Roosevelt, AZ 85545
- 30 miles northwest of Globe, Arizona near Roosevelt Lake
- National Park
DescriptionTonto National Monument was created to protect and preserve Native American cultural resources dating to roughly A.D. 1150 -1450, specifically related to the prehistoric Salado culture.
Well-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 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. Many of these objects are on display in the Visitor Center museum.
The monument is located in the Upper Sonoran ecosystem, known primarily for its characteristic saguaro cactus. Other common plants include: cholla, prickly pear, hedgehog, and barrel cactus (blooming April through June); yucca, sotol, and agave; creosote bush and ocotillo; palo verde and mesquite trees; an amazing variety of colorful wild flowers (February through March); and a lush riparian area which supports large Arizona black walnut, sycamore, and hackberry trees.
Tonto National Monument receives about 80,000 visitors per year. The busiest season is from mid-January through late April. Rangers and volunteers provide interpretive programs from short, single-topic talks to demonstrations. Guided tours to Upper Cliff Dwelling are available November through April. The trip takes 3-4 hours and covers 3 miles. Reservations are required. Self guided hikes along Lower Cliff Dwelling Trail to visit Lower Cliff Dwelling take 1-2 hours and cover 1 mile over a paved trail.