Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is located in Pine, about halfway between Phoenix and Flagstaff. This public recreation area consists mainly of trails and an historic lodge at the site of the largest natural travertine bridge in the world.
It’s a unique site in that the bridge is formed of travertine and not sandstone or limestone, as most other famous natural rock formations are.
This beautiful natural structure (183 feet high with a 400 ft long tunnel) lies in a peaceful valley surrounded by pine trees, creeks and wildlife. Visitors who hike along the bridge are rewarded with spectacular views of this natural bridge and the area around it.
Pack a picnic, plenty of water and sunscreen and prepare to be amazed during your visit to this unique Arizona state park. Enjoy the views from high up and then discover the rustic beauty of the historic lodge as you work your way through its rooms and exhibits.
Remember to wear sturdy, comfortable shoes and prepare to have a great day at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park!
Here are some of the many activities that you can do during your visit to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park:
Trails at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park has 5 fairly short trails that wind throughout the park and past overlooks, the creek, natural bridge structure and native flora and fauna. All of the trails are steep and may be difficult in places.
Be sure to wear appropriate, comfortable shoes and carry enough water (2 liters per person is highly recommended). Follow the trail signs and be cautious of falling rocks and other natural hazards. Pets are not allowed on any of the park trails.
Here are a few hiking trails at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park:
- Pine Creek Trail – Moderate to difficult .5 mile trail that starts near Pine Creek and leads out to the natural bridge. Parts of this trail are undeveloped, proper footwear is recommended.
- Waterfall Trail – Difficult 300 ft trail that leads to a waterfall cave and consists of uneven steps.
- Gowan Trail – Moderate to difficult 2,200 ft trail that leads down to an observation deck in the creek bottom of the natural bridge. This trail is rocky and steep, be sure to wear appropriate shoes and allow for an hour to complete.
Swim at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
Bring your swimsuit and take a dip downstream from the park in Pine Creek. (Swimming is not allowed under the Natural Bridge.) Take care while enjoying the cool water, there are no lifeguards within the park and water temperatures and currents can vary greatly.
Historic Lodge at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
Historic Goodfellow Lodge houses a visitor center with interpretive exhibits detailing the history of Tonto Natural Bridge, the area around it and the historic lodge.
A gift shop inside the lodge carries books, guides, apparel, souvenirs, walking sticks, snacks, drinks and more to help make your visit both comfortable and memorable.
The historic lodge itself was built in 1927, and is a three-story cabin style building with 10 bedrooms, a large kitchen and rustic dining room. Goodfellow Lodge is available for weddings and other special events and may also be available for overnight guests. A large open lawn area outside is ideal for small gatherings.
Become a Junior Ranger at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
Junior Ranger Pledge: ‘As an Arizona State Parks Junior Ranger, I pledge to help the park rangers protect and preserve habitat, wildlife, and help keep the park clean and safe for visitors and wildlife.’
Encourage younger generations to do their part and help preserve the beauty of the parks for future visitors. If your child is between the ages of 6-12 they can become a Junior Ranger at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park.
All they need to do is download and complete the Junior Ranger Activity Sheet and then request a Junior Ranger booklet at the park’s visitor center once you’ve arrived at the park. Complete each of the activities during your stay.
When all of the activities have been completed report back to a Park Ranger who will swear your Junior Ranger in and award them with a Junior Ranger Button. Kids can become a Junior Ranger at most Arizona State Parks and earn each park’s unique Junior Ranger Button. Check out the For Kids section on each park’s website.
Wildlife Viewing at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
While visiting Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, you’ll easily spot deer, rabbits and many different species of birds, both native to the park and migratory. Ask for a park bird list at the entrance station and then keep an eye out for hummingbirds, cardinals, woodpeckers, raven, chickadees, hawks, wren and swallows.
Other wildlife seen within the park are javelina, snakes, lizards, dragonflies and more.
Pets at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
Pets are allowed at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park but must be attended to at all times and kept on a leash no longer than six-feet. Pets are not allowed on trails or inside any facility buildings. Please clean up after your pet.
Lodging Near Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is a day use area only and doesn’t have any overnight accommodations. However, there are many choices of places to stay overnight nearby. Decide whether you want to camp, stay in your RV, a hotel or B&B and check out these nearby options:
Pine Creek Cabins – 3901 AZ-87, Pine
Rustic wooden cabins, located in a pine and apple tree setting, with decks/porches, fireplaces, kitchenettes and more.
Majestic Mountain Inn – 602 AZ-260, Payson
Comfy hotel rooms with mini fridge, coffeemaker, TV and WiFi. Free breakfast, snacks, outdoor pool and athletic club also included with your stay in this cozy hotel surrounded by pine trees and only 13.4 miles from Tonto Natural Bridge.
The Strawberry Inn – 5073 AZ-87, Strawberry
Country-style hotel 10 miles from the park and minutes from the 19th century Strawberry Schoolhouse and the Pine-Strawberry Museum. Rooms have sleeper sofas, minifridges, coffeemakers, TVs and access to WiFi. Also available is a 3 bedroom cottage that has a kitchen, hot tub and BBQ grill.
Houston Mesa Campground – 2100 Houston Mesa Rd, Payson
Campground with family, equestrian and tent only sites.
Tonto Creek Campground – Payson
First come, first serve small campsites.
Park Hours & Fees
Open Year Round
Park & Facility Hours:
9:00am – 5:00pm Daily
Park Entrance Fees:
– Adult (14+): $7.00
– Youth (7–13): $4.00
– Child (0–6): FREE
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
Pine, AZ 85544
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park: