Skip to main content

Visiting the Fabulous Oak Creek Canyon, Slide Rock State Park and Sedona, Arizona

Arizona is a fabulous state filled with beauty and natural wonders. Amazing canyons (Grand!), mountains, and desert scenery await visitors.

Spectacular Red Rocks Around Sedona

Spectacular Red Rocks Around Sedona

Visits to Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon and Slide Rock

Three times in my life, I have been fortunate enough to have visited the beautiful vistas existing in the red rock area of Sedona and the natural playground nearby in Oak Creek Canyon and Slide Rock State Park. Each time I was with a different person. So I got to see this glorious setting through their eyes as well as mine.

One of those times, I was with my husband. He had attended a manager's meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. We tacked on some vacation time after the meeting ended and rented a car.

On that portion of our trip, we got to see the eye-catching sights associated with everything north of Scottsdale up to the Grand Canyon. Driving through Oak Creek Canyon and enjoying the twelve-mile-long river gorge between the towns of Sedona to the south and Flagstaff to the north makes for a most scenic journey.

Oak Creek Canyon

Along State Route 89A, visions of the running waters of Oak Creek (which is a tributary of the Verde River) are in view for much of the time.

Oak Creek helped carve this canyon to a depth of between 800 to 2,000 feet (240 to 600 meters.) At its widest point, the canyon is 2.5 miles across, and at its narrowest point, only 0.8 miles in width (1.3 to 4 km.)

Oak Creek lies along a geologic fault line which caused some upheaval. The west rim of the canyon is 700 feet (210 meters) higher than the east rim. All of this makes for a gorgeous backdrop of splendid sightseeing!

My mother was with me on another journey, and she had always wanted to personally see Oak Creek Canyon mainly because of hearing about its spectacular beauty from her mother. From all of the many trips that her parents had taken in the United States, Oak Creek Canyon was one of my grandmother's favorite places. My mother was not disappointed when she first laid her eyes on it.

A girlfriend from Germany shared this jewel of discovery with me when we were traveling across the nation on a 3 1/2 week trek, primarily visiting national parks. She was equally impressed with Oak Creek Canyon, Slide Rock, and Sedona.

Oak Creek Canyon is within the Coconino National Forest. One can see abundant vegetation, including trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, combined with the rocks and water providing sublime shelter to animals. It also offers a fun playground for children and adults alike.


Sedona is one of the prettiest of towns surrounded by so much natural beauty that it would be a fantastic destination to spend some time even if the glory of Oak Creek Canyon and the Grand Canyon did not exist nearby.

Those radiant red rocks, which change hues depending upon the time of day, form a stunning background to the delightful hotels, shops, and restaurants in Sedona.

I suppose people who live there get used to the spectacular backdrop. But for tourists, it is a minute-by-minute pleasure as the sun moves across the nooks and crannies of these natural creations. Sometimes the rocks almost seem ablaze with red hot color! Passing clouds offer a varying pattern of patchwork illumination that is never-ending.

Chapel of the Holy Cross

The Chapel of the Holy Cross sits high up on a rock perch overlooking part of Sedona. It was designed by Architect Marguerite Braunswig Staude, who happened to be a pupil of the famous Frank Lloyd Wright. Completed in 1956, it is a part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.

Open to the public from 9 AM to 5 PM every day, except closed for Christmas and Easter. Admission is free.

Scroll to Continue

The hike from the parking lot up to the chapel offers close-up views of the rock formations. For people who are disabled and cannot make the hike, there is parking at the top.

Plan a visit to see the Chapel of the Holy Cross if one is ever in the Sedona area. Perched high atop two red rock formations, the view from the large window in the front of the chapel is nothing short of spectacular.

Slide Rock State Park

Located about midway in Oak Creek Canyon is the Slide Rock State Park. Upon entering the State Park and parking one's vehicle, it does not take much of a hike to get to Oak Creek and the scenic areas where one can walk along the side of the river on ledges of rock. Many trails lead into side canyons of the park, and it is a hiker's dream come true.

Slide Rock gets its name appropriately. The water flows over smoothed and shallow areas of slippery rocks, providing a wet and wild ride for people inclined to do some swimming and playing.

Depending upon the time of the year, Oak Creek water can be icy. During the summer, many people enjoy this aquatic wonderland. No human-made water park that I know can beat this splendid setting!

Nearing Flagstaff

At the upper end of Oak Creek Canyon, one drives along with a series of hairpin curves as the elevation rises. It is quite an elevation change from Sedona up to Flagstaff.

On one of my trips, as I traveled from the north to the south, it was cold with snow on the ground up at Flagstaff. By the time we drove through Oak Creek Canyon descending to Sedona, we were able to shed our heavy coats and enjoy much warmer weather. Those elevation changes can significantly affect the weather!

Many Native Americans reside in Arizona, and we stopped near the top of Oak Creek Canyon more than once to see the display of handmade jewelry. I have several rings in my collection today that I purchased at that location. One can talk to the creators of the designs, which is nice.

This article will have hopefully introduced you to some of the scenic things you will find in and around this area of the United States. A playground of extraordinary beauty awaits you in Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon, and Slide Rock State Park, located in northern Arizona.

Absolutely Beautiful Photography of the Sedona Area!


