SEDONA, AZ ("Good Morning Arizona") -- The banks of Arizona's Oak Creek have long drawn visitors from the Valley looking to cool down, but there's one special spot on the water that draws people from around the world.
Just below an apple orchard and tucked inside the tall red rock walls of Oak Creek Canyon is a uniquely Arizona treasure. Slide Rock State Park is about two and a half hours north of the Valley, and about 15 minutes north of Sedona.
Life Magazine named it one of America's top 10 most beautiful swimming holes, and it's easy to see why.
"This time of year, we're doing just over a thousand visitors per day on average, obviously a little higher on the weekends and lower on the weekdays," says Slide Rock State Park Manager Hank Vincent.
During the summer months, it's mostly Phoenicians here looking to beat the heat, and the parking lot hits capacity about an hour or two after opening. Then it's one car in, one car out, controlled by the park rangers. It costs $20-$3- to get in, depending on the day and season.
It's not quite as crowded in other times of the year, but the water can be chilly outside of the summer months. In the spring, the recent snowmelt means the water is in the 40s and 50s, but it climbs to about 70 degrees by the end of summer. As the outside temperatures also warm up, the sun shines through the shallow water, and layers of algae grow on the rocks. That makes the rocks slippery, which can be both fun and dangerous.
"Definitely, the primary danger would be anywhere the rocks are wet; it's really slick," Vincent said. "With the moss buildup, you need to be careful when you're walking through the water area. I always encourage folks to go slow. Don't be afraid to crawl." Water shoes are recommended.
But while sometimes dangerous, those slippery rocks are also the draw. There's a winding sandstone shoot that's 80 feet long, where you can sit and glide down, the river water pushing you along. The ride is sometimes bumpy, and kids move down the waterway much more quickly than adults.
There also are deeper pools for swimming and cliff-jumping nearby. Just beware, there's no lifeguard on duty.