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Water Wheel Falls

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Day trip

Payson is about 1.5 hrs from where we live, so this was a great option for a nice change of... read more

Reviewed November 11, 2018
Phoenix, Arizona
via mobile
Beatiful Trail

This is an easy hike with amazing views. You are surrounded by water the enter hike. It is very... read more

Reviewed August 27, 2018
Fountain Hills, Arizona
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  • Excellent74%
  • Very good12%
  • Average12%
  • Poor2%
  • Terrible0%
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Suggested duration: 2-3 hours
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Tonto National Forest, Payson, AZ 85541
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Reviews (41)
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All reviews easy hike beautiful waterfall monsoon season great place to hike short hike day trip stream shoes crossing rocks logs creek trail trek forest birds hiking
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1 - 10 of 41 reviews
Reviewed November 11, 2018 via mobile

Payson is about 1.5 hrs from where we live, so this was a great option for a nice change of scenery. There was no park fee and because of the time of year, we did not have any trouble parking. Although, I wish there was...More

Date of experience: November 2018
Thank nickimats
Reviewed August 27, 2018

This is an easy hike with amazing views. You are surrounded by water the enter hike. It is very peaceful and if you hike all the way to the end you will see a beautiful waterfall. You can swim in the water and there are...More

Date of experience: August 2018
3  Thank AZGina
Reviewed August 16, 2018 via mobile

My brother and I heard about this place so we decided to hike it when we were in the area. It's a fun little hike. It's not really marked out to good but if you follow the water you will come to the waterfall. Really...More

Date of experience: August 2018
2  Thank Budda11
Reviewed July 24, 2018

This is just a great, short hike to a beautiful spot. Plenty of parking and there are some picnic tables and BBQ's if you want to take some time here. It's a very easy hike and dogs are allowed. Nice memorial to the terrible tragedy...More

Date of experience: April 2018
3  Thank shendrix
Reviewed June 4, 2018

This is excellent walking along the river, climbing the rocks and meandering the winding trail. We sat at the water wheel for some period speaking of bygone days when water was used to power the wheels for milling grains, pumping air into bellows that were...More

Date of experience: June 2018
5  Thank John88Star
Reviewed May 25, 2018

There are four trail heads basically along this creek. This trail got tricky for my little dogs so we stopped and spent along time in a sort of enclosed area with a cool pool to splash in. Just lovely. I didn't go as far along...More

Date of experience: May 2018
3  Thank Hobnob_Hobo
Reviewed January 31, 2018 via mobile

Before coming to AZ, I tried to do my research, however there was not much information online. My recommendation is to start at “The Wheel” which is between the first and second “Crossing”. I started at the first crossing and took a long and uneventful...More

Date of experience: February 2018
3  Thank spicy-octopus
Reviewed January 13, 2018 via mobile

Not from the area and wasn’t aware of the flood and deaths here. There are memorials so of course you think of it. It didn’t look like a path was cleared anymore? We didn’t hang too long and took the gorgeous drive thru the Tonto...More

Date of experience: January 2018
7  Thank Melissa R
Reviewed November 20, 2017

We parked at the 2nd crossing. Took a 4-mile hike. The weather was nice. The streams were full of roaring water, and the reflection of fall colors in the river was impressive. We didn't go all the way as there was a black bear foraging...More

Date of experience: November 2017
2  Thank Shawn C
Reviewed November 15, 2017

Spacious area with fantastic views of many water ways coming to a junction. Climbing is the best adjective to describe navigating over the rocks, boulders and crevices. And caution is advised when doing so in icy/wet conditions. Extra caution is advised when visiting the area...More

Date of experience: November 2017
1  Thank Maggi T
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Questions & Answers
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November 18, 2018|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from nickimats | Reviewed this property |
Hi there, January will be a beautiful time to visit! Depending on the weather, Payson can get a little cold and icy. However, as long as the sun is out, you should be fine!
Virginia K
September 16, 2018|
Response from Yerma J |
In one of the reviews, the person said there was a $9.00 charge
Travel Forum Posts
Cameron M
Martinez, California, United States
Are Staircase, Wagon Wheel and Ellison Creek Falls the same? (1 Reply)
There are 3 separate TripAdvisor attractions in the Payson area that seem to share similar descriptions and photos. Staircase and Water Wheel Falls surely are the same. There is a listing on the HikeArizon website describing an "Ellison Creek Cascades" that is clearly on Ellison Creek, and it shows pictures similar to Water Wheel. Some reviewers also seem to think that some of these listings are repeats.
June 04, 2016|
Response fromMarianReader|
You could try calling or emailing the Forest Service and asking. Reply if you want me to figure out which forest it is in (different above and below the rim) and/or find the contact information for you. Also go to the Tonto National Forest and Apache/Sitgraves National Forest websites and search the names.