We went to Tonto Natural Bridge, outside of Payson, AZ. This was our third attempt, and as they say, Threes a Charm. The weather was fine, it was open, and traffic was not backed up 20 miles. It was well worth all the attempts to go. God has made so many beautiful natural wonders. Of course it would have been nice to know there was one of those "Hope you don't have a fear of heights" roads to get there. Could have warned the kids before they all started to pull their shirts over their heads. My 5 yr old, who was on the other side of the van and could not see the sheer drop off said, "What? Its beautiful!" Yea, he doesn't even like freeways in town cause they scare him. He would have loved seeing what I was seeing.
But then we got down to the Park and it was beautiful! Autumn is a wonderful time to visit. I am kinda glad it didn't work out the other couple of times. The leaves were changing, it was not too hot (although we should have worn shorts anyhow), and there wasn't that many people.
If you go I recommend carriers for babies and holsters for your water bottles. You will need to hold little kids hands and you will need good foot wear. Especially if you want to walk through the arch. The rocks are smooth and slippery. There are several look outs that are not difficult to walk to. If you are afraid of heights, don't bother going. If you want to walk down into the arch you will get a good hike. Its a mile round trip, down and up huge steps, with no hand rail. But its so worth the hike. It is simply beautiful down there. There is swimming up and below the bridge but not under it. So if you go during warmer months that is definitely feasible. Along the hike were markers for the different plants. It was nice to learn what all the different trees and shrubbery was that we were seeing.
Sadly this fat old pregnant lady is out of shape and had a rough time making it back up. Man do I need to get into shape. My legs will be feeling this for days. Ahhh the memories. Somehow my 3, 6 and 8 year old ran most of the hike back up. Where do they get their energy? If I could have 1/10 of that! As it was I nearly passed out on the way back up. And they ran! I wasn't even gonna try to stop them. I figured they could go for help if I fell over from exhaustion. You'd think I was hiking the Grand Canyon. Well, next time I vow to be in better shape so I can enjoy it more.