In the late 1800s, the local Phoenicians discovered the joy of being at the Arizona Falls. The water made a cool place to picnic, socialize and just meet. Today, the Arizona Falls has been transformed into an art piece that you can once again come by and enjoy the cool water.
History of the canal
The Arizona Cancel is nearly 50 miles long and part of the Salt River Project’s (SRP) 131-mile water distribution system. It was constructed in the late 1880s for farm irrigation and helped spur the development of several communities including Sunnyslope, Glendale, and Peoria. The water comes from the Salt River and begins its journey from the Granite Reef Diversion Dam and ends up in the New River near the Arrowhead Towne Center.
History of the falls
Since the canals were created they have been a meeting place for people to enjoy the water. At the present day location at 56 street in the Arcadia neighborhood, the canal had a 20-foot drop.
The flow of water creates an ideal place to have a system for hydroelectric power. The first hydroelectric plant at the falls was built in 1902 by the Phoenix Light and Fuel Company. Unfortunately, there was a period of drought and then a period of heavy flooding in 1905, and the hydroelectric plant was damaged and sat unused.
In 1913 the plant was rebuilt by SRP and the United States Reclamation Service and was one of the earliest sources of power produced by SRP.
The Arizona Falls produced power until the 1950s when it was shut down. In 2003 the historic waterfall was brought back as a meeting place by SRP, the Phoenix Arts Commission, and the Arcadia neighborhood. The new site was designed by Lajos Heder and Mags Harries.
Today At The Falls
Today, Arizona Falls generates up to 750 kilowatts of electricity. That is enough to power about 150 homes. It is really fun for the family to visit a place that actually produces electricity and is fed into the SRP grid.
After parking your car, one of the first things you see as you approach the path that leads up to the falls is the unique entryway. It is an irrigation discharge collar donated by Ameron Steel and Concrete Pipe Company.
The canals have been changed from just a water canal to walking and biking paths. The waterfall has become part of an open-air trail system that everyone can enjoy. A bridge at the canal allows you to cross from one side of the canal pathway to the other side.
You can see how the water is diverted through the waterfall system. The sluice gates are fun to look at up close. As you enter onto the top platform you are surrounded by water and you can hear the water rushing through the plant.
The pathways down get you under the water (almost) and you see the water spill from the different sections of the waterfall. There is the main waterfall wall where water cascades down the face and you can get right up to the water. There are some large blocks you can sit on and spend some time listening to and watching the water.
The turbine building includes rooftop solar panels that power the ceiling fans located in the deck area. There is even a dance floor and you can boogie the day away with the sounds of water surrounding you.
This a place that should be on your list for your family to see. It is easy to get to and the short walk up the ramp is really worth it. There are signs that will guide you through the waterfall and describe the different parts of the structure. It is definitely an Instagram place to visit so take your camera.
5802 E. Indian School Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85018