Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
Surrounded by mountains and pine, nestled in the Tonto national forest, lies one of the largest travertine bridges in the world, known as Tonto Natural Bridge. Natural bridges made of travertine are uncommon and a beautiful sight to see. The stalactites and stalagmites one usually pictures in the caverns below ground grace the walls, ceiling, and floor beneath the bridge. It is truly a unique experience.
The Tonto Bridge was one of my first solo adventures after moving to Arizona and I’ve been very excited to share that experience with Liam. I personally, had never seen anything like it before and encourage everyone to see it provided the opportunity is present.
Upon arrival to the state park, a $7 fee is required per person. Staff is friendly and knowledgeable, not just of the park, but of the forest surrounding it as well. Only two of the trails were open due to water damage, but the experience is still very much worth it. While we couldn’t hike under the bridge, we spent the morning at the overlook stops and eventually hiked down to the observation deck at the base of the bridge.
From the top, we look down at the five pools residing under the bridge. There are cacti growing from the walls of the canyon while sharing their home with vibrant trees.
From the bottom, a light sprinkling waterfall mists down to the streams below. The sun was out and people were absolutely loving the view. It’s the perfect spot for a family friendly day.
Oddly enough, my favorite trail here almost has nothing to do with the bridge. It’s extremely short and made up of a set of stairs leading down to a fern and moss garden. You can see water dripping down the canyon walls feeding the lush plants growing along the walls. The air is fresh and the plants are refreshing for someone who’s usually surrounded by cacti and sand.
For those of you interested in picnicking, there are tables all throughout the park which has plenty of parking for groups. The place does get busy on holiday weekends but for a nice quiet every day weekend, it’s a nice little stop. The trails that were open were short, but steep. Bring some water and take plenty of breaks if you need it. There’s plenty of shaded areas with benches for those looking for a serene little break.
The Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is unique because it can be a quick morning stop, or a full day adventure. The gift shop as a little bit of everything for everyone, from books, to t-shirts and hats, to other sweet little trinkets to remember your time. If you’re in the area, be sure to check it out!