If you live anywhere in Arizona or if you are visiting and are going to be near Payson, you should definitely take the time to see this beauty of the desert. The Tonto Natural Bridge is a true wonder of nature and visiting the park is a great way to spend a day.
We hiked the Pine trail down the wash to go under the bridge from the North side. It's a moderately difficult hike that will require rock hopping and is only recommended if you have the time and ability. The hike down the wash is beautiful and hiking it in the fall was lovely and the view of the bridge from the North side looking South was spectacular. Be careful, it can be slippery on those rocks under the bridge.
The view from the observation deck at the bottom of Gowan trail is absolutely gorgeous. We took the Gowan trail back to the parking lot. The Gowan trail, according to the State Park brochure is 2200 feet long down and back. It's a well developed trail with plenty of stairs and a couple of benches to stop and rest but all the trails are steep and strenuous so please be careful.
There are lots of picnic tables in the park so hubs and I sat in the shade and have a little snack before checking out the Waterfall trail (also beautiful) and then hiked the Anna Mae Trail back down to the Pine Trail and retraced our steps back to our car.
While you're there, don't forget to take a look at the Lodge/Gift Shop.
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