Park Operating Hours
The park is open 7 days a week from 9 am - 5 pm daily, with last entry at 4 pm.
SPECIAL PARK EVENTS - MAY 9
11am. - 4pm. & 7 - 9:30 pm. J.D. Maddy, president of the Astronomers of Verde Valley, will be sponsoring the Star Night event at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. There will be two separate viewings at the park, the first one being a solar viewing from 11 am to 4 pm. Participants will be able to view the sun through a telescope with a specialized lens that allows you to look directly into the sun. There will also be crafts available for kids to do that will help increase their knowledge of the solar system. This viewing will be open to the public at just our regular park entrance fee of $5 per person for everyone 14 and older, and $2 per person for everyone 7-13. Reservations are required for night event. Read more Here.
SPECIAL PARK EVENT - MAY 16
Prehistoric Peoples Talk
11am. - Noon. Representatives from the Northern Gila County Historical Society will be the Park to talk about the early (prehistoric) people of the Payson area. They will have displays on site about what we know of their daily lives. This will include what kind tools they used, the crops that they would have grown, and other information of their daily lives. Free handouts as well as books about the area can be purchased. Event cost will be covered by your entrance fee into the park, $5 per person everyone 14 and older, $2 per person everyone between 7-13, and 6 and under are free.
SPECIAL PARK EVENT - JUNE 13 & JULY 11
Clovis Points to Copper Bells: the Prehistoric Archaeology of the Payson Basin - with J. Scott Wood
11am. Tonto Natural Bridge State Park will be hosting an archaeological talk presented by J. Scott Wood from 11 A.M. to 12:15 P.M.. He was the Tonto National Forest Archaeologist from 1975 to 2015; for the last 7 years, Advisor to the Rim Country Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society and director of the on-going Goat Camp Ruin Excavation, Stabilization, and Interpretive Development Project for the Town of Payson.
The topic of the day will be a talk about Clovis Points to Copper Bells: the Prehistoric Archaeology of the Payson Basin. For an hour or so in the beautiful outdoor setting of Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, we will talk about the archaeology of the area around the Park, from Payson to the Rim and from Star Valley to Strawberry, who lived her when, what they did, why they came, and why they left, from the first nomadic big game hunters to the farmers living in 200 room villages. We will also talk about the relationships all of these people had with their environment, how they influenced it and how, ultimately, it directed their behavior and determined their ultimate fate. This will be followed up with a Q & A session.
The event is free with purchase of day use entrance into the park. $5 per person everyone 14 and older, $2 per person everyone 7-13, 6 and under are free if they are accompanied by an adult. For information about this event email Gavin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928 476-4202.
Tonto Natural Bridge Wins 3 Awards
Tonto Natural Bridge SP has won three Best of Rim Country awards, including Best Historic Site, Best Place to Hike, and Best Day Trip.
Read about all the awards given Here
See the natural bridge from 4 parking lot viewpoints or hike down below to experience this geologic wonder. If you look closely at the photo you can see the lower observation deck with people who hiked down to the bottom. Photo by Tom Brossart for Arizona State Parks.
Tucked away in a tiny valley surrounded by a forest of pine trees, Tonto 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 discovery of the small and beautiful valley between Pine and Payson was documented in 1877 by David Gowan, a prospector who stumbled across the bridge as he was chased by Apaches. Gowan hid for two nights and three days in one of several caves that dot the inside of the bridge. On the third day, he left the cave to explore the tunnel and green valley surrounding it. Gowan then claimed squatter's rights.
In 1898 he persuaded his nephew, David Gowan Goodfellow, to bring his family over from Scotland and settle the land permanently. After a week of difficult travel from Flagstaff, the Goodfellows arrived at the edge of the mountain and lowered their possessions down the 500 foot slopes into the valley by ropes and burros.
Today, visitors can stand on top of the bridge or hike down below to capture the true size and beauty of this geologic wonder.
Time lapse photograph of the night sky as seen through Tonto Natural Bridge. Photo taken August 2013 by Kevin Turner. Note: Staying overnight in the park is not allowed.
- Alamo Lake
- Buckskin Mountain
- Cattail Cove
- Lake Havasu
- River Island
- Yuma Quartermaster Depot
- Yuma Territorial Prison
- Dead Horse Ranch
- Fort Verde
- Red Rock
- Riordan Mansion
- Slide Rock
- Verde River Greenway
- Boyce Thompson Arboretum
- Fool Hollow Lake
- Lost Dutchman
- Lyman Lake
- Tonto Natural Bridge