Monday, December 1, 2014

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park - Payson, Arizona

by M. J. Joachim

The rocks are shiny, slippery and beautiful. The trail well traveled by people from all around the globe. A geological masterpiece, believed to be “the largest natural travertine bridge in the world.”

All I know is the hike is grueling, but well worth the effort and pain that follows. 
From the Phoenix area, it takes approximately two hours to reach Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, located a few miles north of Payson in Eastern Arizona.

There are a few trails to choose from, each leading to a scenic view for those who don’t want to hike down into the canyon and under the bridge. There are also grates in some of the bridge trails, so you can see through to the bottom of the canyon.

It’s slick and a little intimidating at parts, but I wouldn’t miss this adventure for anything. Zigzagging across the river and rocks, doing what I like to call low impact rock climbing - we’re not scaling tall rock cliffs, but we do move up and down from one rock and boulder to the other, to make our way through the canyon and out the other side after following the trail to the bottom. Once you’re on the other side of the bridge, it’s time to hike back up to the top.There’s no way out, but up.

Bring water bottles in a backpack if you go. Leave the pets at home if you want to hike under the bridge. Costs is $5 p/person to get in. There’s plenty of parking. Park hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m Memorial Day through Labor Day. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the year. The park is closed on Christmas. Call 928-476-4202 for more information.
I hope I’ve tempted you to go. This place is amazingly awesome!

Thanks for visiting FlashTyme.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: M. J. Joachim ©2014 All Rights Reserved