Tonto Natural Bridge

We have so many adventures planned for 2012! To kick off the new year, we drove up near Payson, Arizona to cross off another place on our To Do list, Tonto Natural Bridge (which is situated in a state park).

Bridge trail to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ

Who would have known that the largest natural limestone bridge in the world is right here in our "playground"! It was founded in about 1877 by a Scotsman who was hiding from an Apache tribe. The uh, hostile environment apparently didn't stop him from emigrating his family to live there. They lived there until about 1948.

Gift store, ranger station at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ
Here is their lodge, which is now a gift store / ranger station.

Farming wagon at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ
There are several out-of-use farming equipment on the property.

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ from view point
View of the bridge from above (at view point 4).

Leonids at view point above Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ

View above Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ

Bridge trail to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ
Off the trail leading to the bridge (we had to climb a couple large rocks to get to this view).

Moss on rocks under the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ

There is a trail that allows you to go all the way through...  but when I (and the rangers) say "trail"....  let's just say you have to be pretty agile to get through!  Little children, those with old and creaky joints, klutzy people or those of you who just happen to be wearing improper shoes (I know some of you wear high heels hiking...) --be wary of going through!

Looking up under inside Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ
You will get a little wet!  We had consistent drops of water falling on us as we went through the bridge.

Leonids under inside hiking through Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ

Lake pond under inside Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ
The water and slippery rocks make for slow going.

Lake pond under inside Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ

Under inside the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ

Leonids under the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ

Pond from waterfall inside Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ
This pool has a deep drop off that can be seen when looking down into the pool from above.

Slippery, high, dangerous, steep path through Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ
See what I meant by "trail"?  Slipping off this slippery rock would leave you splashing in the deep pool (after you hit your head on the way down).

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ

Leonids at the opening of the bridge at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ
Out on the other side of the bridge.

Leonids in front of Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ

Mini waterfall along a trail at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ

Caves on a trail at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ
Short "caves".

Rocky trail at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ
The rest of the trail wasn't really a trail either.  It's more like... 1 mile of hopping, climbing over rocks and guessing which path leads to the least resistance / isn't a dead end.

Stream at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ

Little fish or tadpoles in streams at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ
Tadpoles! (Or fishies?)

Leonids at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ

Leonids at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson, AZ from view point 4

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