"Payson" Top 5 Page for this destination Payson by Maria250

Payson Travel Guide: 63 reviews and 180 photos

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is located about 10 miles north of Payson. The area is an area of mossy rocks, high cliffs, caves, waterfalls, and once entered at the "Contact Station" at the Park office, the area leads the visitors to less developed trails. In fact we got onto those very little developed trails, and in the steep, rough creek's bottom. Hiking shoes are recommended. Later we found out there were signs with arrows painted on to follow for climbing on those plain, developed paths leading to an observation deck. But hey, in a knight's company one happily survives in sneekers.

As for the geology of the Tonto Natural Bridge, it went through several stages. The west side was formed by a flow of lava. The rock erodet, and leaving behind purple quartz sandstone. The area then was covered by sea water leaving behind a sediment of sand and mud. Volcanic eruptions covered the rock layers with lava, forming a basalt. The waters of Pine Creek then erodet through the travertine and formed the Natural Bridge.

The town of Payson was called Park Union in 1882. In 1884 the town's name was changed to Payson in honor of Congressman Louis Edward Payson of Chicago, who helped the settlement obtain a post office. There's also another Payson, in Utah, named after the congressman for the same reason. Western author Zane Grey came to the area in the early 1920s and built a cabin. Several of his novels, including "Under the Tonto Rim," were written there.

Today, tourism is the primary industry of the area, although ranching, mining and smelting remain important elements of the area's economic base. Payson sits at the edge of the world's largest stand of Ponderosa pine. The clean air, mild climate and outdoor recreation in the Tonto National Forest attract visitors year-round.

The Tonto Apache Tribe, 80 miles southeast of Payson operates the Mazatzal Casino, which has become a major employer in the Payson area (over 270 people).

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Silent beauty at the world's largest natural travertine bridge.
  • Cons:Can't think of any.
  • In a nutshell:Pine Creek without a knight is like a lemon pie without lemons.
  • Intro Updated Aug 2, 2011
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