Sedona swimming holes are some of the best places to cool off in the city when the temperatures soar. The beautiful city in Arizona, renowned for its mystical red rocks and spectacular natural beauty, is home to many creeks, water beds, waterfalls and lakes, which form the perfect swimming holes in Sedona for a relaxing getaway with your kids and pets.
At about two hours north of Phoenix in the centre of Arizona, Sedona is an easy day trip from almost anywhere in the state, which means you can easily plan a day trip to any of these pretty Sedona swimming holes.
In this post, we cover the best swimming holes in Sedona, including the secluded ones, and valuable things to know, including how to access them.
For more summer adventures, check out our guide to 30 Arizona’s best waterfall hikes and the list of 25 best beaches in Arizona., or if you prefer a hot bath, check out this guide to the Best Arizona Hot Springs.
If you wish to explore the many other swimming holes in the copper state, check out this guide to the best Arizona swimming holes.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE PLANNING A TRIP TO SEDONA SWIMMING HOLES
CHECK WEATHER FORECAST
One of the most important things to visit Sedona swimming holes in Arizona is to check the weather forecast.
Some of these swimming holes in Sedona are located around the slot canyons, which are prone to flooding during monsoon season, between mid-June through September.
A few miles away rainstorm creates a dangerous flash flood sweeping through slot canyons without warning.
CHECK THE DEPTHS AND THE CURRENT
Before getting into these Arizona swimming holes, test the depths and check for the current water levels before planning a trip.
Bring plenty of towels, spare clothes, and any other clothes you need.
Dress for the weather and carry enough food and water, a first aid kit, and other outdoor essentials.
Arizona’s hard and unrelenting weather is not for everyone, especially since being outdoors can feel daunting as you can get dehydrated quickly. Keep drinking lots and lots of water and make arrangements to carry enough for everyone.
WEAR WATER SHOES
Carry a pair of hiking shoes and sandals, but do not miss water shoes, as they can be lifesavers while navigating through slippery and sharp rocks.
STICK TO THE TRAILS
Although you can venture around the swimming holes in Sedona to some distances, it is not suggested to wander off too further as there are no trails, and the ecosystem is fragile and sensitive.
Keep to the trails and look for markers when you go around the creeks and waterfalls, especially if you are here during the night.
PRACTICE LEAVING NO TRACE
Natural hot springs are one of the fragile areas in the environment, and as with anywhere outdoors, practice Leave No Trace principles, including cleaning up after yourself, staying in the designated trails, and not touching or harming the surrounding natural things in and around Arizona swimming holes.
If you are going to camp or picnic, make sure you dispose of waste properly.
WATCH OUT FOR RATTLESNAKES
Many hikes to Sedona swimming holes are in a rugged wilderness, totally exposed, with little or no shade. Watch where you step and look for cacti, rattlesnakes and other desert critters.
TOP SEDONA SWIMMING HOLES
- Location – Slide Rock State Park
- Distance – 0.3 miles one way
- Difficulty – Easy
- Elevation – 100 ft
- Type – Out-and-back
- Dog-Friendly – Yes
- Kid-Friendly – Yes
- Permit – No
- Parking – Yes, $10 to $30 per vehicle
No list of Sedona swimming holes is complete without mentioning the crown jewel of Sedona swimming holes – Slide Rock.
Slide Rock, located in Slide Rock State Park, is one of the best swimming holes in Arizona for a quick relaxing getaway you can add as a side trip.
Slide Rock is a series of beautiful short cascades cut into the sandstone at Slide Rock State Park. It is only about 15 minutes away from Sedona, just six miles north of Oak Creek Canyon and is named for its waterslide-like rock formations that surround Oak Creek’s calm waters.
This stretches for about 80 feet and comprises many cascades of various sizes and shapes, ideal for sliding, as the name suggests. Due to the deposition of algae on the rocks, Slide Rock forms a nature waterslide, allowing fun for adults and kids.
