There is a very cool place in Central Phoenix that most people do not know about. It's on Indian School Road just past 56th Street, and accessible through Herberger Park. This is the location of Arizona Falls.
"What is Arizona Falls?" you might be wondering. Well, it's a lot of things. It is the location of a major elevation drop in the SRP canal system. It was the first hydroelectric power plant in the City of Phoenix. Finally, it is a historical feature of Phoenix and a neat place to visit.
Arizona Falls exists because of a natural 20-foot drop in the Arizona Canal. According to the SRP website, the drop in the canal was a gathering place for residents of the Arizona Territory as far back as the 1800s. The original power plant was built in 1902 and rebuilt in 1911 and shut down by 1950.
A complete renovation in 2003 brought a new 750kW generator online along with other amenities for visitors. These include a shaded "water room" where visitors are surrounded on three sides by waterfalls, a viewing platform, a dance floor, and a showcase of public art.
Visiting Arizona Falls is a neat way to learn about how water is managed in the desert. Most of us go about our daily lives without ever thinking about the elaborate system of concrete-lined canals that carries water from the Colorado River over 350 miles to Phoenix for drinking water and irrigation.
At Arizona Falls, you can take a break from reality as the sounds and pressures of the city disappear behind a wall of rushing water. Take a moment to catch your breath as you admire the terraced landscape. It is truly an oasis in the desert.
Arizona Falls at Salt River Project
Historic Photos of the Falls
Photos of the Arizona Falls Water Room
Additional Photos of Arizona Falls