Tonto National Monument, Roosevelt
Categories: Caves, Monuments, Nature & Parks, Tourist Spots
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.Make Tonto National Monument a part of your Roosevelt vacation plans using our Roosevelt trip itinerary maker.
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The national park site has a nominal entry fee, a small museum display and a narrated video, as well as a small gift shop. Good introductory information before making the climb to the lower cliff dwel... read more »
If your into the history of the ancient American people, this is a plce to visit. As with most National Parks, there is a good visitors centre, lots of parking and good facilities. The half hour hike ... read more »
Very interesting to see this ancient cave! The kids loved it! Be aware that it's a 20 minute walk/hike up a steep path. It's a bit of a challenge if you're not used to moving much! Well worth it thoug... read more »
Park in the lot and head for the visitor center. Bring water. They won't let you on the trails without it. When you're all set to start your hike make sure you head upstairs to the seating area. There's a television with a button. The button starts a captioned documentary about the Tonto valley and its inhabitants over the centuries. Informative, entertaining, and Deaf friendly is a big win in my book. The Lower Cliff dwelling is open all year because, though the trail is steep and riddled with switchbacks it's not a terribly far hike. The Upper Cliff dwelling is closed during the summer months due to the heat and a distance of three and a half miles. This is a smaller national monument, but definitely worth the visit. Come see fingerprints in the mortar from the hands of a people long gone from this beautiful saguaro studded valley.
This is an excellent day trip from Phoenix for something that *most* of the family can do. (Note: It should go without saying, but a house built out of mud, centuries ago, in a cave at the top of a mountain is NOT exactly handicap accessible. Please use common sense!) As long as you can hike up a hill and climb a few steps, you'll have a blast. Four very important things to know before you visit: 1. BRING WATER!!! They actually won't let you hike without a large bottle of water. You CAN bring your own. A backpack to bring extra is encouraged. (The inconvenience of a backpack is better than EMS carrying you down because you passed out from dehydration!) 2. USE BUG SPRAY BEFORE YOUR HIKE! The bugs are awful, so just be prepared to buy some Off! in town before your visit. 3. THE UPPER DWELLING IS GUIDED TOUR ONLY. They said that they leave around 10AM, returns around 1PM, that the hike is more difficult, and is roughly 3mi round trip. 4. THERE IS AN ADMISSION FEE. It was $5/person on the day we visited. It was worth more than that, so we happily paid it.
Timothy Vander Ploeg
This is a great park! It was a good hike and the views were fabulous! Definitely worth going!
Exceptional National Monument. Friendly and knowledgeable Rangers. The visitor center is clean and the bathrooms, while old, were in excellent shape with no smell (rare for such underfunded places in my experience). The exhibit is full of amazing artifacts and paints a great picture of what was going on here 700 years ago. The trail to the lower dwelling has a 300ft elevation gain over a short distance but is paved and in great shape (might be an issue for those with mobility issues). I was told that guided hikes are available to larger and better preserved dwellings further up the mountain. May need to arrange a head of time? Definitely worth the time to stop and see it.
The views and the dwellings are worth the half mile trek up the hill. You won't be disappointed.
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