Since there are many swimming pools with different depths, it is the best option if you travel with kids or prefer to wade in shallow waters.
You can also enjoy swimming at the many holes along Oak Creek surrounding Slide Rock for about half a mile. To reach Slide Rock, you have to only do the easy walk for about 0.3 miles from the trail.
You will start the hike at the historic apple-packing barn in Slide Rock State Park, home to hundreds of apples in the orchards along the creek, another attraction worth stopping by.
You will pass through old cabins and historical buildings before descending steps leading to the banks of Oak Creek, crossing a small bridge.
There are a few shady spots along this stretch of the creek, perfect for picnics or camping during the day, but these get filled quickly during spring and summer.
However, there’s still room to spread out and relax on red rock benches and many places to enjoy the water beside the creek.
HOW TO REACH?
Slide Rock State Park can be easily reached in 15 minutes by taking highway 89A out of Sedona for about 7 miles, and you’ll see the sign for Slide Rock. There is a large parking lot worth accommodating about 100 vehicles, but it is occupied fully, usually during busy days.
- Location – Coconino National Forest
- Distance – 0.2 miles one way
- Difficulty – Easy
- Elevation – 100 ft
- Type – Out-and-back
- Dog-Friendly – No
- Kid-Friendly – Yes
- Permit – No
- Parking – Yes, $9 per vehicle
If you want to avoid the crowds at Slide Rock State Park, head to Grasshopper Point, one of the best swimming holes in Arizona for families.
Located in Coconino National Forest, Grasshopper Point Swimming & Picnic Area downstream from Slide Rock at the base of a towering red-rock cliff features a vast clear pool amidst a landscape of gorgeous rock formations and greenery is a go-to, especially when in warmer weather.
Due to its size and calmness, this swimming hole is also perfect for tubing and floating.
You can often see people jumping off a large platform at 10 feet and one at 25 feet to the pool, but officials discourage cliff jumping at this spot because of varying depths and underwater hazards, so keep that in mind if you feel like diving.
Since there’s lots of shade around this pool, it’s easy to find a spot and spend several hours here enjoying your favourite book or picnic lunch in the shaded area.
Apart from swimming, you can also explore the many hiking trails and biking in Grasshopper point.
HOW TO REACH?
To get to Grasshopper Point, take highway 89A north out of Sedona, and after 2.5 miles, you’ll see the turnoff to the right to the entrance of Grasshopper Point on the right, after a large bridge.
There is a $9 parking fee to use the small parking lot, shaded picnic tables near the water, and there are bathrooms as well.
You can also reach this swimming hole on an early morning short hike down from Allen’s Bend Trail that follows Oak Creek and spend the rest of the day relaxing at Grasshopper point.
RED ROCK CROSSING(CRESCENT MOON RANCH)
- Distance – 1 to 2.5 miles round trip
- Type – Out and back
- Duration – 1 to 2 hours
- Elevation Gain – 125 feet
- Hike Difficulty – Easy
- Parking – Limited parking, $11 per vehicle
- Best Time – Afternoon and Sunset
- Pass Required – Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass is needed
- Dog Friendly – Yes
- Kid Friendly – Yes
Red Rock Crossing, also known as the Crescent Moon Ranch, is of the best Arizona swimming holes. It is known for its stunning views of Cathedral Rock and Red Rock Country Park. Given its easy access and excellent location, it is no wonder one of the famous Sunset hikes in Sedona.
Red Rock Crossing is a warmer and flatter swimming hole compared to Grasshopper Point and Slide Rock to the north. Crescent Moon Ranch was established in 1880 and serves as a day-use facility for the U.S. Forest Service.
There are several swimming holes to choose from, whether upstream or downstream, in the spectacular Oak Creek with shaded banks and crystal clear, cool water.
You can also swim or enjoy fishing in Oak Creek. Depending on when you visit, you will find the water levels at Oak Creek resembling a small stream, while the flow can be high after monsoons and snow melt.
