Water Wheel Payson Hike

Water Wheel | Payson Hike

First Crossing Hike

We started our hike at First Crossing is a 1/2 mile hike along the Verde River in Payson. You will walk down a wide dirt path that leads you to the Verde River, follow the river upstream. There is no defined path, but you can make your way through the tall grass, trees and rocks along the Verde.

First Crossing hike

Water Wheel Hike

A half mile from First Crossing and you will reach the Water Wheel area. From here you can continue hiking or rest at a picnic table. The Water Wheel hike begins to the left of the parking lot.Water Wheel is a very scenic 2 mile round-trip hike along the Verde River in Payson.

Water Wheel Payson hike

Hikers can follow the river upstream. There is no defined path. Follow the water. The dirt path will become rocky.

Water Wheel Hike

 After following the water you will cross the water and walk up the rocks. Keep following the water.

Hiking up the Rocks

At the end of the hike there is a swimming hole and waterfall. Last time we visited was on a Friday and there were only a few people at the swimming hole, so it was really peaceful.

Water Wheel Waterfall

At the top of the waterfall there is a fence marked private property. The view from up here is gorgeous. Payson is very scenic and this hike has some fantastic views.

Update: Tragically just three weeks after our last visit to this stunning area there was a severe flash flood that took the lives of many people. Please be careful when hiking during the monsoons.  The wall of water that flowed down was forty feet wide and there was no warning.


To reach Water Wheel path Take 87 to Houston Mesa Road and drive 7.5 miles past the Houston Mesa Campground. There is a parking lot on your right.

Nearby Attractions

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