The BEST Northern Arizona Day Trip


Day trip toIt’s hot. OK, it’s more than hot. It’s been hot for what is feeling like 6 years but realistically is 6 months. I pretty much had enough over Labor Day weekend and needed some relief!

With little to no planning, about an hour and a half in the car and $5 bucks per adult, we made our way to Tonto Natural Bridge!

Simply put it’s about 9 miles north of Payson and a total GEM, right here in our own backyard! We were planning to escape the heat somehow and a client of mine asked if I’d ever been! We’ve slowly been trying to make our way through the countless state parks and attractions but had never ventured north east. We’re usually into the Prescott, Cottonwood, Sedona or Flagstaff scene, so a new drive was appealing!

We checked their website for pertinent information and after verifying the park was indeed open, grabbed a sack lunch and hit the road! Shortly (and I mean really shortly, just 90 minutes) we were there! We did have to wait about 15 minutes at the entrance point for parking as the park was full.

That wait was worth it!

BACKGROUND: We have a 3 year old who loves to hike and is pretty adventurous. The park host sort of scared us at entry by telling us that “this is a tricky age” and “allow an hour for each trail”. I was hesitant to take her or frankly, myself 6 months pregnant! Leave it to hubby to talk us into a little adventure in our lives!

We started with the Waterfall trail which is sort of like a long curvy stairway leading to a rock and mossy filled water drip.  Followed by the Gowan Trail. The Gowan Trail was awesome! It wasn’t easy, and in fact actually felt like a workout, which we love! It can be tough to find activities that can actually be classified as fitness while staying with your kids. This one was perfect. Harper Rose made it about half way then hopped on Daddy’s shoulders while we both got a workout!

Tonto Map


Here are some shots of our adventure!










No matter how long you’ve lived here in this great state, and been wowed by some of our natural sights, Tonto Natural Bridge is one of the best Northern Arizona day trips out there! Look no further for family friendly, fun and energetic adventure for all ages!


  1. Thank you for this information.
    This is something I have always thought about, but now that you have done it with a 3 yr old, I will definitely try it with my kids.

Comments are closed.