Hike the Pine Creek Loop in Tonto Natural Bridge SP

Details

Distance

1.8 miles

Elevation Gain

300 ft

Route Type

Loop

Added by Lacie Griego

The largest natural travertine bridge in the world. A 400 foot long tunnel with beautiful turquoise pools in the bottom that opens to a gorgeous riparian area.

There is a fee to enter this area. It was $7 when we went. There are 4 trails with many viewpoints from the parking lot, all of which are out and back. We followed the recommendation of the ranger working at the visitor's center and took the Gowan Trail down to the observation deck located in the creek bottom. This park can be very crowded on weekends and holidays. We went on a day that was a little bit rainy and had the place to ourselves.

The trail to the observation deck was steep in spots but very well maintained. From the end of the observation deck you can explore underneath the bridge which is full of deep turquoise pools. The travertine dissolved in the water is what causes it to have the turquoise color. There are some arrows painted to mark the best way to get through the 400 foot long tunnel. When you come out the other side you're in a beautiful riparian area. If you're lucky you might see some coatimundi while exploring here. You can then take the Anna Mae Trail for a short distance and then take the Pine Creek Trail back up out of the creek.

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Know for

Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Family Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Nearby

Reviews

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Great Place to Spend the Day Exploring

The Natural Bridge is always a fun place to explore. The rocks are very slippery under the bridge so be sure to wear shoes with a good grip. I always like to hike the trail so that I end at the bridge.

A surprise gem

This was an awesome surprise and a must visit state park. Plenty of trails and creeks to explore and the cave is stunning.

Wow! Amazing Cave and Beautiful Trail

This cave is humongous and stunning - but make sure you have grippy shoes, because those wet rocks are incredibly slick (I saw two people slide). Easy way to turn an ankle. For the hike, it's a ton of boulder/rock hopping, but is a blast. If you have the time, I highly recommend hiking the trail to the cave, and not doing the paved/stair entrance to the cave. The trail is much more fun!

Beautiful Bouldering Adventure

This is one of my favorite hikes in Arizona because it's just so fun! I personally love all the navigating and rock-hopping. Kids really love it too. If you aren't very confident about your physical ability, I would probably not recommend taking the way I usually go. To get the most out of this amazing location, bring your sense of adventure and your climbing skills! It's not too expensive to go in, and they even have a tiny convenience store. The bathrooms are really nice and there's a picnic area where you come in. Families love to play games there. Last time I went, the stairs straight to the bridge were UNDER CONSTRUCTION. For the explorers, this is good news, because it leaves the actual bridge relatively uncrowded. I always take the right-most entrance. You take a easy hike down into the canyon and go left... and then it's up to you to adventure your way down to the bridge! There are arrows to help you navigate the best way. There is one spot as you get down under the bridge that is very slippery. DO NOT go down it unless you are VERY CONFIDENT in your abilities. You could slip down into the water and get very banged up. But if you're up for the challenge, it's worth getting the picture and seeing the waterfall. Look up at the birds and the geology. It's a thrilling and immersive hike! To the adventurous, go for it!

Not As Described

Place was gorgeous! Not dog friendly at all, and very regulated by the state. No swimming signs posted basically everywhere. This is beautiful, but totally one of those follow the pavement road and observe sort of place.

617 total saves

4.7/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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