WATER WHEEL FALLS, ARIZONA
The directions to Water Wheel Falls are similar to Ellison Creek Cascades (see my post about Ellison Creek Cascades).
The original plan was Fossil Springs. There was a rainstorm earlier in the week, and the runoff effects the clarity of the water. We decided to check out Ellison Creek Cascades and we were not disappointed. The rainstorms in and around Phoenix on Friday seemed to affect the amount of traffic on Saturday morning on the Beeline Highway. The few vehicles on the road was a relief, as it is usually congested on a Saturday morning with so many people escaping the heat.
Just north of Payson is the Houston Mesa Road. We drove east on the Houston Mesa Road for about 7.5 miles before arriving at the Water Wheel parking lot. The day-use fee is paid at the self-pay pole near the pit toilet. The fee is $9 per car. No camping and no staying in vehicle overnight.
We made the short hike of about 1/4 mile from the Water Wheel parking lot to the Water Wheel Falls. Water Wheel Falls is on the East Verde River. Today, the East Verde River was about 57F degrees. The flow was low and there was only one stream instead of two streams flowing over the cave (see photo below). Everyone took a quick shower in the cold water.
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