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Who are the Experience Arizona Adventurers?

Matt Marine

Matt Marine is an Arizona resident who loves exploring Arizona's wonderful outdoor adventures. To find out more about Matt, click the link below.

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Cat-Dog is my faithful trail companion. Her real name is Cammie. Why do I call her Cat-Dog?

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Sara Harelson

I’m Sara! I’m 21, a senior in college, and a journalism major.  I love to read, write, travel, and listen to music.  I’m always on to my next adventure.


See Intern Page for previous interns

Slide Rock: Arizona’s Natural Waterslide

Story by Amanda Oien

Seven miles north of Sedona, Arizona sits the cool paradise of Oak Creek Canyon and Slide Rock State Park.  With fisheries, apple orchards, campsites and cabins lining the highway, it is a place to free the mind and get lost in the beauty of northern Arizona. But Mother Nature has also tucked a natural waterslide into the creek’s canyon, creating a place for excitement surrounded by serenity.

Slide Rock State Park, originally a 43-acre homestead and apple farm, has been a state park since October 1987. Old Pendley Homestead farm equipment now accompany visitors along the walking paths.

On a road trip with friends, we curved around the bends within Oak Creek Canyon, watching the trees create a canopy over the winding road while the dramatic red and mustard yellow rocks of Sedona towered over us, looking as if the cliffs could touch the clouds.

Sedona’s red rock made me feel like a small child, looking up at the sky, my eyes growing larger as I watched them pass by from the car’s window.  It is pure beauty that almost seems unreal.

I was apprehensive about Slide Rock. It was my first time and I was about to give all control to slippery rocks and white water.  I worried that I was going to get thrown around by the water and could possibly go back to Tucson with bruises. While unsure, I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. Where else do you get to do something like this?

The dark thunder clouds over the mountains teased with our day’s plans and while the rain would have probably made the water from the Oak Creek even colder, I wasn’t going to let it ruin our adventure.

Luckily, the blue sky began peeking out behind the clouds, exposing the sun, making my clothes stick to my skin from the humidity.

During the summer months, Slide Rock can get very crowded as people from all over Arizona and even Mexico, flock to Sedona for cooler weather, shopping and outdoor adventures like Slide Rock.

As we drove along State Route 89A to get to Slide Rock, we saw an increasing amount of cars parked along the highway as well as pedestrians walking in and out of the bike lane, forcing us to slow down and dodge mindless pedestrians who weren’t paying attention to passing cars.  We worried that the parking lot at Slide Rock would be full and we would have to do the same— which looked dangerous.

We pulled into the parking lot and thankfully, enough cars were leaving so we could enter. After the $30 parking and entrance fee to the park, we grabbed our things, left our valuables in the car, and headed for the creek.

We walked towards Oak Creek and the red rock continued to amaze us. This time, the rocks were sprinkled with patches of green, a gift from the monsoons and Sedona’s cooler weather.

As we got closer to the creek, the asphalt beneath our feet turned to rusty-colored clay and we began hearing crashing water coming from the small waterfalls of the creek.

We found a boulder the size of a golf cart and claimed it as ours to put our belongings on. My friends, who are from the Midwest and the East Coast, wasted no time getting into the water.

By their expressions on their faces and their change in body language, I knew they had discovered what I already knew: the creek water was frigid.

I slipped off my Jellies and stepped into the ankle-deep water. The frosty water stung and made my ankles ache.

Then I took a step. They don’t call it slide rock for nothing. I nearly face-planted into the water.

I decided my Jellies would give me more traction than my bare feet.

I felt like I was experiencing Sedona’s own version of the Polar Plunge, but my body either got used to the water or just became numb enough that I  didn’t notice the temperature anymore.

It was time for Mother Nature’s waterslide.

I sat down at the top of slide, watching the white-water rush by me. The current was so strong and the rocks were so slippery, that if I let go with even just one hand, I would be pushed down the slide.

I lifted my body up from the smooth, slippery rocks and let go.

To prevent myself from getting completely bruised by the rocks, I used my hands and occasionally my feet as a guide.

The creek’s water pushed me up while the rocks created a pathway, bringing me back down where the white-water crashed over my torso, splashing me in the face. It was exhilarating.  While going down the slide, I  laughed, screamed and gasped for air.

Just like any other waterslide, the slide spit me out into more white-water. But the current continued, making the attempt to pull me under the glacier-like water.

After struggling to find my footing at the end of the slide, I could stand up and move to the side of the rocks.

The slide was invigorating and not nearly as painful as I imagined. However, the rocks did rub my legs, leaving scrapes and tender skin, even after just one run.

I went down the slide a few more times, each time a difference experience. When nature is in control, don’t expect any duplicates.

By this time, the water wasn’t as cold and became refreshing, as the sun had fully come out from behind the clouds and the humidity was climbing.

While rather crowded, there was still space to swim, wade and slide down the rocks. Sliding down slippery rocks with cold, rushing white-water by my side is something I will never forget. I didn’t walk away with any bruises, just the first few layers of skin missing, but it was worth it.

More Information

For more information on Slide Rock State Park, visit https://azstateparks.com/slide-rock/


Have you been on this adventure? What did you think? Comments and updates welcome by clicking here.

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