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Water Wheel Falls Hike - 21 members in 51 triplogs have rated this an average 3.3 ( 1 to 5 best )
1, 2, 3  Next
51 triplogs
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Jul 03 2022
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 Routes 1
 Photos 485
 Triplogs 44

male
 Joined May 07 2019
 Tempe, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 03 2022
mikemcg
Hiking2.09 Miles 244 AEG
Hiking2.09 Miles   3 Hrs   27 Mns   1.10 mph
244 ft AEG   1 Hour   33 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
I've seen numerous pics of Water Wheel Falls, and thought that it consisted of just that one waterfall with the log. I didn't know that there are 5 legit waterfalls along the 0.8 mile span, plus at least 9 cascades. It wasn't particularly crowded when we started. We stopped and played in each of the falls along the way. At the final falls, we played on the waterslide and practiced our backflips. We checked out the top of the falls, but stopped at the private property signs. While we were up there, the bottom of the falls became pretty crowded. On the way back, we checked out all the cascades in East Verde River (no other people there) and did some rock hopping.
There is one 20-foot waterfall at the end of a long canyon. The water is deep there, so I was treading water in the middle of the creek, holding my phone above my head, trying to get a good picture, but the phone fell into the water and sank. I was devastated. I returned to shore, borrowed a swim mask from a family that was passing by, and dove down to try to find the phone, but the water was too murky to see it. I returned the mask, and dove down again, feeling around with my hands among the rocks and sticks at the bottom of the creek. Finally I found it! After shaking out the water, it still worked! And the pictures were ok. Crisis averted.
Picked up some trash along the way, but there wasn't very much. Nowhere near as much as there was at Cibecue.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ellison Creek Medium flow Medium flow
1 archive
Oct 19 2021
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 Routes 98
 Photos 6,090
 Triplogs 1,141

54 male
 Joined Apr 25 2011
 Goodyear, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 19 2021
Nightstalker
Hiking1.00 Miles 100 AEG
Hiking1.00 Miles      45 Mns   2.00 mph
100 ft AEG      15 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Went to see the water wheel today and play on the rocks in the stream.
_____________________
Jun 05 2020
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 Photos 5
 Triplogs 656

33 female
 Joined Oct 04 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 05 2020
WaitingForRain
Hiking1.70 Miles 100 AEG
Hiking1.70 Miles
100 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
Jun 04 2020
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 Photos 5
 Triplogs 656

33 female
 Joined Oct 04 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 04 2020
WaitingForRain
Hiking1.80 Miles 100 AEG
Hiking1.80 Miles   1 Hour      1.80 mph
100 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
Mar 15 2020
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 Photos 5
 Triplogs 656

33 female
 Joined Oct 04 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 15 2020
WaitingForRain
Hiking1.68 Miles 184 AEG
Hiking1.68 Miles   1 Hour      1.68 mph
184 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
It was impossible to make it to the end of the trail this weekend- after the rains the water was extremely high and crossing would have been dangerous. That being said, it was lovely to see the water flowing so readily. There are waterfalls everywhere and the state is so green right now.
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2 archives
Sep 06 2019
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 Routes 26
 Triplogs 275

36 male
 Joined Apr 14 2019
 Tempe
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 06 2019
richvosko
Hiking1.00 Miles 100 AEG
Hiking1.00 Miles
100 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Jul 13 2019
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 Guides 2
 Routes 22
 Photos 1,884
 Triplogs 566

38 male
 Joined Sep 13 2009
 Mesa, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 13 2019
jochal
Hiking1.00 Miles 100 AEG
Hiking1.00 Miles
100 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
Jul 12 2019
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 Guides 2
 Routes 22
 Photos 1,884
 Triplogs 566

38 male
 Joined Sep 13 2009
 Mesa, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 12 2019
jochal
Hiking1.40 Miles 100 AEG
Hiking1.40 Miles
100 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
Nov 23 2018
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 Guides 4
 Photos 2,750
 Triplogs 400

57 male
 Joined Nov 13 2005
 Cave Creek, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 23 2018
cabel
Hiking4.00 Miles 100 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles
100 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Great trip with my daughter on her last day of being 20.
_____________________
All who wander are not lost...just me.
Nov 23 2018
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 Guides 4
 Photos 2,750
 Triplogs 400

