Sunday we took a family road trip up to Tonto Bridge State Park in Payson, Arizona. Peg, myself, Scout, Brooke, Elliott, Payton, Laura, Rob, Dee and Jen all piled in two vehicles and headed up Route 87 on a sunny, beautiful Arizona day. The trip took us through the Salt River Valley then up to Payson at 5000 feet. On the road there were beautiful and interesting views of the desert mountains as we climb out of the valley desert to the tall Pine trees at Payson.
The State Park is a very nice place with plenty of picnic areas and places to park. The trails and viewpoints are well marked and maintained. The first trail taken was the Anna Mae trail that runs down the north side of the natural bridge. It is a 200 foot drop down a moderately difficult trail to the valley floor in front of the bridge. Walking under the bridge requires some sorting out of possible routes over large boulders made slick by usage. Payton, Elliott and I chose to cross the creek and climb up and through a short cave that led down to the other side of the creek. The picture of the boys in the cave is shown above.
About half way under the bridge we determined that it was not possible for us to continue all the way through. We determined to go back up and then down the Gowan trail to the south end of the bridge. The Gowan trail is, also, 200 feet down but steeper. The trail is more popular and has benchs and well maintained switch backs and stairs. At the bottom is a long bridge leading to a super viewing site. You can leave the viewing stand and walk under the water fall and through the bridge. The adults stayed on the viewing stand while the boys wandered under the bridge.
While all this was going on, Peg, Brooke and Scout were enjoying viewing the bridge from the topside viewing areas. They enjoyed the day and Scout had a fun time on the road trip.
Afine time was had by all. This is a nice part of Arizona. Popular year round, it is very crowded in the summer as people try to escape the desert heat. This time of year, you have to choose your days as snow is not unusual. This was one of those picture perfect winter days. Hope you enjoy the photos linked below.