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This Trail in Arizona Leads You to the Famous Carved Out Log That Resembles a Staircase and Some Falls

Suny Errot



There is no doubt that Arizona packs a lot of surprises and adventures for all intrepid hikers. But the best thing about the place is that it also gives you fun hiking destinations that don’t require you to exert much physical effort. If you are actively looking for hidden gems in the state, you’ve probably come across photos of individuals sitting on a carved out log that resembles a staircase. Are you curious about this spot? Keep reading to learn more about Water Wheel Falls.

Water Wheel Falls Is a Certified Family-Friendly Trail

Water Wheel Falls az

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With the heavily-trafficked out and back trail’s distance of only 2.4 kilometers, you won’t have a hard time along the way! Water Wheel Falls is located near Payson, Arizona, and it is frequented by hikers, as well as individuals who love to go on nature trips. You can expect some rock to climbs at the end, and during some instances, different creek crossing. Simply put, it is fairly easy, but can be difficult at times. You have to watch out for the flat parts and areas where you actually have to use your hands.

az hiking nature trip

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The several cascades and waterfalls provide a pretty picture you should definitely capture on camera. There are also plenty of swimming holes the kids would love to swim in! Just be sure to check the waterfalls or the swimming areas because the current may get strong at times. Lastly, the water is extremely cold and might need some getting used to.

dog friendly hike in arizona

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Since this trail is also dog-friendly, expect to see lots of hikers who prefer to share the great time outdoors with their furry friends. After all, they love getting close to nature too. If you are planning to visit and hike, try to go from March until September because these are the best months. Sundays or summertime are also very busy because a lot of families love spending their time here.

What You Should Expect From the Hike

Water Wheel Payson  az

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This trail is named after the ancient wheel that sits a short distance from the trailhead. Just proceed to the first leg of the hike and you’ll see the path. It is well-worn so you’d immediately know that a lot of hikers use it on a day-to-day basis. After some time, you will see a granite hill rising above the water.

Water Wheel Falls az

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Some hikers say this is the difficult part of the hike because it has a slight ascent. You will already see some waterfalls in this area. Remember to stop and appreciate it.

Continue the hike and you’ll see the spot where East Verde River meets Ellison Creek. This is a popular resting spot because hikers can just dip their toes in the water. If you don’t like to get wet here, then you can just admire the picturesque scene in front of you and relax. Once you’re done, cross the East Verde River on the ample boulders and fallen logs to reach Ellison Falls. The trail will be less-defined, but don’t worry, just follow the huge granite swaths that serve as your natural guide. Then, follow the creek banks for one mile. There’s a good chance you’d be hiking together with fellow adventurers. Don’t get scared.

arizona hidden gem

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Your hike ends when you reach Ellison Falls. This is the best place to cool down and enjoy some water time with your family or friends. There is a long cascade that rushes down a huge stone embankment.

log Water Wheel Falls arizona

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Plus, the awesome log is just too pretty!

Have you hiked this trail before? Share your experience with us in the comments below.

Before you go, check out  Charming Towns in Arizona Are Hidden Gems That Are Perfect for a Day Trip.