Water Wheel Falls
Trails: Water Wheel Falls
Distance: 2 miles
Difficulty: Easy (a little scrambling over rocks)
Trailhead: Water Wheel Day Parking
The morning started with me driving right by the entrance to the Water Wheel parking lot. I thought I could scoot in through the driveway at the other end of the lot but there was a Do Not Enter sign. Wellllll then I guess I’ll just keep driving and see what else is on this road before I turn around.
This is how we came to be at Second Crossing – a little parking lot, a bathroom, and a campsite right next to the East Verde River. The park bulletin board reminded me that we’re in bear country (black bears) and that there may be mountain lions lounging around. Uhhhh… Yeah, totally forgot those existed out here. Super. Luckily we create a medium amount of ruckus without even trying, so we should be giving enough of a warning to the wilderness that we’re out and about and won’t be startling anyone from their morning nap. But I’m always on the lookout nonetheless.
We meandered along the river until we came to an overlook at a bend in the river. I could hear what sounded like some rapids or a waterfall, so we explored as much as we could. After going up and over and around we found the rapids and saw a giant boulder wedged between the cliff sides that flanked the river. Rad! This is exactly why I love roaming!
Circling back to Water Wheel Falls (via AllTrails), I made in the correct driveway. The trail was pretty well worn where is ventures into the trees and along the river – I imagine there are quite a few people out here in the heat of the summer. We had to climb up and over a few large rocks and rock piles but basically a pretty easy hike. The hounds are getting much better at listening to me to slow down and wait for their turn to hop from rock to rock.
After a short bit the trail opens up to a large canyon type area – large rock surfaces, minimal plants beyond the cliff sides, and the river/waterfalls winding along. We had the place to ourselves. We peered down from overlooks, wandered to the water’s edge, hopped across boulders, and just generally soaked up the sunshine. By the time any other hikers came along we were ready head back.
I wanted to check out one other area for potential hiking opportunities before we officially started back home. The trail was open to hikers, horses, and dirt bikes/ATVs, and just after we stepped onto the trail several dirt bikes flew by. They were very respectful of our space but I decided that running into more of them was more than I wanted to deal with at the moment. So I let the hounds dawdle in the little creek for a bit, which Herc loved, before returning to the car. Just as I turned to start back I dropped my phone in the creek!! YIKES!! AHHH!! I snatched it out of the water and tried to shake it off, hoping with all hope available for its survival. How did I manage to drop it?! Why was I even fumbling with it over the water?! I’m always so cautious around water!! Ugh, definitely a sign to just go home. Somehow, beyond any of my understanding, it hasn’t shown a single sign of damage! Whew (knock on wood!)! But I am taking that incident as a sign to figure out some better options for carrying my phone, what I use for navigation, and what I use for taking pictures. Time to research!