cute as I was in that video, this visit, I had major plans to do the chute.

And I did. I did the chute so hard my booty burned! …Too weird? Maybe so, but it’s true. I’ll tell you more about it later (in the Tips section of this post).

We arrived in Sedona a little later in the afternoon than planned and by the time we had set up our tent at the Cave Springs Campground and got to the park, the sun was starting to hide and we were being threatened by rain, which did eventually come. We walked into Slide Rock State Park for a $3 fee, so we decided that we would make a run or two this visit and then return in the morning when it was sunny.

We dipped our toes in the water and oh boy was that water chilly! We overheard somebody say that the toe dip hurts the most and when you fully immerse yourself, it’s not as bad. We decided to believe her and go for it! Her words were true and we had a great first run, albeit, frigid. We did it once more and as it started to sprinkle, we took off for the night. We camped at Cave Springs, a great campground just 10 minutes north of the park. This was our first night camping on our roadtrip and the first night using all our new camping gear! I was pretty excited.

In the morning, we returned as planned. 30 minutes after opening there were only a few other families there. We held our breath and dropped in at the top of the chute, did a couple runs, got out and hiked up the river a little bit to warm up.

Then we did a few more runs.

Then we got out and sat on our chairs a bit to warm up and dry off.

Then we did a few more runs.

It’s a bit like shampooing: rinse and repeat. But with rinse actually being the get dry and warm up step which is not to be skipped!

In total both days, we only stayed for about 3 hours, but we wish we could’ve stayed the entire day. It would’ve been a lovely, relaxing day: play in the water, sit in our chairs, hike a little, picnic, and enjoy the park and the weather. They have bathrooms at the river, so that’s covered. We also felt safe leaving our chairs, towels, and belongings out. That said, always trust your gut and take precautions (read: don’t leave your iPhone out in the open). We also heard that there are some other great hikes in the area, so next time we return, we’ll have to do some of those too. Here are a few Slide Rock State Park tips (including the booty burn info):

  1. Go on a warm day. This may seem obvious, but the water is COLD! You know when you first get into a pool and it’s cold, but then it warms up and when you get out of the pool the air outside is cold? Well, this is the exact opposite—it’s cold when you get in and the air is nice and warm when you get out, so it helps you warm up and dry off quicker.
  2. Cover your booty. Except for the dudes who wear Speedos, this tip is mainly for the ladies. I wore a swimsuit that had a bikini cut (as opposed to boy shorts), and I had a raw booty by the time we left. I think it was a combination between a slight numbness and then the little bit of friction from the rocks. I did do around 10 runs on the slide, which definitely contributed to the severity of the booty burn, so if you only do a few runs, this probably won’t be an issue.
  3. Park and walk. Weekdays during summer, the parking lot is $20 per car with 4 ppl max and $3 for each additional person. If you have a full car, this might work well for you. Be sure to check the park website for dates and fees because summer weekends cost more! If you are trying to save money, don’t have a full car (4 max.), or if the parking lot is full you can walk into the park with only a $3 entrance fee. We parked in a small parking pull off a half mile north of the park and walked a little trail to the park entrance.
  4. Be careful—it’s slippery! It’s in the name: SLIDE Rock State Park—the rocks are indeed slippery. There are signs all over reinforcing this. But for real: BE CAREFUL and make sure you have solid footing before you step whenever you’re on wet rocks. I almost slipped, Brian took a spill, we watched other people fall, and we actually saw one guy fall and hit his head (he’s OK!).
  5. Hit the weekdays. Sedona doesn’t have quite the same draw as Disneyland, so on weekdays, it’s actually quite a bit less busy than weekends. We went the day after Memorial Day on a weekday and it was understandably decently busy the day after a holiday weekend. We also went the next day and it was much less busy! We arrived shortly after the park opened and it was mostly empty! Of course, as the day goes on, it will get slightly busier. But almost always, weekdays will be less busy than if you go on a weekend.

Check out the YouTube video to see real-time reactions to the water 🙂

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