Arizona's Best Swimming Holes

Ellison Creek



Photos and Videos

The step log at Ellison Creek

Above - Looking down on the swimming hole at Ellison Creek.

Ellison Creek


Ellison Creek is a wonderful swimming hole tucked back between Payson and the Mogollon Rim.  It takes a short drive, a mile hike down a dirt road or if you want to take the scenic route, An incredible hike through a prehistoric looking landscape of slate and dense foliage, a jump over the creek and several ponds that you have to navigate over and around to reach this inviting, cold clear swimming hole that is most definitely worth the trip.


At first jump, the water is so cold it takes your breath away for a few seconds.   Really, it is that cold at first.  Why is it that the kids just never seem to mind the cold and just go for it. They don't get cold until they get out and the breeze makes the goose bumps erupt over every exposed body part.  Apply towel, problem solved.

This is a very popular swimming hole on the weekends.  If you want a more private oasis then head up during the weekdays. Make damn sure you have Tevas or some other slip proof water shoes as any of the rock that gets wet is very slippery.

This is one of my favorite places and I try to hit this spot at least once every summer.  It is a scenic paradise to say the least.  Butterflies flitter among the trees and the cool water


Nearby Campgrounds

Houston Mesa Campground is one of the nearest large campgrounds and is just west of the SR 87 and Houston Mesa Road


Getting There

From Payson, head north about 1 mile from the intersection of the SR260 and SR87 (the corner with the McDonalds on it). and turn right on Houston Mesa Road. Stay on Houston Mesa road for 8.2 miles just after you cross the creek (your tires get wet) and head up the road a couple hundred yards to the next turnoff to the right a and head back near the closed gate and park.  Hike up the dirt road  up and to the left until you reach a low point in the road apporximately 0.5 miles.  head down the path to the river that you will hear off to your right.  Once at the river, go upstream a few hundred yards until you see the pool.









Ellison Creek Waterfall