With temperatures surpassing triple digits around the Verde Valley, walking outside at times feels like nothing short of walking into an oven.
There is no better way to give a break to air conditioners, not to mention to wallets by saving a bit on the energy bill, than by going to one of the most popular swimming holes at Oak Creek Canyon: Midgley Bridge.
Being that it is one of the most popular natural getaways around, in order to get a place in the parking area, and down by the water, swimmers should arrive early. Another benefit of an earlier arrival: Cooler temperatures for most of the visit, allowing more time to enjoy it before both the amount of heat and other visitors increases.
“I’ve been to other parts of Sedona as far as swimming holes,” said Dana Jessop, a Flagstaff resident and second-time visitor said. “This is definitely the nicest I’ve been to.”
The water is clear and cool, and there are rocks in the water where swimmers can sit comfortably without being pushed downstream by the somewhat strong current.
“The water is beautiful, the natural landscape is beautiful,” said Craig Macintosh, a Scottsdale native. “It’s definitely worth it. It’s a good, relaxing spot ... The water is nice and chill to get some sun.”
The downhill hike from the parking lot takes 15 to 20 minutes, which Jessop only described as “something.”
What it Offers
For those looking to catch some rays, there is more than plenty of open, flat space on which to hang out, set up music and leave watercoolers.
Similar to Slide Rock, there is a natural water slide that stretches about 60 feet of the creek. Not far past the end of the slide is a deep cove, preceded by a couple more rocks on which to sit.
There is even more open space with running water further down from that, offering a seemingly limitless area for everyone to cool off in.
The one main downfall is the lack of shade.
Park at the small, paid lot on the north side of Midgley Bridge. Spaces fill up quickly there, but there are some spots available along State Route 89A. A Red Rock pass is required.
The trailhead begins underneath the bridge, and is fairly easy to follow. There are a couple of shortcut options that require visitors to go down some more steep terrain.
The first is found at the third opening on the right-hand side, but hikers will find the regular right-hand turn a short way ahead. The second goes down a steep, rocky embankment, otherwise hikers would continue down the trail before reaching a switchback turn.
At the bottom of the trail is Oak Creek. It is easy to remember what to do from there; always stay to the right of it, never cross it. Hikers who wish to complete the entire Huckaby Trail do cross it.
Continuing along the side of the creek, visitors should be aware of the poison ivy, mostly found near the water’s edge.
There is a point where it is on both sides of a narrow passing, and immediately after there is a small wooden foot bridge.
After crossing that bridge, Midgley Bridge is visible above and to the right. Not much farther away is a large metal pipe on the right, and continuing past that is the swimming spot, where surely people and music can already be heard.
Although one of the more busy spots in the area, its scenery, cool water and open area make it worthwhile, especially for groups.