There’s a parking lot and amenities such as picnic tables in shaded and open areas, toilets, drinking water, and a cement walkway.
The picnic area is open daily from 8 AM to 8 PM throughout the year.
March to May and October and November are the best months to hike the Red Rock Crossing.
The best time to hike Red Rock Crossing Sedona is around sunset or in the afternoon, as it is one of the favourite Sedona Sunset spots among hikers. For the gorgeous sunset spectacle of colours, hike during the fall.
If you spend the whole day there, grab a spot at the nearby Crescent Moon Picnic Site. As with nearly every Sedona swimming hole, it’s popular on summer weekends,
HOW TO REACH?
From the intersection of State Routes 89A and 179 in Sedona, head for about 6.3 miles. Here, turn to the right on Bell Rock Boulevard in the Villages of Oak Creek.
Keep driving on Bell Rock Boulevard for 1.1 miles. Here, turn right onto Verde Valley School Road. Drive 4.1 miles on this road until the end to arrive at the Trailhead, located on the left side of the road.
Although the last mile of the road is unpaved, it’s suitable for all vehicles.
After parking at the area near Verde Valley Road, go across the street to the right, where you will find the Baldwin trailhead, which is well-marked.
The area opens into a big grassy field, widening further, leading to a sandy stretch to Oak Creek.
If you have time, hike on the Templeton trail for about 0.2 miles to arrive at Buddha Beach, one of the best Arizona beaches and your last point before spending time at the Crescent moon picnic area.
This is the easiest way to hike the Red Rock Crossing Sedona without having to navigate on the water.
If you wish to skip the hike, you can cross Oak Creek at the end of Verde Valley Road. After crossing the creek, you’ll reach the Crescent Moon Day Use Site.
From here, if you go right, you will reach Buddha Beach. Watch out for slippery rocks in the creek. Wear good walking shoes.
WEST FORK OAK CREEK TRAIL
If you are looking for a beautiful creek near Sedona, head on the West Fork Trail, one of the most popular hikes in Sedona, an easy trail ideal for beginners and people with kids.
This trail, mainly on an easy, shaded path, leads you to the pretty Oak creek, Plus, you will cross its water every half mile or less, making it constantly refreshing and cool.
Depending on how far you want, you can continue along the river or camp for the day, enjoy a picnic, swim and float in the creek.
WEST CLEAR CREEK
Another trail in the Coconino National Forest leading to one of the secluded swimming holes in Arizona is the West Clear Creek trail, leading to the West Clear Reservoir, constructed across Clear Creek in the 1930s. Today it forms a quiet picnic spot loved by families.
Located in McHood Park in Winslow, it is one of the most beautiful swimming holes in Arizona, known for its excellent location and deep blue waters.
The West Clear Creek trail 17 provides only marked and maintained access to the lower reaches of West Clear Creek Wilderness.
There are plenty of amazing things to do in Clear Creek Reservoir with something for everyone, including kayaking, paddling, boating, jet skiing, rock climbing, cliff diving, and fishing, apart from swimming and cooling off in the creek.
You can also visit the Bull Pen Day Visit area, home to Bull Pen creek, to make it a full-day water adventure.
Find more information about this trail here.
BULL PEN DAY USE AREA
If you are visiting Camp Verde, add a stop at Bull Pen, one of the best swimming holes in Arizona worth, for a relaxing picnic day surrounded by pretty landscapes.
Since some parts of the pool are shallow, it is one of the perfect things to do in Camp Verde with kids. There are other points higher offering the best platforms for clive diving if you are daring from 25 feet high.
Bull Pen is about 10 feet at its deepest and is mainly composed of sand, pebbles, and larger rocks.
It takes a quick one-mile hike to get to the beautiful swimming hole. The first swimming hole at Bull Pen is at the Bull Pen Day Use Area, which will be your first stop.
Here you can take one of the many trailheads. The trail cuts across the old Bull Pen Ranch for under a mile before reaching the water.
