Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

Accessible

Family-Friendly

Hiking

State Park

Waterfall

Nature

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, in central Arizona, is home to one of the world’s largest natural travertine bridges. This awe-inspiring structure spans a 400-foot-long tunnel, stands 183 feet high, and is 150 feet wide. Sculpted over centuries, it is the centerpiece of the park, accompanied by beautiful waterfalls cascading over travertine formations.

Rich in cultural history, the park has been significant to Native American tribes and early settlers, making it a fascinating heritage site. Located in the Payson area, within Tonto National Forest, the park lies in a transition zone between desert and mountain ecosystems, housing diverse flora and fauna. The bridge and waterfalls, fed by Pine Creek, sit amidst a pine forest in the Mogollon Rim country.

Accessible with a 20-minute drive from Payson, the park caters to all hiking levels, from easy walks to challenging treks. Trails provide different views of the bridge and waterfalls. Some trails are steep and rugged, so good footwear and fitness are important. Facilities include picnic areas and a visitor center, enhancing the experience in this natural sanctuary.

Photo by Leslie Cross on Unsplash

The best time to visit the park is in the spring or fall when temperatures are mild but the park is still enjoyable in the Arizona heat. The park is fed by a low flow spring so there is water running all year long. It’s a beautiful place place to spend a couple hours hiking around. Plan on bringing lunch and taking a break at one of the many picnic tables.

The entrance fee for Natural Bridge State Park is $9 per person for those aged 13 years and older, and $6 per person for children aged 6 to 12 years. Admission is free for children under the age of six. These prices apply to access to the park and its main features, including the iconic Natural Bridge and the Cedar Creek Trai

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