Tonto National Monument, Roosevelt

#64 of 130 in Nature in Arizona
Tonto National Monument is a National Monument in the Superstition Mountains, in Gila County of central Arizona. The area lies on the northeastern edge of the Sonoran Desert ecoregion, an arid habitat with annual rainfall of about 16 inches (400 mm) here. The Salt River runs through this area, providing a rare, year-round source of water.Cliff dwellingsWell-preserved cliff dwellings were occupied by the Salado culture during the 13th, 14th, and early 15th centuries. The people farmed in the Salt River Valley, and supplemented their diet by hunting and gathering native plants. The Salado were fine craftspeople, producing some of the most flamboyant polychrome pottery and intricately woven textiles to be found in the Southwest. Some of the artifacts excavated nearby are on display in the visitor center museum.The Tonto National Monument Archeological District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. Tonto National Monument, Lower Ruin and Tonto National Monument, Upper Ruin are archeological sites that were NRHP-listed in 1989.
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Tonto National Monument Reviews
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175 reviews
  • In contrast to the Montezuma Castle, you must run directly up to the ruins of native American dwelling. However, some rooms are locked, so that they will not expire. The ascent takes about 30 minutes and is lined with wonderful views and cacti. At least for us (mid-October, in the afternoon) we were almost the only visitors. Both provided in the theer as well above was a nice Ranger, who has answered all questions with incredible panache to us. It is worth especially up once to talk to the Rangers. At first we felt the ruin as a relatively unspectacular, the Ranger has alerted us then but for example on many small fingerprints, etc., what made the visit interesting then.
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  • Enjoyed visiting the Lower Cliff Dwelling where the visitor center has exhibits, offers a video and bookstore. Must enter the trail walkway to the cliff dwelling from inside the visitor center. There ...  more »
  • The path up to the cliff dwellings is steep so wear good climbing shoes. The dwellings were not protected in the early 1900s so there was significant damage to them. You can look through doorways but ...  more »
  • Love this place! We got in free with our national parks pass, but it's not very expensive if you don't have the pass. The trail up to the cliff dwellings is fairly short and very well paved, but it is rather steep. We brought our kids, the 1 year old was in a baby carrier, the 3 year old probably could have walked the whole way up but ended up being carried. Coming down he was definitely able to do independently.
  • Very cool. There are cliff dwellings you can look around inside. The lower cliff dwelling is accessible up a 1/2 mile trail, but be warned, its kind of steep, you ascend up 350 ft in that 1/2 mile. There are benches and spots to take a short rest if you need it. The view as you go up is beautiful, you can see Roosevelt Lake. At the top there is a ranger who can give you a info about the structures. There is also an upper cliff dwelling at another trail, a 1 1/2 mile walkup but the ranger said it is not as steep. You have to make a reservation for a tour for the upper dwelling(by calling in advance) but not the lower one, you can just go during open hours. The Ranger and the people who worked in the visitor center were very friendly and helpful. The price was $5 per person 16 and over, under 16 is free.
  • Established in 1907, Tonto NM protects the cliff dwellings and the archeological remnant history of the Salado culture (Rio Salado) that farmed in the Salt River Valley of the Tonto Basin. From 1250 to 1450 CE, the Salado culture flourished. Around 700 CE, the Ancient Sonoran Desert People (the Hohokam from the Phoenix basin) moved to the Salt River in the Tonto Basin and mixed with local groups. Around 1100-1150 CE, the Ancestral Puebloans and the Mogollon People also occupied this area, searching for water and land resources. These combined groups became the Salado culture. The combined characteristics of the Salado People brought about a culture known for its masonry cliff dwellings along with distinctive pottery and textiles. Today, Tonto NM encompasses over 1,000 acres. Located near Roosevelt AZ, the visitor center offers information and exhibits about the Salado who lived in the area 700 years ago. There is also a theater and small educational bookstore. From here, one can take a steep 0.5 mile trail to the Lower Cliff Dwelling (20 rooms) along a paved path. The hike usually takes one hour RT and must be started before 4:00 pm. In the summer, it is suggested to begin before 12:00 noon. The Upper Cliff Dwelling (40 rooms) is accessed through guided trips only, reservations required. This tour only occurs on weekends November through April, and takes 3-4 hours.
  • A great little-known monument with very well preserved cliff dwellings. A paved walk is steep, but those without walking restrictions will be rewarded. The visitor center has an excellent movie and good displays.
  • This place isn't amazing, the scenery is breathtaking. I definitely recommend it to anyone ❤️❤️❤️

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