Water Wheel Falls

MODERATE 266 reviews
#63 of 120 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 rated as moderate. 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
150 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

NOTE: This trail is in a major flash flood area. Please check the weather forecast before planning your trip and be mindful of changing weather patterns. 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.

4 minutes ago

is alreary open ??or is still close..because i want to go next weekend

hiking
3 days ago

My family loved it! It was my 4 year old daughters first time really having to climb so I'm glad we went.

hiking
23 days ago

No trail to follow. Stay along the creek until you get to the large boulders. Once your at the area where there are several flat water falls, turn right and follow creek until you get to the area where the large water fall is with the tree branch sticking out.

1 month ago

Beautiful area. There are veins of deep green rock mixed in with the granite in layers. It is a short hike but beautiful. 7/15 is the one year anniversary of the flash flood that took ten lives in one family. There is a family memorial at the edge of the parking lot listing the names and ages of the ten that were lost in the flood. My wife and I walked to the end of the trail to see the water wheel. It is actually by the parking lot. Did some research on the wheel. The web say the wheel was used in the early 1900s by a gold miner named James Greer who used it to power an ore crusher. Nice to see a little history.

hiking
1 month ago

Good short trail, open as of 7/14/18, but the water is very brown and muddy from rain. Not much flowing water yet.

1 month ago

Closed today

2 months ago

Do you pay when you get there or do have to purchase a permit online? And 9 dollars per person or vehicle?

2 months ago

Great hike! Most of the trail is easy and easy to find, just follow the stream up. Took my dog and he did great as well! Several options for rock scrambling for more seasoned hiking and stunning views. Hopped in the water..... COLD as expected for May 1st! Will definitely make a return trip! P.S. Day fee of $9.00, bring cash, the PAY box is NOT well marked.

2 months ago

Forest area closed at Houston Mesa Rd.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is not within the closure area according to www.FS.USDA.gov. Has anyone been there since the closures went in to effect on the 23rd. Thanks

hiking
2 months ago

Trail is closed until further notice (most likely until it rains).

hiking
2 months ago

Definitely not easy, as rated. It’s short but you are climbing up and down large rocks. Small waterfall at the end, refreshing water if you bring a swim suit. And yes parking cost $9, so bring exact cash.

2 months ago

Loved this trail

hiking
3 months ago

This is a photo perfect spot for jumping off the cliffs into the creek, however there isn’t a whole lot of creek to jump in, so it does get congested easily. It is a short trail, easy traverse over boulders, like walking up stairs. There is a cave with a waterfall on this trail, where some boulders have fallen. BIG CAUTIONARY NOTE: I have personal friends who have been swept away and killed in flash floods in this area, please try to avoid during monsoon season, you can be easily become trapped under rocks and drowned. This is also an area with a lot of trash

hiking
3 months ago

do you have to pay for parking?

hiking
3 months ago

This was a pretty hike and was more challenging than expected due to our having to climb on and around large rocks.
Since this hike is in a frequent flash flood zone, people have changed the direction they go based on the water level. As a result, there appeared to be multiple trials that make it difficult at times to follow. The waterfalls at the end was very attractive. Beware of the slippery granite rocks around the falls. Even if not wet, they are very smooth. Allow a little longer to do this hike due to the climbing. It took us about 2.5 hours for this three mile hike, even with frequent stops for photography.

3 months ago

Not easy as rated. There is no defined trail and it is unorganized. We couldn’t believe we had to climb over boulders and such to get across. We didn’t know if we were on the right track. It gets hot so I would go early if you go during the summer.

hiking
3 months ago

I look my wife, 4 kids and small dog for this fun little hike. Everyone gave it a 5 star review! The water was warm enough to play in (even in Mid April) and the trail was was well established. Water crossings are a must if you really want to enjoy the trail and stay cool so I wouldn't bring your boots if I were you. The trail was a little more technical than I thought my 4 year old son could handle, but nobody fell or got scared so I guess it wasn't too bad after all.

hiking
4 months ago

My dog loved this place! It was beautiful and very well maintained ❤️ I didn’t prepare well so next time I’ll do the whole thing but my dog basically just wanted to swim so I let him play

4 months ago

Don’t forget your cash because it’s no longer $6. It’s now $9/car and we didn’t bring enough cash so we were turned away; opted for the Peach Orchard. Hopefully we’ll get back there soon!

4 months ago

Very popular = over crowded on weekends. Lots of family fun!

beautiful hike

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful Scenery!

4 months ago

Great trail for the whole family ! My 3 year old LOVED it! Get wet and go out and explore !

6 months ago

Love this area and hike. You can really go so many different ways up here and find a lot of different places to explore and shot photos or just swim and relax. Little pools everywhere. Amazing rock canyons, little waterfalls all over and the big one of course with the little cave and multiple falls. Be careful the rocks are slippery and it is very dangerous around the falls. My dogs loved this area we went back at night to shoot night pics and had fun then too. I know there's been some bad Hingis with flash floods here so I made sure and you should make sure to check the radars around as you're about to head there. Be extra safe it can't hurt!

6 months ago

great hike

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike, no bears were seen (although some poo, footmarks and scattered bones were there) and no rattlesnakes.
Just so you know, there is no actual water wheel at the end of the trail, only an intimidating “no trespass” sign.

hiking
7 months ago

Loved every moment! Walking through the water, swimming hole at the top with a waterfall! Fun for whole family, including the fur babies! One of our favorite hikes!

7 months ago

Just in case anyone is wondering, it's closed to the public right now. 8/5/17

7 months ago

Great family hike!

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