"Cliff Dwellings above the Salt River" Tonto National Monument by mtncorg

Tonto National Monument Travel Guide: 38 reviews and 95 photos

Many of us have heard of the Anasazi, but unless we get excited from a Tony Hillerman novel to learn more about the anthropolgical and cultural diversity of the Southwest, the other peoples - Sinagua, Hohokam, and here, Salado - do not register in our minds. A Golden Eagle Pass and a road trip with an open mind can remedy that. Driving in a large loop through New Mexico and Arizona, I came across a vast array of history, cultures - past and present - geology, ecology and just some darned pretty country.

At Tonto, Salado peoples established apartment-styled dwellings in shallow caves overlooking the Tonto Basin in Central Arizona. The Hohokam peoples had been here earlier - 850, but it was the Salados turn as they moved up the Salt River around 1150. First, they settled down by the river - now flooded by large Lake Roosevelt - and slowly moved into the foothills above. The dwellings here, were settled between 1300 - 1450, after which these people faded away into the mists.

There is a visitor center at the Park and a half mile trail takes you on a self-guided tour of the 19 room Lower Ruins. There is a 40 room Upper Ruins that can be visited only with a conducted tour. No camping, but there are sites on Lake Roosevelt and other services in the nearby town of Roosevelt.

Fees: $3 / 7 days

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Native American ruins, Sonoran desert, sunshine, and a nice reservoir
  • Cons:Very hot in the summer
  • In a nutshell:Ruins amongst Cactus Splendor
  • Intro Written Nov 22, 2003
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Reviews (4)

Comments (4)

  • Jonathan_C's Profile Photo
    Feb 15, 2004 at 7:45 AM

    Yet another spot in Arizona to remind us all of the civilizations that existed before Europeans arrived. You describe a nice collection of these in Arizona.

  • herzog63's Profile Photo
    Dec 19, 2003 at 11:20 AM

    Tonto NM looks like it's worth a visit! The Cactus are always interesting!

  • catalysta's Profile Photo
    Dec 18, 2003 at 4:08 PM

    Hey, Mikey, I LOVE the Salt River Canyon, it's gorgeous! You just don't want to look under the rocks, doncha know. - cat

  • mrclay2000's Profile Photo
    Nov 22, 2003 at 12:57 PM

    This page sadly returns to the Big Ugly in AZ. Great centipede shot though. That infrared comes in handy. . ;-)


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