A Visit to Tonto National Monument

Recently, I was able to finally visit Tonto National Monument in southern Arizona a short drive from Phoenix.  Early April can be a beautiful time in the Sonora before the temperatures rise beyond the point of misery.  Much of the desert was in bloom during the visit and the snakes were definitely awake.

Cactus in BloomSpecifically, this short trip was to the Upper Cliff Dwelling, a 30-40 room structure located high on the hillside overlooking a large valley near the Salt River probably occupied from the 13th-15th centuries.

Looking up

Looking up to the structure.

Guided hikes are available to the Upper Ruin from November through April on this easy 3 mile round trip.

Down the Valley

Looking northeast from the Upper Ruin trail.

The winds were really up and our guide lost his hat in a whirlwind.  Luckily it was found down the mountain later by another group.


The ruin coming into view as we made the switch backs up the mountain.


Intact floor posts and joists.


Mined for artifacts in the early days, this site has still yielded loads of data about its inhabitants.


A cistern at the back of the rock shelter shows where the seep or spring was located. It still contains some slight moisture.

DSC_0268 DSC_0267 DSC_0266 DSC_0265 DSC_0263 DSC_0262 DSC_0260Thanks to Roger Dorr for the excellent tour of the park in action.


About George Crawford

archaeologist, archer, primitive technologist, and wannabee musician ... mostly
This entry was posted in Archaeology, Arizona, cliff dwelling, public archaeology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s