Many people who have never been to Arizona think it is nothing but a big desert full of cactus, however that is far from true! We have many beautiful areas filled with woods, beach like areas near our lakes/rivers and more. Summer can get pretty hot so we spend a lot of time in the water during that time, so over the weekend we decided to take a trip up near Sedona,Arizona to play in Oak Creek. The spot we stopped at was quite lovely so I wanted to share it with those of you who may end up in the area and want a place to explore.
The spot we went is called the Crescent Moon Ranch day use area and it is located at 333 Red Rock Crossing Rd Sedona,AZ 86336. This site boasts gorgeous views of Sedona's red rock formations, it's beautiful trees and it offers a little escape from the blazing heat. This day use area is part of an old historic ranch property so when you visit this park it is tucked away in a small community, so please drive carefully when driving through their neighborhood. It is $11 to get in for a car of up to five people, additional guests are $2 each.
The turn off that takes you into the area that holds Crescent Moon is directly off of the 89A highway, as you are turning onto the road that will take you to your destination you'll get the chance to see the neat sculpture shown above along with some gorgeous views of the scenery. I highly recommenced getting to this location early, this spot along many others in the area have parking lots that are on a first come first serve basis, if the parking lot gets full they have you wait in line until someone leaves which could be an hour or it could be three. We arrived just as the lost spot was being filled, however my step-dad is disabled so they had a handicap spot available that we were able to park in near the bathrooms which was convenient. Bathroom wise, they aren't bad for being a park in the great out doors, they were better maintained than many city park bathrooms I've seen. I do want to note though that there is no sink in the bathroom, outside there is a small water tap you can use to wash your hands or pack some hand wipes/sanitize before you come. Since the property is part of a historic Ranch there are still buildings and more that you can photograph and check out, not far from this area is the actual Crescent Moon Ranch where you can book the cabin to stay in (the cabin is $200 a night). All of the park rangers we encountered were friendly and helpful, you can spot at least two rangers through out the day keeping and eye on the park and helping keep it clean.
Most of the river front spots that are closer to the parking area fill up quickly which is another good reason to get there early, otherwise you'll need to hike back a bit further. There is a decent path through the woods that goes along one of the forks in the creek, though a decent section of it was pretty muddy so sadly my step-dad wasn't able to make it back that far so he hung out near the parking area exploring. The area is kept quite clean, we only noticed a few pieces of trash otherwise everyone has done a wonderful job taking out what they've brought it. The creek had a nice crisp cool to it that was very pleasant on our feet/legs as we played in the water, we had a lot of fun looking at bugs, looking for neat rocks and enjoying some fun in the water under the protection of the shady trees. On one of the forks of the creek there is a large flat area that is covered with a thin layer of algae, it is quite slippery in that area so you'll need to be careful if you decide to venture into that section as many have been spotted slipping in that patch of the river. Other than that area we didn't notice any overly slippery areas, I actually was bare foot in the river for the majority of the time we were exploring and I walked back to the car bare foot as well, the sandy areas felt nice on my feet.
I wish I had taken more photos of the different areas of the creek however my husband took some of our extra bags back to the car so we wouldn't have so much to lug around while we explored so I didn't have my phone or camera on me. If you are looking for more than swimming or getting in the water, there are also hiking trails, and picnic areas to visit. I didn't see or notice a ton of birds or small critters, we did however see some small fish, frogs, crawdads, tons of lizards, a snake (garden snake) and some bugs. Keep in mind you are out in nature, so keep an eye on where you are exploring so you don't run into any of the bad snakes. We stayed at this spot for about three hours before we decided to head out and visit another spot before heading home, on our way out there was a huge line of cars waiting for a parking spot. If you get hungry and didn't bring anything with you, this area is located between Sedona and Cottonwood so you aren't far from plenty of places to eat and shop.