Last week while the kids were on Spring break, dad took a day off of work and we surprised the kids with a day road trip! The weather has just been gorgeous here in Arizona, so we decided to head up to the Payson area to take a hike down to check out the Tonto Natural Bridge. The Natural Bridge State Park has been in the making for thousands of years. It is believed to be the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. The bridge stands 183 feet high over a 400-foot long tunnel that measures 150 feet at its widest point.
The drive only took us a couple hours from Phoenix, and the scenery was beautiful with all of the cacti and and wild flowers in bloom! Getting to the bridge is easy with nice signs to guide you after driving through Payson. When you head down the mountain, it is quite a windy and steep road. The kids loved that part! When you get to the bottom, you are entering a State Park so there is a fee.
Park Entrance Fees:
Adult (14+): $7.00
Youth (7–13): $4.00
Child (0–6): FREE
There is a nice lodge that has a tiny gift shop in it when you drive in. If you have kids make sure you stop! You can ask for a Junior Ranger Journal. (FREE!) It’s a really nice packet of activities, puzzles and fun facts about the park. If the kids fill out the journal and bring it back to the lodge gift shop, they’ll earn a Junior Ranger button.
Make sure to also ask for a map. It will show you the different trails that you can hike and viewing areas. There are several nice picnic areas in the park, and I was very impressed with how clean the restrooms were!
We had a nice picnic lunch and then grabbed our water and headed out to make the hike down to see the bridge. Just as a heads up, there is a sign at the beginning of the hike that warms that if you have certain health conditions it’s suggested you do not take the trail. It is a quite steep and an all dirt/rock trail. There are a few resting spots on the way that you can stop to take a break at.
When you get to the bottom, there’s a creek that the kids enjoyed.
You can then walk across a bridge to the viewing area to see the Natural Bridge.
We spent a good hour down there exploring. The kids had an absolute blast!
Have you taken any day trips with your family recently? I love hearing about new places to visit!
Thanks for stopping by!