• Lower Cliff Dwelling


    National Monument Arizona

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  • Visitor Center is closed

    The Visitor Center and bookstore will be closed for several weeks for construction. A temporary Visitor Center will be set up in the parking lot. The trail to the Lower Cliff Dwelling will be open during this period. No entrance fees will be collected.

Blacktail Rattlesnake

blacktail rattlesnake

Blacktail Rattlesnake

NPS Photo

Blacktail Rattlesnake
Crotalus molossus

Body length: 28 - 49 1/2"
Diet: Small mammals

Blacktails are large, brightly-patterned rattlesnakes that are distinguished by dark coloring above the rattles. Although considered mild-mannered, the size and toxicity of this snake make it no less dangerous than other rattlesnake species. Blacktails are found here in hilly areas south of Route 188, and are often seen along the Upper Cliff Dwelling trail.

Although it is not possible to know how the earlier inhabitants of Tonto Basin felt about rattlesnakes, we can expect that they both feared and respected them as we do today. Paintings on bowls often depict abstract images of snakes. Although they are more common in Hohokam artifacts from the Phoenix area, images of rattlesnakes are sometimes found on stone and shell artifacts which have been excavated from Tonto Basin.

Did You Know?

striped skunk

Four different varieties of skunk have been seen at Tonto National Monument - the hooded, hog-nosed, striped, and spotted. They may look different, but they all smell the same! More...