Another view from inside the natural bridge
MakiPhotography via Getty Images

Discover the World's Largest Natural Travertine Bridge at this Arizona State Park


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Arizona is a sprawling southwest oasis with a deep Indigenous history and more than 20 national parks and national monuments. The "Grand Canyon State" is the only place in the world where you can find the epochal Saguaro cactus, and it is home to over 21 federally recognized tribes. Plan a road trip on historic Route 66, which crosses through the state! Suppose you find yourself in central Arizona. In that case, you must take a day trip to the natural wonder of Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. This Arizona state park is located 10 miles north of Payson and 100 miles northeast Phoenix.

About the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

The park's main feature is, quite naturally, the Tonto Natural Bridge -- believed to be the largest natural travertine bridge in the entire world! According to the Native Land Map, this land belongs to the Ndee/Nn?"?": (Western Apache)Pueblos, and Hohokam Indigenous tribes.

Besides soaking in the palpable past and magic of this modern-day state park, Tonto offers its visitors incredible opportunities for hikers and explorers alike. The Natural Bridge is unique as most bridges in nature are made of sandstone or limestone. This travertine bridge has a height of 183 feet, a tunnel length of 393 feet, and at its widest point, the travertine above the tunnel reaches 60-feet wide.

Hiking Trails at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

View from hiking to the top of the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

MakiPhotography via Getty Images

First off, it is essential to note that hiking in Arizona can bring extreme heat. Always bring extra water, pack out what you pack in, and remember that no pets or glass containers are allowed on the trail. Apart from the paved paths and observation decks at the top of the canyon, Tonto Natural Bridge State Park has four hiking trails to enjoy Rim Country!

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Pine Creek Trail

The Pine Creek Trail is a half-mile trek that takes visitors to the Pine Creek natural area that takes approximately one hour to complete.

Waterfall Trail

This super short hike is 300 feet long and ends at an exciting waterfall cave.

Gowan Trail

This down-and-back trail is around 2,220 feet long and leads to an observation deck in the creek bottom. Named after David Gowan, the Gowan Trail typically takes an hour. The trail is relatively steep and rugged.

Anna Mae Trail

Another way to get to the Pine Creek Trail and the primary way to the Natural Bridge, this 500-foot trail takes around an hour to complete.

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Other Activities at the Park

Viewpoint from the top of the natural bridge

MakiPhotography via Getty Images

This Arizona state park is also equipped with multiple picnic areas with picnic tables, ideal for meals between hikes. There are also "Ramadas," or group event spaces that you can rent for larger day-use gatherings. While swimming is not permitted under the Natural Bridge, you can swim downstream at Pine Creek.

Goodfellow Lodge is a historic lodge located at the park that presents insane vistas of the Rim Country and surrounding area. The club has 10 furnished rooms with both private and shared bathrooms and a group dining area, fireplace, and large kitchen used for catering and events. Book your wedding or overnight stay by calling (928) 476-4202.

Important Information to Visit 

The park hours are currently 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with the last entry an hour before park close. The park is also open every single day except for Christmas. The park entrance fee is $7 for adults 14 years old and up, $4 for kids 7 to 13 years old, and free for kids 6 years old and under. The park entrance, gift shop, and visitor center are located 10 miles north of Payson on Hwy 87, Payson, AZ 85547.

Have you ever seen the spectacular Tonto Natural Bridge at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park? Share your experiences with us on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!

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READ MORE: Phoenix, Arizona: 10 Reasons to Visit This Top Desert Destination

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