Quintessential Arizona

The Salado Phenomena, 700 years ago, blended ideas of neighboring Native American cultures to emerge a unique and vibrant society. Tonto National Monument showcases two Salado-style cliff dwellings. Colorful pottery, woven cotton cloth, and other artifacts tell a story of people living and using resources from the northern Sonoran Desert from 1250 to 1450 CE.


crested saguaro in bloom

The Sonoran Desert

There is an amazing diversity of life in the desert. There are snakes and cactus, but there are also frogs and wildflowers.

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Lower Cliff Dwelling

Prehistoric Peoples of Tonto Basin

Shallow caves overlooking Tonto Basin shelter masonry dwellings nearly 700 years old.

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old postcard of Apache Trail

Tonto Basin Tales

As prehistoric groups left Tonto Basin, other native peoples used the valley. The Spaniards arrived in the 1500's, followed by pioneers from the east.

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Replica Room in Museum

Preview the New Museum

Watch this short video for a sneak peek of the new museum. Also, see other photos and multimedia for Tonto National Monument.

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bee swarm

Africanized Bees

During any trail closures, visitors may be allowed to hike the Lower Cliff Dwelling trail to within viewing distance of the ruins.

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