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Thursday, September 10, 2009


EAST VERDE-ELLISON CREEK LOOP Tonto National Forest, North of Payson  Located in the rugged gorges below the Mogollon Rim, these two waterways feed a band of green surrounded by Ponderosa pines, sycamores, willows and Gambel oaks. Although the  2009 Water Wheel Fire burned much of the surround woodlands, there's still plenty of shade and beauty in the waterways.  Couple that with easy, close-to-town access and it’s no wonder this mountain getaway attracts droves of weekend warriors.  The unofficial route clamours up among the sculpted walls of a waterfall-filled box canyon to the confluence of the East Verde River and Ellison Creek. From here wade over the cascades of Ellison Creek and follow the water to a magnificent 40-foot waterfall.  WATER WHEEL FIRE STATS: Start date: August 30, 2009 Containment date: Sept. 5, 2009 Size: 773 acres Cause: under investigation
LENGTH: 1.5 miles one-way
RATING: moderate, scrambling, creek crossing
ELEVATION: 4880' - 5000'
From Payson, travel 2 miles north on SR 87 to Houston Mesa Road (FR 199), turn right and continue to 7 miles to the First Crossing parking apron on the right.  Other access points on FR 199 from SR87 are:
First Crossing: 7 miles
Water Wheel: 7.5 miles
Second Crossing: 8 miles
Third Crossing: 8.5 miles


Sunday, September 6, 2009


FLOWING SPRINGS Tonto National Forest Sand, sycamores and limestone escarpments along this informal fisherman’s path, make for an easy day hike with plenty to explore. Adventures await both up and downstream—just pick a direction and start hiking along the water. Although it’s short in length, long stretches of soft sand along the banks of the East Verde River give calf muscles a satisfying workout. With access to campgrounds and restrooms, this trail is a favorite destination for those with tots in tow. HIGHLIGHTS: scenic water hike with kid-friendly facilities LENGTH: 2 miles roundtrip RATING: easy ELEVATION RANGE: 4,460 – 4,500 feet DRIVING DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 108 miles one way GETTING THERE: From the junction of Highways 87 and 260 in Payson, go north on Highway 87 fro 4.6 miles to Flowing Springs Road, turn right and continue for a half-mile to the parking area on the left. INFORMATION: (928) 474-7900