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Slide Rock named one of America’s 10 best state parks

Fodor’s Travel recently named Slide Rock State Park in Sedona, Arizona as one of the most loved and cherished state parks in America on the “America’s 10 Best State Parks” list.

According to Fordor’s Travel, “There’s pretty much one reason and one reason only to visit Slide Rock State Park, seven miles north of Sedona: to slip down the smooth, red-sandstone water slide and be carried over the surface by a cooling creek into the swimming hole below.”

Although Slide Rock State Park is best known today as a water-recreation destination, the site had its beginning as a 43-acre apple farm. In 1907, Frank Pendley discovered the site, and three years later homesteaded the property. He created an irrigation system and planted an orchard that continues to bear fruit.

Slide Rock State Park is seven miles north of Sedona on State Route 89A. On a warm day you can plunge down a natural rock slide into a swimming hole (bring an extra pair of jeans or a sturdy bathing suit and river shoes to wear on the slide). The natural beauty attracted a number of Hollywood stars including John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart. A few easy hikes run along the rim of the gorge of Oak Creek’s brightly colored scenic canyon walls.

“Out of 8,000 State Parks around the country, we are very pleased that our historical local gem has been placed on this prestigious list of top 10 Best State Parks in America. Slide Rock State Park is truly an Arizona treasure,” said Jennifer Wesselhoff, President and CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce.

“The park is a perfect place to cool off and enjoy picnics, swimming, natural water slides, and some of the best scenery and hiking in the southwest. Sedona’s proximity to seven area state parks, five national monuments and many heritage sites, make it a paradise for nature-lovers and outdoor enthusiasts,” Wesselhoff said.

The top best State Parks include:

  1. Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas
  2. T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Florida
  3. Adirondack Park, New York
  4. Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee
  5. Itasca State Park, Minnesota
  6. Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire
  7. Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio
  8. Slide Rock State Park, Arizona
  9. Lime Kiln Point State Park, Washington
  10. Custer State Park, South Dakota
Top Picnic Places In Arizona

Top Picnic Places In Arizona

With the weather getting warmer, who doesn’t want to spend more time outdoors? So gather your family and have yourself a picnic.

This spring season, consider having a picnic at one of the following locations:

Northern Arizona

Dead Horse Ranch State Park is located in Cottonwood and covers 423 acres of land that includes 10 hiking trails, 22 campground sites and two picnic areas. Situated near the Verde River, Dead Horse Ranch has abundant flora and wildlife that changes depending on the season.

675 Dead Horse Ranch Rd.
Cottonwood, AZ 86326
(928) 634-5283

Red Rock State Park is another great place to have a picnic. This park’s signature red rocks and lush greenery are the perfect scenery for having lunch outdoors. Red Rock also has many hiking trails: The Coyote Ridge Trail, Kisva Trail, Yavapai Ridge Trail, Javelina Trail and Rattlesnake Ridge, which rises above the Twin Cypress picnic area.

4050 Red Rock Loop Rd.
Sedona, AZ 86336
(928) 282-6907

Slide Rock State Park, named after the slippery creep bottom nearby, is another Sedona favorite for picnicking. Aside from its nature trails, Slide Rock also has a wading and swimming area that’s perfect for cooling off. Its apple barn offers seasonal apple picking, and Slide Rock Market has snacks and picnic supplies.

6871 N. Highway 89A
Sedona, AZ 86336
(928) 282-3034

Eastern Arizona

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park is located three miles west of Superior. It features Arizona’s oldest and largest botanical garden, beautiful vistas, natural habits, a desert lake, picnic areas and a visitor center. This is the perfect place to admire nature while picnicking.

37615 U.S. Hwy 60
Superior, AZ 85273
(520) 689-2811

Another park that made this top picnic places list is named after one of Arizona’s lost gold mines. Lost Dutchman State Park is located five miles north of Apache Junction and is at the base of Superstition Mountains. Along with hiking and nature trails, picnic facilities and 35 campsites are offered throughout the year.

