Any park guest that has passed from Paradise Park to Grizzly Peak knows how scenic and peaceful the Grizzly Peak trail is. Leisurely travelers can find tons of hidden details, some great photo spots, and this hidden gem: the Pelton Wheel.

The Pelton Wheel

Pelton Wheels are water turbines, invented by Lester Allan Pelton in the 1870s. Though the wheel in Grizzly Peak is purely decorative, these wheels are so efficient that modern turbines still use them today. California Adventure’s Pelton Wheel has been in the park since Opening Day, and its location is a perfect spot to take family photos.

The plaque reads: According to legend, Lester Pelton got his idea for a more powerful waterwheel from seeing a cow stick its nose into a stream of water. Patented in 1878, the divided metal cups of Pelton’s wheel worked much the same way as the deft between the cow’s nostrils, enabling water to flow out to the sides, instead of bouncing straight back out of the cups. The water-powered wheel sent compressed air through pipes to drive pumps, drills, triphammers, and hoists into the mines. This simple concept proved so effective in turning the wheel faster and more efficiently that it is still used today in modern turbines around the world.

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