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Whether you’re going with several generations or just with a friend, Tonto Natural Bridge State Park in Pine, AZ (just north of Payson) is a must-do when in Arizona. It’s is a great spot to visit from Phoenix, Pine, Strawberry, Payson, Camp Verde, or even Flagstaff. There are a few things that will help you have the best visit so be sure to check out these tips before planning your stop.
Tonto Natural Bridge is a gorgeous Arizona State Park that has options for all family members. The hikes down to underneath the natural bridge can be a bit steep or slippery, but there are plenty of viewpoints from up top for those who can’t make the hike down. The entry fees for the park are – Adult (14+): $7.00, Youth (7–13): $4.00, Child (0–6): FREE. You can also use a Standard Annual AZ State Parks Pass ($75 for the year for card holder + 3 guests) or a Premium Annual AZ State Parks Pass ($200 for the year for card holder + 3 guests).
I have been to Tonto Natural Bridge before, but it’s been a while, and they’ve made some beautiful improvements to the park since then! The Natural Bridge is actually made of travertine (while most other natural bridges are sandstone or limestone).
Tips for visiting Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
- Visit mid-week if possible for reduced crowds. We visited on a Thursday and it was absolutely perfect!
- Bring LOTS of water (a tip for Arizona in general & always)
- Wear shoes that will give you decent grip, especially if you want to scramble along the rocks under the bridge
- Bring a lunch, the park has lots of areas around the parking lots and great picnic table spots that are spaced out
- Take your time in the gift shop. They have some well designed AZ State Parks merch, local products, some unique gifts, & lots of things to look at – really cute shop
- Keep your eyes open for Javelina, we got to see a heard of them right in the parking/picnic areas
- Check the park website to see if they are planning any events when you’re visiting. On Jan 1 they have a half-mile, one-and-a-half-hour walk over the bridge from a Park Ranger where you can learn lots of cool facts.
- There are 4 easily accessible viewpoints if you’re visiting with family members that can’t do a steep hike/climb
- If you’re not wanting a super long hike the Waterfall Trail is super quick but if you want to get under the bridge, take the Anna Mae trail, and if you came to do it all, definitely do the Pine Creek & Gowan Trails.
- The last entry is at 4 pm & trails close at 4 pm, the viewpoints and paved paths are open until 5 but give yourself plenty of time if you’re expecting to go down.
- Check their website before heading out just to make sure there are no current closures or anything you need to know.
Have you been here before? Any tips to add for others?!