You can continue on the trail a bit further to follow the creek, leading to some smaller pools. You can start from the bottom, which is shallow or jump here.
You can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and jumping from a rope swing if you are not up for cliff diving.
HOW TO GET THERE?
The trailhead lies about 15 miles east of Camp Verde. Located on West Clear Creek, getting to Bull Pen requires a drive down a 5-mile dirt road of these 15 miles, best tackled in a high-clearance vehicle. If you are arriving from Phoenix, it takes about two hours.
SEVEN SACRED POOLS
The Seven Sacred Pools Sedona is one of the popular stops for those hiking Soldiers Pass Trail or the nearby caves, and it is worth adding to your trip for many reasons.
The Seven Sacred Pools hike in Sedona is an easy hike appropriate for all skill levels. The trail is easy and flat, and it takes only 30 minutes if you plan to just visit the Seven Sacred Pools Sedona without exploring further on the trails.
Located between the Oak Creek Mountains and Sedona’s arid desert in the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness, these pools are essential both for human spirituality and for the needs of animals, who come to the pools to drink before venturing further into the dry surrounding landscape.
What makes the Seven Sacred Pools more special is its fantastic location amidst deep green juniper, agave and oak trees on one side and a series of towering red rock mountains and canyons.
It is one of the best family-friendly swimming holes near Sedona for a perfect day trip.
READ OUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO HIKING THE SEVEN SACRED POOLS HERE.
If you are planning a trip to Grasshopper Point, stop at Midgley bridge, one of the best swimming holes in Sedona; more expansive than many others and surrounded by stunning red rock formations making you feel like you are on a beach.
It draws a lot of locals and tourists during summer that arrives here for sunbathing, lounging, and picnics, apart from diving in the pool
Since Midgley Bridge has a small parking lot, arrive early or park along the west side of Route 89A, and you will need a Red Rock Pass to park anywhere in this area.
EINCINOSO PICNIC SITE, OAK CREEK
If you are looking for an offbeat getaway to beat the summer heat, plan a day trip to Encinoso Picnic site, home to one of the hidden Swimming holes in Arizona, in Oak Creek Canyon.
Located in the Coconino National Forest, Encinoso is an easily accessible picnic area surrounded by beautiful trails. You can enjoy a picnic, go on hikes, and fishing, sunbathe and lounge apart from swimming in the clear water pools of Oak Creek.
Encinoso is also one of the best spots for birdwatching.
To access Encinoso, take the two-mile trail at the Coconino National Forest day-use picnic site about two miles from Grasshopper Point. Although you must scramble a bit to reach the swimming hole, it’s nothing too challenging to tackle.
Located only 10 minutes from the city centre, this is one of the easiest-to-access Sedona swimming holes, surrounded by golf courses and luxurious homes in the neighbourhood.
Enjoy a swim, hike the surrounding trails, sunbathe and lounge in this area, which is also an excellent spot for wishing and watching birds.
You can spend overnight at one of the three Chavez Campsites if you book in advance, located in a beautiful grove of Arizona sycamores and cypress. On the campsite, there are picnic tables and restrooms.
BELL TRAIL, RIMROCK
The Bell Trail no 13 near RimRock is the primary trail to access Wet Beaver Creek Canyon and the Wet Beaver Wilderness, two more spots if you are looking for additional swimming holes in Sedona.
This is a 6.6-mile roundtrip trail to Bell Crossing, taking through the typical Arizona forested landscapes comprising junipers and oaks, including a few ascents and descents along the canyon walls. You will be rewarded with gorgeous views of open grasslands stretching past the Sedona Red Rocks Country and the San Francisco Peaks.
You can either do the entire length or find your cosy spot, as many places are leasing to smaller pools and creeks branching off along the way. There are plenty of opportunities to picnic under the shade of sycamores and cottonwoods draping the water.
MAP OF THE BEST SEDONA SWIMMING HOLES
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