Thousands of years in the making, Tonto Natural Bridge is known to be the world’s largest natural travertine bridge. Located between Payson, Arizona, and Pine, Arizona, the 150-foot-wide limestone bridge arches 183 feet above sparkling Pine Creek. The bridge is surrounded by pine trees, while flowing springs and fern-draped grottos line the narrow canyon upstream.
History & Nature
Thousands of years ago, volcanic lava, seawater and precipitation combined to form a travertine dam here. Then, around 5,000 years ago, water began seeping through the travertine from fractures below. As the water slowly eroded the travertine, Tonto Natural Bridge was formed.
In 1877, a Scottish prospector named David Gowan was running from local Apache Indians when he stumbled upon the bridge. After spending several days exploring the area, he staked a claim to the land. In 1898, the Gowan family made their way from Scotland to Arizona, becoming the first settlers in the area.