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Wednesday, April 6, 2011


WATER WHEEL-ELLISON CREEK OPEN Tonto National Forest Good news, hikers, as of April 1, 2011, the Water Wheel-Ellison Creek area off Houston Mesa Road north of Payson has been reopened for day use ONLY. Due to the 2009 human-caused Water Wheel Fire, this primo hiking destination has been off limits-- but no more. Here’s the rub---there’s now an $8 per person day use fee. Self-service kiosks are posted at key access points. Hikers must deposit cash (bring exact change) into provided envelopes and carry the detachable permit stub while inside the fee area. Forest Rangers are aggressively enforcing this new fee---and fines are much more than $8!! RULES: DAY USE ONLY--no camping, no fires.
See my previous Water Wheel and Ellison Creek blog entries for hike directions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Although this is a beautiful place it has severely declined in recent years. Mostly due to the publicity it has received and recent closure of Fossil Creek from the Strawberry side. I have been visiting it since 1994 and in recent years the volume of people has increased 100x. I have personally seen trash and dirty diapers left behind at the water's edge. My family was there a while back & there was a group of people there with several semi automatic weapons. REALLY? At the end of last summer I hiked in with my wife and kids, we held back a little because I thought the couple that was there was getting naked. Only to witness the man poop in the water that flows into the waterfall. DISGUSTING! Needless to say we won't visit again due to the threat of E Coli in the water. One last note if you do make the choice to visit beware of the locked gates. They are Forest Service gates and your vehicle will be towed if you block them.