Oak Creek in Sedona

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Lotion

A view of SedonaSplashing through the cold waters of Oak Creek under the gorgeous towering rock formation of Sedona is an idyllic way to spend a summer day.  Summer temperatures are cooler in Sedona than in Phoenix, making it a perfect day-trip destination.   You won't melt if you eat a picnic lunch or while you explore along the creek, but it will be hot enough to enjoy the fresh, cold water in Oak Creek.

A view from Halfway Picnic Area in SedonaTo access Oak Creek, you can park in the Halfway Picnic area or the Banjo Bill picnic area.  We parked in the Halfway picnic area.  Both picnic areas have vending machines where you can buy a Red Rock Pass for parking.  An all-day Red Rock Pass is $5. 

People swimming in Oak CreekWe went on a Saturday in July.  There were only a few people in the picnic area when we arrived shortly after 11 am, but when we left there were people parked everywhere in the picnic grounds and all along the road.   It may be a hassle to park if you arrive in the afternoon, so we recommend you get there before noon.

To get to Oak Creek, you will have to scramble down a rather steep rocky slope. Then you can wade down the creek or walk along the edge. There are several swimming holes so keep going until you find one you like.  The path along the creek isn't a proper path.  As you can see from the picture, you will have to climb over rocks and fallen trees.
Some of the rocks you have to scramble over if you hike along the creek.We wore water shoes for walking and our swimsuits under shorts and shirts.   We were glad we had some water and towels, but carrying stuff was bother.  We probably wouldn't trouble ourselves with large coolers, for example.  However, we did see groups who did.

A swimming hole in Oak Creek Canyon just north of SedonaIf swimming in the creek sounds fun but scrambling over rocks doesn't, you may want to try Slide Rock State Park.  It is an old homestead site turned into park.  Visitors can slide and wade in the creek that runs through the park.  Parking during the the summer is $20 per car.  The park is often full on weekends and afternoons, so get there early.

When we say get there early, we mean it! We drove by the park on the way to Oak Creek at 11 am and the park was already completely full and there was a long line of cars waiting for a parking space to open.  The line was even longer when we drove past again at about 3 pm.

Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona
Highway 89A North

The towering walls of Oak Creek Canyon

A view in Oak Creek Canyon

People sunning thensleves in Oak Creek Canyon beside the creek

A swimming hole in Oak Creek

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