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcome.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 22, 2012:

Hi carol7777,

Oh you lucky girl to be living so close to the beautiful Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona part of Arizona! What a beautiful setting for an art seminar! I'd love to have more time and hike some of those trails such as you have often done. Thanks for your comment + the share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 22, 2012:

Hello ahorseback,

I can see from your comment that you also love this scenic place. If we lived closer to Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona, we would be spending much more time there. Love it!!!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 22, 2012:

Hi HouseBuyersUS,

Glad to know that you liked this article about Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. I loved taking the photos of those amazingly beautiful areas including Slide Rock State Park.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 22, 2012:

Hi barbergirl28,

Summertime would be a great time to visit Oak Creek Canyon and enjoy the Slide Rock State Park by actually getting in that water and using the slippery rocks as a natural slide. It is definitely too cold in the winter to be doing that! Wish we lived as close as you do. We'd be there also! Thanks for your comment and the share.

carol stanley from Arizona on August 22, 2012:

Well I am happy to see this beautiful hub. We go to Sedona often and hit the hiking trails up Oak Creek. I took an art seminar there last year and it was hard to take my eyes off all the beauty. We live in Prescott and are close enough to Sedona to get up there when we can. You did a beautiful job on this with your photos and words. Voted up and of course sharing.

ahorseback on August 22, 2012:

-Awesome place, You have captured my favorite place so well here , thank you ........Lets go ! .....:-}

Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on August 21, 2012:

Just out of curiousity I had to mapquest this from my house. It is less than a 7 hour drive. Possibly a weekend trip for the summer because there is nothing I love more than some cool waterfalls. I really want to go to Oak Creek Canyon. We have done a lot of traveling and while we will probably drive past it in December, I am not sure we will have time to stop, but that is ok cause then we can plan it when it is a little warmer! Thanks for sharing this wonderful place to visit!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 21, 2012:

Hi Mary,

Sounds like you and your daughter had a fabulous trip together! Those red rocks in the Sedona area are amazingly beautiful and the Slide Rock area in Oak Creek Canyon looks like quite a playground for all ages. It is also gorgeous. Nice that you enjoyed these areas as we did. Appreciate your comment and the share.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on August 21, 2012:

When my daughter Holly, and I took a tour out west a few years ago, we went through this part of the country. I have photos in my family album very similar to yours of Sedona. It is a beautiful place. You capture the scenery so well, too.

Beautiful Hub, Peggy. I voted it UP and will share.

My best, Mary

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 12, 2012:

Hi alocsin,

Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona have spectacular beauty, some of which you just saw with these many photos. Would love to spend more time there someday. Glad that you liked this and learned more about the area. Thanks for the comments and votes.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on February 12, 2012:

I've always associated Sedona with New Age beliefs but didn't realize it had a lot of naturally beautiful surroundings as well. Thanks for pointing those out. Voting this Up and Beautiful.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 26, 2012:

Hi Connie,

I agree with you that Oak Creek Canyon is certainly one of the most scenic of places in Arizona...and that is saying something! Arizona has so much to offer people by way of scenery. Thanks for your comment.

Connie on January 26, 2012:

Awesome pictures...absolutely beautiful! I've been to Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona and love it. Definately some of the most scenic spots in Arizona.

Arizona has such a wonderful diversity in natural beauty and history. For more places to visit go to

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 24, 2012:

Hi Leah,

Nice that you have personally seen just how beautiful Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona, Arizona is. Wish everyone could experience it. Thanks for the compliment on my photos and also for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 24, 2012:

Hi Don,

Oak Creek Canyon was one of both of my grandmother's all time favorite places when they traveled. It is truly beautiful as we found out when we also got to see it many years later. Glad that you liked these photos and videos. I agree with you in that the rocks are so beautiful there. Thanks for your visit and comment.

Leah Lefler from Western New York on January 24, 2012:

My cousin went to flight school in Prescott, and my husband and I visited once and went to Oak Creek- it is so beautiful there! Sedona is absolutely amazing with the red rock formations. We were there in August so we had the benefit of the seasonal monsoons, too - beautiful pictures!

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on January 24, 2012:

I have found Arizona to be a very attractive state since I drive through it many years ago.The color in the rocks is the special attraction.Voted up, awesom, beautiful and interesting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 02, 2011:

Hi jamiesweeney,

Hope your wishes come true someday. Oak Creek Canyon was one of my grandmother's favorite spots in the entire country and after I got to see it I could understand why she loved it so much. Thanks for reading and commenting on this hub.

jamiesweeney from Philadelphia, PA on September 02, 2011:

Wow...... I am wanted to see that in my real life.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 27, 2010:

Hi billyaustindillon,

Am certain that you would love the Sedona area. Such beautiful country and those red rocks are stupendous! Be sure and visit Oak Creek Canyon just north of Sedona if you get there. Really pretty!

billyaustindillon on July 27, 2010:

I have always wanted to get to Sedona as I have heard so much about it and the healing properties. The pictures are pictures. You have done some wonderful trips Peggy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 02, 2010:

Hi GarnetBird,

Thanks for viewing my Oak Creek Canyon and Slide Rock hub from the Sedona area in Arizona. Heading over to your hub now!

Gloria Siess from Wrightwood, California on May 02, 2010:

Lovely--check out my original photos of Sedona, the Castle being the main focus of the Hub. They were taken by my best friend. I just found out from the History channel that the ancient Anasazi might have been cannabals (Like the Toltecs).

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 22, 2009:

Hello jacobkuttyta,

Thanks for commenting. So happy that you enjoyed viewing the photos of Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon & Slide Rock. Wish I was back there right now!