6109 N. Apache Trail
Apache Junction, AZ 85219
(480) 982-4485

Southern Arizona

Patagonia Lake is a popular spot to have a picnic. Camping sites are offered depending on how much you want to rough it. They range from undeveloped spots to places with running water and electricity. Patagonia includes picnic ramadas, a swimming beach and a boat rental store.

400 Patagonia Lake Rd.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
(520) 287-6965

Roper Lake State Park is another great place for a picnic. There are two sections to the park: Roper Lake and Dankworth Pond. Roper offers a 30-acre lake, a natural stone hot tub, an island, a beach and campsites. Dankworth Pond has picnic ramadas, an Indian village and a playground.

101 E. Roper Lake Rd.
Safford, AZ 85546
(928) 428-6760

Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park is part park, part museum. It has a gift shop, a museum inside the courthouse and a courtyard. The courtyard is a perfect spot to have a picnic after exploring the park and exhibits.

219 Toughnut St.,
Tombstone, AZ 85638
(520) 457-3311

Western Arizona

Alamo Lake State Park is located about 40 miles north of Wenden. The lake is a great fishing spot and is known for its large mouth bass. There are many outdoor activities to enjoy at Alamo Lake, such as wildlife watching, hiking amongst beautiful scenery, and, of course, picnicking. Alamo Lake State Park has an amazing view of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

(928) 669-2088

Encanto Park, also known as Enchanted Island, is a beautiful urban oasis that’s perfect for a family picnic. This 222-acre park offers children rides, pedal boating, a lake and scenic views. Enjoy your picnic under the many ramadas or pick a spot near the water.

1202 W. Encanto Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 254-1200

Fountain Hills Park has large oak trees that are perfect for spreading a picnic blanket under. Watch the majestic, world-famous fountain while having lunch. Other features of Fountain Hills Park include a playground, 35-acres of turf, a lake and many picnic tables and benches.

12925 N. Saguaro Blvd.
Fountain Hills, AZ 85268

Sedona, Ariz.

Slide Rock And Red Rock State Parks In Sedona

Sedona is known for the natural beauty of  its stunning red rocks that the locals have affectionately named and shamelessly promote. You can enjoy the natural sculptures of Sedona by visiting a vortex, drinking in the beauty of Slide Rock State Park or hiking in Sedona’s Red Rock State Park.

Experience a Sedona Vortex

Sedona, Ariz.Ask any of the locals what to do in Sedona, and they recommend watching the sunset from Airport Mesa. Airport Mesa also happens to be a vortex location. Believers of the metaphysical consider a vortex a high-energy spot, and Sedona has a handful. The vortex is a common ground for the kinetic energy to influence the life in and around a particular area. Visitors to vortexes claim a tingling sensation, a refreshed outlook and inner peace. Is there an unseen force at work? Or are these feelings, commonly reported by visitors and locals, just a state of mind?

It can’t be denied that Airport Mesa has one of the best sunset views in Sedona. The limited parking fills up fast an hour before sunset. If you aren’t an enthusiastic outdoor athlete or hiker, this vortex and scenic look out is perfect. The 3.5 mile, circular trail is not too strenuous or difficult and offers easily accessible views of other popular rock formations such as Coffee Pot rock, Courthouse rock, Bell rock and Cathedral rock, just to name a few. It may be that the crowds at this easily accessible vortex throw off the claimed energy field that is found on Mini Mesa. Maybe, to feel the energy of a vortex, you have to feel as though you have escaped the crowds, alone and absorbing nature.

You can check out the Sedona vortexes with this vortex map.

Slide Rock State Park

This Arizona state park is one of the best summer destinations that offers natural beauty and fun in one. The smooth natural rock formations of the river bed and the rushing water offer a natural water slide, while the large flat stones on the bank provide a fabulous place for sunbathing and catching up on that latest novel. It can become extremely crowded during warmer weather, so if you want to escape the crowds, hike up the river and immerse yourself in a still-water pool or observe the wildlife stopping for a drink.

Sedona, Ariz.