57 male
 Joined Nov 13 2005
 Cave Creek, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 23 2018
cabel
Hiking4.00 Miles 100 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles
100 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Great hike up the creek with my daughter.

dry Ellison Creek Dry Dry
With daughter
_____________________
All who wander are not lost...just me.
Jun 18 2017
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 Routes 2
 Triplogs 501

40 female
 Joined Jun 23 2015
 Phoenix, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 18 2017
emilystardust
Hiking2.50 Miles 100 AEG
Hiking2.50 Miles
100 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
_____________________
2 archives
Oct 09 2016
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 Guides 9
 Routes 818
 Photos 10,930
 Triplogs 1,918

66 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 09 2016
The_Eagle
Hiking0.87 Miles 91 AEG
Hiking0.87 Miles      37 Mns   1.49 mph
91 ft AEG      2 Mns Break12 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
Ladyeagle
Wanted to show Debby this area. We had some extra time in the morning to sample some of it.
It was nice to be there without the crowds that you get on a Summer weekend day.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ellison Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Yep, water....
_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry 🦅
Jun 11 2016
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 Guides 6
 Routes 174
 Photos 5,442
 Triplogs 1,640

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 11 2016
John9L
Hiking2.61 Miles 350 AEG
Hiking2.61 Miles
350 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
clairebear
After hitting the Horton Derrick loop we drove over to Waterwheel to find a relatively packed trailhead. We luckily found a parking spot and then hiked next to the creek. There were lots of people but we didn’t mind. We continued on and made our way to the main swimming area with the cut log. We wanted to swim but there were way too many people so we sat back and enjoyed a beverage. From there we hit the dirt road that leads to the upper trailhead. We had to walk back roughly a mile on the road and this was a pain I don’t recommend. Once back at the jeep we packed up and returned to Phx. I’d like to hit this area again during the week when it’s not crowded.
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May 29 2016
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 Routes 39
 Photos 353
 Triplogs 128

34 male
 Joined Sep 30 2015
 Carrboro, NC
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 29 2016
afrankie
Hiking2.79 Miles 578 AEG
Hiking2.79 Miles
578 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Woke up from camping and the hot sun had us ready to hit the swimming hole early, so we skippeed up Houston Mesa Rd on the way to Ellison Cascades. On the way I saw the sign for Water Wheel, which sounded familiar, and clearly alluded to the opportunity to quickly jump in, so we spontaneously hopped off the road and headed for the creek.

Keep in mind we didn't plan on heading here so I hadn't done backgroud on Water Wheel, but figured that if we just hiked along the creek we were sure to find it. Well, there are a few social trails, and a lack of map or trailhead at the parking lot, so we headed south along a well-defined trail. Why not? After ~.75 mile of a fun hike along the creek, but no sign of anything that resembled a water wheel (whatever that was supposed to be:)), we headed back, thinking it was a fun, but underwhelming detour. ](*,)

I bumped into a few hikers at the parking lot to learn what the hubub was about only to learn it was to the north (I hope the other wandering family on the southern trail :app: figured this out also...), and we went for it. Good thing we did. Maybe .1 miles from the parking lot sure enough we see a trailhead, which wasn't visible from the parking area or outhouse at all. poor placement... :app:

We scrambled up to the fork with Ellison and crossed from there, heading further to the famed swimming hole with log-ladder that always shows up in the pics...Ellison tails off and we lost it, so we headed back, anxious to spend some real time at a swimming hole rather than just wading in the water at stream crossings. Just below the water wheel (I think) we found a jumping rock with a ~8 well beneath it and went for it. Freeezing but awesome. We jumped a few times for a body shock and hung out on the rocks until we could feel our skin again.

