Known as the smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon is located right outside of Sedona. Take a hike or drive through the gorgeous red rocks. Oak Creek flows just East of Sedona. Over centuries, the little oak creek has eroded the red rock of Sedona into a huge canyon full of unique rock formations. Plan your day using the Oak Creek Canyon Recreation Guide or try our suggested day trip.

Creek Photograph by Don Graham; Slide Rock Photography by Bill Morrow; West Fork Photograph Public Domain


Getting to Oak Creek Canyon
Pack a lunch and head down the road to Flagstaff. From Flagstaff, drive south on AZ 89A for 14 miles until you reach Oak Creek Canyon Vista.
Oak Creek Canyon Vista
Stop here to get a bird’s eye view of the canyon. There are usually local Native American artists selling jewelry and crafts on the pathways. This is also a great place to take a quick bathroom break before heading into the canyon.
Drive the Canyon
The drive into the canyon is one of the best parts, in my opinion. Drive down a winding road of switchbacks until you reach the bottom. The road will straighten out and lead you straight through this beautiful area.
Picnic and Hike
There are multiple day use areas within the canyon for picnics: Bootlegger Picnic Area, Banjo Bill Picnic Area, Halfway Picnic Area, and Encinoso Picnic Area. Each area boasts its own unique character, access to Oak Creek, picnic tables, and vault toilets. In addition, most of these picnic areas are also the trailhead for a hike or two. The most popular picnic area is Call O’the Canyon recreation area, about four miles into the canyon. This area often fills up by 9:30 AM and requires an additional fee to park.
Oak Creek Swimming Holes
Depending on the time of year you are visiting, it may be warm enough to add a swim to your itinerary. We suggest bringing water shoes for swimming holes in Oak Creek Canyon as the shores and waterbeds are rocky. Slide Rock State Park is the most popular swimming area and tends to fill up quickly. There is an additional fee to visit the park as well. Grasshopper Point and Escinoso swimming hole are good alternatives to slide rock. While they don’t feature a natural rock slide, they do offer a less crowded opportunity to swim in the creek.
After picnicking and swimming, continue on AZ 89A. The road till take you directly to Sedona. If you have the time, check out some of the local art and grab a fun vortex souvenir.
Bell Rock Pathway
From Sedona, continue east onto the AZ 179 through the city of Oak Creek, past iconic bell rock. Stop there and take the quick 3.5-mile roundtrip, easy hike on Bell Rock Pathway. The AZ 179 will take you straight back to the I-17 to get back to the Firelight.


Click here for the Google Map Directions for the entire day trip from the Firelight.


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