"Tonto National Monument" Tonto National Monument by Stephen-KarenConn

Tonto National Monument Travel Guide: 38 reviews and 95 photos

The focal point of Tonto National Monument, on the slopes of Arizona's Salt River Valley, is a series of well-preserved cliff dwellings which were occupied by the Salado culture between 1150 and 1450 AD. The people farmed in the Salt River Valley and supplemented their diet by hunting and gathering native wildlife and plants. The Salado were fine craftsmen, producing some of the most exquisite polychrome pottery and intricately woven textiles to be found in the Southwest.

Tonto is also a great place to see and study the amazing diverstty of plant life of the Upper Sonoran ecosystem, known primarily for its characteristic Saguaro Cactus. In the General Tips section of this page I will be highlighting many of these very interesting cacti, shrubs and other desert plants. February through March is the best time to view wildflowers, but any time of year is worth a visit.

The abundant and diverse animals life at Tonto includes: whitetail and mule deer; mountain lion and bobcat; javelina, porcupine, coyote, and ringtail; jackrabbit and desert cottontail; several squirrel, chipmunk, and bat species; all four species of North American skunk; three rattlesnake species; Arizona coral snake; over a dozen other snake species; Gila monster and over a dozen other lizard species; four toad and frog species; and over 100 bird species.

Tonto National Monument was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907, and was one of the first National Monuments to be proclaimed under the new Antiquities Act of 1906. It is well off the beaten path, 30 miles northeast of Globe and 50 miles south of Payson. It is surrounded by the Tonto National Forest, and overlooks Theodore Roosevelt Lake.

  • Intro Updated Jan 22, 2006
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Reviews (22)

Comments (8)

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Jun 21, 2008 at 11:01 AM

    What an extraordinary education about the desert. I liked the "Hedgehog Cactus and the Catclaw Acacia" best. Lower Cliff Dwellings were impressive. Very valuable and helpful tips for those visiting the area. Thanks, Stephen.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Oct 3, 2007 at 3:31 PM

    The desert is my other home. So many wonderful type of species of plants. So many people don't realize how much life is in the desert. Great page!

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Feb 12, 2007 at 4:38 PM

    I am impressed! Fantastic info on Sonora Desert plants. Personally I think that apart from cacti ocotillo is the most typical plant.

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Nov 21, 2006 at 2:11 AM

    another great page!

  • RafaelTheSecond's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2006 at 2:02 PM

    Arizona is one of the wilder secrets of the States, one day I will turn it a popular destination for brazilians! I am working hard for that!;) I LOVE USA!;)

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo
    Apr 18, 2006 at 11:16 AM

    I visited the ruins in Walnut Canyon some years back. Fascinating tour and they were well preserved there as well. This place looks spectacular. Thanks for sharing and thanks for yet another great page!

  • tpangelinan's Profile Photo
    Jan 22, 2006 at 7:04 AM

    Wonderful new page, this sounds like a fun trip. Would love to go out west some day and see the many wonders it has to offer. Thanks for the info and beautiful photos, you always have great pages! :o)

  • kazander's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2006 at 7:57 AM

    Hey it looks like we did opposite ends of the Apache trail! That teddy bear cholla certainly caused me misery when i accidentally stepped on a piece that had "popped off" Ouch! Ithought I had been biten by a snake!

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