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Tonto Natural Bridge Featured in Highlands Magazine

We now have Wi-Fi, so you can search the internet for surrounding attractions.

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.

How did the Natural Bridge form?

Learn about the geology of Tonto Natural Bridge on the Science page, and read more about its history in the Feature Story.


Pine-Strawberry Historical School house: The school house was built in 1885. Classes were held until 1916. It is the oldest standing one room school house in the state of Arizona. It takes only ten to fifteen minutes to see. Visitors are welcome on weekends May through September. Special events are scheduled at the school house throughout the summer. Visit the Pine-Strawberry Historical Society's web site for more information.


Pine-Strawberry Museum: This museum is located in the heart of village of Pine on High way 87. It is next to the Cultural Hall, Sr Center and thrift shop. The Collections of unique items are interesting to see and explore.
Sightseeing opportunities in Payson are plentiful and diverse. Tourist attractions include museums and art galleries, amusement parks, National and State Parks, historical places, sporting events and festivals.

If attractions aren't what you're looking for you can spend a day taking a scenic drive on one of the Payson area's beautiful byways, back-ways, or historical routes exploring the diverse wildlife and scenery. Want someone to show you around? Take a look at the Sightseeing Tour Companies operating within Payson and the surrounding area

Click on the Payson Travel Guide for more information on things to do or places to see.

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