Tonto Natural Bridge State Park – Exploring My World 

This gorgeous piece of travertine has a 183 feet high bridge carved by this passive looking stream.  Its located about ten miles North of Payson, AZ  off  AZ87.  The State Park is a nice ride off the highway that ends in some hairpin turns.  The park is fairly small none  of the four hikes being longer than half a mile.  

The bridge is tall enough that you need to drop 200 feet in a fairly quickly manner.  Railroad ties make stairs in places to make it easier.  The view above is from Gowan trail, it is the easiest way down. You can make it to the bottom where a misty waterfall will get you wet if you stand there long enough. Above you are plenty of swallows that make nests inside holes in the travertine above you.  Benches are there for the return trip.

If you wish to rock hop a little you can get about 100 feet into the tunnel safely.  The rocks are highly polished and can be wet bring really good shoes.  The views are spectacular.  

Now every tunnel had two sides!  Above and below are the other views.   The second trail is Anna Mae trail.  It has the same drop of 200 feet but is much shorter like 500 feet!  At the bottom you aren’t able to see the Bridge.  So you rock hop.  It’s not a difficult “path” but good shoes, knees, and ankles are required.  There is mostly uneven smooth rocks that are in the creek.  It’s worth the challenge.  Below you can see the misty waterfall back light from the morning sun.


The Pine Creek Trail  is a half mile of Creek that means very little trail and lots of these cataracts.  It’s a nice view and super quiet for most part.  It starts with Anna Mae Trail, and is a collection of arrows on rocks and trees that meander side to side.  This is a half hour of looking for the best foothold.  Below was my prize picture.  Kind of Dragon like thing made from a tree trunk still in the ground.   I don’t know what happened to the tree but it wasn’t pretty.

Finally, they advertise a Waterfall trail.  Uh, not much to see here.  You do get a fern choked “waterfall”, meaning water drips a lot from above.  There is no cascading.  There is no sound of a traditional waterfall.  So either do this first or last when splashing with water will cool you off.

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