Water Wheel Falls

EASY 202 reviews
#4 of 98 trails in

Water Wheel Falls is a 1.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Payson, Arizona that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
1.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
160 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

over grown

rocky

washed out

off trail

Short hike with wonderful views and the option to continue up to the Ellison Creek Cascades. If you're in the area it's worth the trip. There is no official trail. It's more a trail of use that skirts away from Water Wheel campgrounds.

hiking
7 days ago

Pretty easy with smooth rocks all the way. Brought a 5 & 6 year old and they had fun. Falls were pretty and we passed several families. Brought older kids and almost had a heart attack as they were more daring and crossed the falls and scaled some scary rocks. To go past the falls plan on getting feet wet. Actually up to your knees. Past the falls we heard a javaliena snorting, so we turned around and decided to return home. Remember when parking to pay the parking fee... saw them enforcing it while we were there. Never found the water wheel but other hikers said it isn’t there anymore.

7 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

Great hike! After the 2017 flash flood, we couldn't find a clear crossing to continue south on the "official" trail. Instead, we climbed up the granite boulders to the left/west and ended up on some great pools and cascades (East Verde River). Could have hung out there all day sunning on the rocks; water was a bit too cold to swim. Very few people during the midweek (October). Totally worth the trip.

15 days ago

Lots of views and waterfalls, drove 2 hours for this and totally worth it, wasn't able to find any wheels but felt like a winner anyways!

hiking
26 days ago

I just hiked here on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. The trail is back open after the flood, though a bit worse for the wear. There are several logjams in the trail, so be prepared for a little extra effort. Still a very easy hike. My two kids were able to make it to the top with no problems (ages 5 and 4).

Make sure to bring shoes that you can get wet--you need to cross the river to complete this hike. It's well worth it though for the awesome swimming hole at the end of the trail! This is definitely one of my favorite Arizona hikes.

Also, in the summer months, pack TONS of water. This hike can get hot. I usually plan on about 64 oz per person to be safe.

Finally, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pack out your trash. It breaks my heart to see beer cans, etc. marring the beautiful scenery.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Trail is back open, closure was only til 8/31 (as the postings and notices said) due to deaths caused by flash flooding. If you check the website it shows you all current alerts. Despite the flood damage the trails is still beautiful and a blast, even with small children (2&4). So many places to stop and play in the water or the woods. Still our favorite trail!

hiking
1 month ago

Closure signs posted all along the road and in all parking areas with information about a tragic flash flooding event. There are ongoing incident investigations to ensure the safety of visitors to the area.

1 month ago

Drove out today 1hr 20min got there it was closed to the public no information when it will reopen.

hiking
1 month ago

Too bad this is closed. Took my son on his first hike back when he was about 4 years old.

2 months ago

Currently closed until further notice, be sure to check Tonto national forest website.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail, very easy but you will get your feet wet so plan ahead. Water falls everywhere! Nice swimming hole at the end but the water is ice cold. Kind of heavily trafficked on weekends and unfortunately considerable amount of litter. Bring a spare plastic bag and help Mother Nature out if you can.

3 months ago

Great hike but trail is unmarked and hard to follow. Beautiful scenery. Lots of people. Limited shade. Be careful of flash floods with rain.

hiking
3 months ago

A perfect hike for the whole family!

hiking
3 months ago

The trail map reads 1.5 miles but in reality it is only about 1 mile in distance (one way). There is fencing and "no trespassing" warnings at the end of the approx 1 mile trek. It was a bit disappointing and wish this was included on the trail description or that it included this update.

Other than that, it does have beautiful scenery, lots of people swimming, and very easy.

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful, easy hike to a lovely swimming hole with a waterfall.

Pro tip: go on off days and near a couple of hours before sunset so that you can have the pool all to yourself.