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State of Arizona Parks

USA Parks
North Central Region
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park © Jenni
Cactus Wren ©
A species of wren that is native to the southwestern United States southwards to central Mexico.
P.O. Box 1245
Payson, Arizona   85547

Phone: 928-476-4202
Tucked away in a tiny valley surrounded by a forest of pine trees, Tonto Natural Bridge State Park has been in the making for thousands of years. It is believed to be the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. The bridge stands 183 feet high over a 400-foot long tunnel that measures 150 feet at its widest point.

Nature of the Area
Many different birds species visit the park. Please ask for a park bird list when paying your fee at the entrance station. Deer, rabbits, and javelina also inhabit the park.

History of the Area
The discovery of the small and beautiful valley between Pine and Payson was documented in 1877 by David Gowan, a prospector who stumbled across the bridge as he was chased by Apaches. Gowan hid for two nights and three days in one of several caves that dot the inside of the bridge. On the third day, he left the cave to explore the tunnel and green valley surrounding it. Gowan then claimed squatter's rights.

In 1898 he persuaded his nephew, David Gowan Goodfellow, to bring his family over from Scotland and settle the land permanently. After a week of difficult travel from Flagstaff, the Goodfellows arrived at the edge of the mountain and lowered their possessions down the 500 foot slopes into the valley by ropes and burros.

Visitors Center
The Tonto Natural Bridge Visitor Center offers information and a gift shop. Note: There are no restrooms located in this building.

Swimming is not allowed under the Natural Bridge. However, you may swim downstream in Pine Creek. Please be advised there is no lifeguard on duty. Swimming is at your own risk.

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is

Day Use Area
Goodfellow Group Use Area:

Lodge & Lodge Dining Room:

Cypress Ramada: 20x30 ramada with picnic tables and BBQ grills available on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations.

10x10 Ramadas: 3 ramadas with a picnic table and BBQ grill are available on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations.

Many unsheltered picnic tables are located throughout the park for your enjoyment.

Thank you for packing out what you pack in. Please carry drinking water while hiking these trails. All Trails are steep and strenuous. No pets or glass containers on any trails!

Pine Creek Trail is about ? mile long (400 feet developed - undeveloped in the creek bottom), leads to the Pine Creek natural area. Hiking shoes are recommended. Follow the arrows. Allow one hour.

Waterfall Trail is about 300 feet long, ends at waterfall cave. Uneven steps. Allow 15?20 minutes.

Gowan Trail is about 2200 feet long, down and back leading to an observation deck in the creek bottom. The trail is steep and rough. No trash cans. Hiking shoes are recommended. Allow one hour.

Anna Mae Trail is about 500 feet long and leads to Pine Creek Trail and The Natural Bridge. Allow one hour.

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