Hikes at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
There are three main hiking trails at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park in Payson.
- Gowan Trail
- Anna Mae Trail
- Waterfall Trail
Gowan Hiking Trail | Payson Hike
Gowan Trail is located in the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. It is the longest and most popular trail in the park because it leads you directly under the natural travertine bridge and waterfall.
Drive to the last parking lot and you will see that the path starts out as a wide dirt path. The path is steep but it starts out wide, as it narrows you will walk down some stairs.
After the stairs the path is narrow and dirt. you can now see the water below you from above. A little while longer and you will reach the bridge. From this viewpoint you will have your first glimpse of water below.
Steer to your right to follow the creek, or walk onto to the bridge that leads to the Natural bridge and waterfall. You made it!
You are now standing at the bottom of the worlds largest natural travertine bridge. If the wind hits right you can feel the splash of the waterfall. walk down the stairs and explore under the bridge!
Anna Mae Trail at Tonto Natural Bridge
The Anna Mae Trail is a steep dirt path that will wind down to the back side of the Tonto Bridge waterfall. The views from the trail are incredible rock formations and caves. You will make a right turn as you descent into nearby boulders and pools of water.
This trail has some neat small pools of water surrounded by huge boulders and lush trees. The Anna Mae trail is a short hike to reach the back side of the Tonto Natural Bridge.
The Waterfall Trail
Anytime you can find some water in the hot Arizona summer it is a hike worth while, even if it is just streams of water bouncing over the lichen and rock.
The Waterfall Trail is a short steep hike starting with a steep dirt path which in turn becomes steep stairs. It is about 300 feet to the end of the trail.
The trail starts out as a steep dirt path, The trail then becomes a set of steep stairs. This photo is shot going back up the stairs. The stairs are steep and be careful at the bottom because it is slippery as well.
Lichen covers the large boulders and the inside of the watery cave.
Pictures really do not do this park justice, you have to see it in person. The waterfall at the end of the trail is enchanting. The water falls in a steady stream, cascading off of moss covered rocks, peeking past the waterfall you can see the wet cool cave.
A glimpse inside the cave. The water feels good as it splashes. The hike is steep, but if my four year old can hike it, well I think most people can as well. Wear good hiking shoes, and be aware that it is slippery towards the bottom.
Length: short hike that is steep in parts.