Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Tonto National Monument April 6, 2017
Directions and General Information: Tonto National Monument is located off of Highway 188 near Roosevelt Lake about 15 to 20 miles north of Globe, Arizona. The monument was created to protect two Salado cliff dwellings. The lower cliff dwelling is accessible by a 1 mile round trip hike. The upper cliff dwelling is accessible by guided tour only September through April. I visited Tonto in early April because it was one of their final weekends that the tour to the upper dwelling was offered before summer. The upper cliff dwelling has less damage which is one of the reasons it is accessible only by tour. During the summer the trail is not shaded and really hot for visitors. If you go the entrance fee is $5 per person but all Interagency passes are accepted. Presently the trail to the lower dwelling is only open from 8 am to 1 pm but the visitor center is open until 5 pm.
History of the Salado Peoples: Prior to 1250 CE the Ancestral Pueblans (Salado People) migrated from the Colorado Plateau and the Mogollon Plateau in search of a permanent and stable homeland. They settled in the Tonto Basin because of its abundance of water and wild game. From about 1250 to 1450 the Salado People created irrigation canals to create crops, harvested wild plants and hunted game. Around 1450 the climate changed negatively effecting the Ancestral Pueblans. The region became more arid with a falling water table and there were more prolonged droughts. During certain months of the year catastrophic flooding damaged the irrigation canals rendering farm land useless. By 1450 the Salado people began to move to out of basin. (Information from www.nps.gov)