I'll be returning to take this trail all the way to Ellison Cascades as originally planned and to get to the photo-famous swimming hole. But no regrets on the helluvah ro :)ck jumping nook that I found :y:
_____________________
Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.
Evan Hardin

Footloose adventures are documented instagram @afrankie8.
Jan 06 2016
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 Routes 54
 Photos 1,508
 Triplogs 325

36 male
 Joined Mar 18 2015
 Payson, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 06 2016
The_N
Hiking0.50 Miles 50 AEG
Hiking0.50 Miles
50 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Seemed like a good day to have the place to ourselves, and it was. Houston Mesa Rd was in good shape so we snuck in and observed the raging creek and snow fall. Didn't start coming down heavily until we were back in the vehicle and leaving.
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If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
Aug 09 2015
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 Guides 11
 Routes 2
 Photos 3,622
 Triplogs 316

45 male
 Joined Jun 09 2009
 Mesa, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 09 2015
cw50must
Hiking0.50 Miles 50 AEG
Hiking0.50 Miles
50 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Looking for some water and we found it. It was nice on a sunny day.
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1 archive
Jun 28 2015
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 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 90

40 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 28 2015
SunDevil3
Hiking0.50 Miles 50 AEG
Hiking0.50 Miles   1 Hour      2.00 mph
50 ft AEG      45 Mns Break30 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Came here today with my wife and two girls (4 and 1.5 years old) after what turned out to be a somewhat disappointing visit to Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery. We did not end up quite making it to the final waterfall as no one else understood that "half-mile hike" did not mean fall out of the car and into the swimming hole. I think my wife would have been okay even in her cheapo thong sandals but for the constant need to carry/hand-hold one of our kids.

We must have made it about 3/4 of the way to the terminus anyway and I was able to wade/swim across the creek at an area below a small falls and get my 4-year old to a "secret" beach on the other side. Whatever the case, we had fun and it is easily accessible and not even too terribly hot even in late June

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ellison Creek Medium flow Medium flow
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Jun 18 2015
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 Guides 1
 Routes 1
 Photos 665
 Triplogs 55

28 male
 Joined Jun 19 2015
 San Tan Valley A
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 18 2015
CoryTallman
Hiking3.00 Miles 50 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles   4 Hrs      0.75 mph
50 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
May 03 2015
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 Guides 7
 Routes 54
 Photos 13,163
 Triplogs 577

59 female
 Joined Aug 19 2011
 Scottsdale, AZ
Payson Chasin' and Birds, AZ 
Payson Chasin' and Birds, AZ
 
Birding avatar May 03 2015
outdoor_lover
Birding1.00 Miles 200 AEG
Birding1.00 Miles
200 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
desert_boonie
Encompassing all the Miscellaneous Stuff I'd been doing in May and June...

I've started Chasing a HAZer on his Bike...He's in Training and some of his Rides are pretty long, so I chase him with my Vehicle and a Cooler of Water... :D Some Photos from 2 Chases...1st, to Bartlett Lake and Back from Cave Creek...2nd, from Cave Creek to Bartlett Lake, back to Ranger Station, then back to Bartlett before back to Cave Creek... :sweat: He does all the Work, I just do the Scenic Drive and take my Camera... :lol:

A Few Bird Photos from my Yard thrown in here...Practice, Practice, Practice... :sweat: We have a Female Anna's Hummingbird that doesn't like the Birdbath. So she waits patiently every Morning for us to spray the Honeysuckle Leaves so she can Roll Around and Bathe in them...It's like her Paradise Found or something... :lol:

A quick Trip to Payson for a half Day...Was Meeting a Friend for some Rappel Practice...Before we met up, I went up to Water Wheel and Birded some... :D Was barely a Week after the Tropical Storm and the River was running very Brown...
_____________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
Apr 06 2015
avatar

 Routes 54
 Photos 1,508
 Triplogs 325

36 male
 Joined Mar 18 2015
 Payson, AZ
Ellison Creek CascadesPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 06 2015
The_N
Hiking1.75 Miles 323 AEG
Hiking1.75 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   0.70 mph
323 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Went for a morning hike/swim from the Water Wheel TH with accompanying 5yr old. We started in sweaters but it warmed up quickly (about 65 degrees) so we were able to jump into a few pools along the way. Had a quick snack at the falls after jumping off the log. Although we had the place all to ourselves, the weekend crowd left behind plenty of trash, so we filled our backpack with water bottles and beer cans on the way out.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Ellison Creek Heavy flow Heavy flow
_____________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
average hiking speed 1.44 mph
1, 2, 3  Next

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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