Friday, December 1, 2017

Learn About Oak Creek Canyon

If you are wanting to hike, swim, or fish; visit Oak Creek Canyon! People going to Arizona can be overwhelmed by all of the activities and tourist attractions readily available to them within the state. A common question asked is, what other destinations should I check out besides The Grand Canyon? Among the most popular choices for adventurers is the stunning Oak Creek Canyon. Oak Creek Canyon is commonly referred to by the locals as the small cousin of the Grand Canyon. While it does not match up in size, it does feature incredibly unique scenic charm. This is a fabulous place to visit heading to or from the Grand Canyon.

Beauty of Oak Creek Canyon

This geographical creation is a steep canyon with a fabulous river gorge. It is located in Northern Arizona between Sedona and Flagstaff. The Canyon is often dismissed as just one more hiking location in Arizona but nothing could be further from the truth! If your trip will not permit a full day at Oak Creek Canyon, don't worry. Tourplicity's Grand Canyon Day Tour drives through this work of art on the way to the Grand Canyon!

Oak Creek Canyon Facts

Oak Creek Canyon is close to 13 miles long. It has a width that ranges from 0.8 miles to 2.5 miles wide. The canyon hits depths ranging from just 800 feet to a spectacular 2,000 feet. Due to faulting during the canyon's formation, Oak Creek Canyon's West Rim is about 700 feet higher than its East Rim. The canyon's elevation to the western side is around 7,200 feet whereas the east side's elevation is close to 6,500 feet. This diverse area contains water features, red rock formations, and pine trees.

Geological evidence reveals that the formation of Oak Creek Canyon occurred about 10 million years ago. The original canyon was later filled by a number of lava flows and gravel deposits during the Miocene Epoch. Around this time frame, the Oak Creek Fault which was once inactive became active. At this point, the existing day canyon started to form along the fault line because of the erosional action of Oak Creek. Oak Creek carves through the canyon and it is a tributary to the Verde River.

Oak Creek at Oak Creek Canyon

The eroded walls of the Oak Creek Canyon are mainly formed of Paleozoic sedimentary rocks. These sedimentary rocks are formed by the build-up of sediments over time. The exposures of Kaibab Limestone and Toroweap formations are only on the canyon's northern end. The most commonly exposed rock on the southern edge of the canyon are the white and red colored sandstones of the Schnebly Hill Formation. The east rim of the canyon includes some of the youngest rocks. This area's rocks developed from basalt lava flows that are estimated to be 6 million years old.

Recreational Activities

The Oak Creek Canyon is found within the unique Coconino National Forest. Some areas of the canyon are assigned as federal wilderness areas to conserve their natural condition for future generations. There are numerous recreation areas, picnic areas, and campgrounds managed by the United States Forest Service within the canyon. This makes the Oak Creek Canyon an awesome place to visit for people of all ages.

swimming at Oak Creek Canyon

One of the main attractions is the natural water slide, Slide Rock. Located in Slide Rock State Park, the slide ranges from 2.5 feet to 4 feet wide and is 80 feet long! If you count on visiting Slide Rock make sure you visit when the water is warm. It can reach near freezing temperatures in the cooler months. Also, be cautious in the water when crossing on foot because the sandstone is very slippery. The canyon also presents more than 49 miles of fishable waters along the creek. Fishing fanatics can hope to catch catfish, brown trout, rainbow trout as well as smallmouth bass in this area. Aside from swimming and fishing, backpacking the trails leading into the canyon or up to the canyon's rim is a must do activity.

Slide Rock at Oak Creek Canyon

If you intend to check out the canyon on your own, you can access it relatively easily. You will just need to drive south from Flagstaff on US Route 89A. After about 14 miles, you will arrive at the canyon's edge. At this point the canyon plunges close to a thousand feet through a string of switchbacks to the bottom. On the bottom of the canyon, you can investigate an extra thirteen miles alongside the flowing, crystal clear Oak Creek.

If you do not have the time to visit Oak Creek Canyon, take advantage of our Grand Canyon Day Tour. The tour departs from Scottsdale, Tempe, or Phoenix and will drive through Oak Creek Canyon on the way to the Grand Canyon! Call us and speak with a tour specialist to make your reservation today!

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