We visited Slide Rock yesterday during a trip to Sedona. Yes, they do charge $20 per vehicle to enter, but that works out to be just $5 per person for a family of four. To me, that was reasonable but make sure you are prepared and know what to expect.
We arrived a little after four pm, it was not too crowded at the time, we passed a ton of people leaving as we were entering. There is a bit of a walk from the parking lot. Along the way you will pass restrooms and a gift store/snack bar. You must descend a lot of stairs to reach the canyon area, then to access the "slide" area you must walk a long stretch of rock that is slippery with lots of rocks that you must maneuver along the way.
We found that swim shoes with good traction were a big help. If you try to walk when in the water, expect to fall! If possible, it is best to scoot on your butt as the rocks are very slippery and you see people fall when trying to walk, it just can't be avoided. The water may be shallow in one spot, then deep just a few feet later. If you have children that are not strong swimmers, you should bring a life jacket. We did not have one with us for our five year old (he is a pretty good swimmer) but we wished that we had brought one. He would sit on my husband's lap when going down the "slide" but it is so slippery and in some spots even a little fast moving, I was constantly worried about him slipping away from my husband's grip. A life jacket would have allowed us to relax a little and let him enjoy himself more. Oh, and the water is FREEZING!!! My son was having so much fun but I had to make him get out because his hands were blue and he was shivering so hard!!!
Don't bring anything valuable unless someone is planning on sitting with your stuff the whole time. We had a lot of fun but this is definitely not for those with mobility issues or young children. If you can deal with freezing water and don't mind the crowds this is a really fun way to spend an afternoon. My recommendation would be to visit on the most hot sunny afternoon because the water is so cold!
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