In the winter it may be too cold to enjoy swimming in the creek, but the hikes and the views are breathtaking especially with a fresh snowfall. The Slide Rock State Park used to be the Pendley homestead, a 43-acre apple orchard that was developed by Frank L. Pendley in 1910. The Pendley Homestead Historic District was accepted onto the National Register of Historic Places in Dec. 1991. The Pendley apple farm is one of the few homesteads still preserved in Oak Creek Canyon. Enjoy the history of the apple farm as a scenic and cinematic destination, James Stewart’s “Broken Arrow” was filmed here along with others, and hike the Pendley Homestead Trail (.25 miles), Slide Rock Route (.3 miles), or Clifftop Nature Trail (.25 miles).

Summer or winter, plan your visit to Slide Rock State Park in Sedona.

Red Rock State Park

The Red Rock State Park is located on the south side of Sedona along the 89A and had numerous trails suitable for hiking, biking and horseback riding. The 286-acre nature preserve includes a 1.4-mile stretch of Oak Creek that flows through this amazing riparian habitat.

The park also features an environmental educational center with daily activities such as a daily guided nature walk at 10 a.m. and an educational presentation at 2 p.m. The guided nature walk is lead by a naturalist who explains the ecosystem and habitat of the Red Rock State Park and Oak Creek. The walk lasts about one-and-a-half to two hours and covers the wildlife, vegetation and archaeology of the area. The educational presentation led by a park ranger or a guest speaker can be a combined indoor/outdoor activity that includes a specific, special presentation and on occasion an outdoor hike. Bring water and your camera!

Check the Red Rock State Park website for a calendar of events.

Arizona Places to Visit - AZ Business Magazine March/April 2011

Arizona Places To See

Places to go 2011


1- Arizona Science Center, Phoenix

Get your hands on more than 300 different exhibits, explore the planetarium and check out the latest film on its state-of-the-art, five-story theater screen.

2- Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Chinle

Canyon de Chelly National Monument offers visitors the chance to learn about Southwestern Indian history, from the earliest basketmakers to the Navajo Indians who live and farm here. Cultural resources of Canyon de Chelly include architecture, artifacts and rock imagery.

3- Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix

Stroll through the living museum and learn about 20,000 different plant species in Arizona. Specialized tours, events, workshops, family activities, café and gift shop are available.

4- Grand Canyon National Park

Visit one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world. Take a trail ride by mule or the Grand Canyon Railway into the depths of the canyon. Hiking and camping are also available.

5- Hoover Dam, Nevada-Arizona border

The Bureau of Reclamation started conducting tours through the Hoover Dam in 1937. Today, close to 1 million visitors a year take the tour and millions more drive across the dam. Hoover Dam is the highest concrete dam in the U.S.

6- Kartchner Caverns State Park, Benson

Kartchner Caverns is a stunning limestone cavern system in southeastern Arizona, discovered in 1974 by two amateur cavers from Tucson. It is host to world-class cave formations considered to be the best of their kind.

7- Montezuma Castle National Monument, Camp Verde

An enduring legacy of the prehistoric Sinagua, this multi-storied, 20-room, ancient Indian cliff dwelling was built more than six centuries ago. The stone, timber and adobe dwelling is 80 percent intact, making it one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in the U.S.

8- Tucson Studios, Tucson

Old Tucson Studios is Arizona’s Hollywood in the Desert since 1939. This world-famous working film location offers fun for the whole family including guided historical set tours, live stunt shows, gunfights, and saloon musicals plus rides for the kids. While you’re here, enjoy a trail ride in the beautiful Arizona Sonora Desert.

9- Slide Rock State Park, Sedona

The park is named after the famous Slide Rock, a stretch of slippery creek bottom adjacent to the homestead. Visitors may slide down a slick, natural water chute or wade and sun along the creek.

10- Tombstone

Noted as a National Historic Landmark in 1962, this historic Wild West site is home to the stagecoach, gunfight re-enactments and Wild West legends that made Tombstone famous.

Arizona Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011