Amanda hopes to help people find unique places to visit in the United States as well as provide travel tips.
After visiting the Grand Canyon via the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, our family headed back to Flagstaff and south on State Route 89A toward Sedona. We found ourselves travelling through beautiful Oak Creek Canyon. After seeing the Grand Canyon from the rim, it was neat to travel down to the ground floor of a canyon and dip our feet in the cool waters of Oak Creek.
Here are two must-see places just north of Sedona and one bonus site on the way back to Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix.
Slide Rock State Park
Slide Rock State Park is a unique little stop seven miles north of Sedona, on State Route 89A. There you will find an old farmhouse, farm equipment and a working apple orchard, as well as its namesake, Slide Rock.
Slide Rock is a smooth ledge worn away by the cool waters of Oak Creek, creating a natural water slide. The water was very cold when we visited in October, but the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed relaxing by the waterfalls. The wet rocks are extremely slippery, so be very careful if you go.
There is a neat little gift shop and general store on site. It cost $10 (exact cash or credit card) per vehicle to get into the park in October. Flush toilets and running water were available. For more information about Slide Rock, check their website.
A little further down the road to the south, you will find Grasshopper Point. This spot was recommended to us by a waiter in Flagstaff. It is a good idea to ask the locals for their recommendations of what to see when you are visiting a new place. Our waiter said he liked Grasshopper Point better than Slide Rock because it was not as well known, less touristy, and had a better swimming hole. He also warned that it is a tougher hike than Slide Rock.
My husband and I decided to check it out ourselves instead of bringing the rest of our group. It was tough hiking on the smooth boulders. We hiked upstream for quite a distance and found a beautiful spot we had all to ourselves.
Grasshopper Point was my favorite part of Arizona. I loved the crystal-clear waterfalls. It was just beautiful there. I could have stayed there forever! It cost $9 (exact cash, no attendant on site) per vehicle to get in. Vault toilets were available, but no running water. For more information about Grasshopper Point, check the USDA website.
Apache Wash Trailhead
On our way back to the airport in Phoenix, we wanted to get some pictures of the large Saguaro cacti we saw along the road. We looked for a place to stop, but each time we pulled off the highway, we found ourselves in a place that lacked cacti!
I checked my map and found the Apache Wash Trailhead. If you are headed south on I-17, Black Canyon Freeway, take Exit 222 and head east on Dove Valley Road. You will find Apache Wash Trailhead in about 5 miles. Parking is free, bathrooms are available and there are several hiking trails that provide ample opportunity to take cactus pictures.
We were there in October and it was 110 degrees! Do keep the heat in mind if you go out there. For more information about Apache Wash Trailhead, check the website.
There are many nice places to visit in Arizona. These are just a few that I discovered in my short time there. I learned that I am not a desert person, as my favorite places all included water. If you too find yourself in the desert longing for a cool stream, please visit Slide Rock and Grasshopper Point. You won’t be disappointed!
© 2019 Amanda Buck
Marcy Bialeschki from Cerro Gordo, IL on May 24, 2020:
You make a compelling case for Arizona. I have never been there, but after reading, I think it needs to be on my bucket list. Great article. I love the pictures, too.