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. More »
Special Use Permits
Set in the rugged beauty of Tonto Basin, Tonto National Monument preserves cliff dwellings and other prehistoric archeological sites amid a rich and diverse Sonoran desert environment. Most special events and activities held within Tonto National Monument require a Special Use Permit. These permits are issued and approved only after National Park Service staff determines that the activity will not impair park values, resources, and visitor enjoyment.
A Special Use Permit is required for activities that provide a benefit to an individual, group, or organization, rather than the public at large and for activities that require some degree of management by the National Park Service in order to protect park resources and the public interest.
First Amendment Activities
Freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly are constitutional rights. However, the courts have recognized that activities associated with the exercise of these rights may be reasonably regulated to protect park resources. The necessity of a permit to conduct First Amendment activities is determined by the group size.
A small group is defined as "25 people or less". A small group is not required to obtain a First Amendment Permit if they are located within a park designated First Amendment site and have no more than leaflets, booklets and/or hand held signs.
A permit is required for any small group that:
a. wants to hold a demonstration or distribute and/or sell printed matter somewhere outside a designated First Amendment area.
b. wants to use equipment (i.e. tables, banners, platforms, etc.) even if it is within a designated area.
c. is merely an extension of another group already availing itself of the 25 person maximum.
d. wants to guarantee they will have priority for the use of a location, including the designated First Amendment areas.
A large group is defined as "more than 25 people" and is required to obtain a First Amendment Permit even if they are utilizing a park designated First Amendment site.
Some examples of special events that fall under First Amendment Rules:
There are no permit fees associated with First Amendment permits. Click on the links for the Application for Special Use Permit - Short Form and Application for Special Use Permit - Long Form. These are both PDF documents.
COMMERCIAL FILMING AND STILL PHOTOGRAPHY PERMITS
Tonto National Monument, as a unit of the National Park Service, permits commercial filming and still photography when it is consistent with the monument's mission and will not harm the resource or interfere with the visitor experience.
When is a permit needed?
All commercial filming activities taking place within Tonto National Monument require a permit. Commercial filming includes capturing a moving image on film and video as well as sound recordings.
Still photographers require a permit when:
1. the activity takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed; or
2. the activity uses model(s), set(s), or prop(s) that are not part of the location's natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities; or
3. the monument would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity.
What fees will I have to pay?
The National Park Service is authorized to collect two fees; cost recovery and a location fee. Cost recovery includes a $50.00 nonrefundable application fee which must be submitted with your application as well as a charge to cover the costs incurred by the National Park Service in processing your request and monitoring your permit. In addition, the National Park Service has been directed by Congress to collect a location fee to provide a fair return to the United States for the use of the park lands. The National Park Service uses the following fee schedule:
Are there other permit requirements?
You will be required to obtain liability insurance naming the United States as additionally insured in an amount commensurate with the risk posed to monument resources by your proposed activity. You may also be asked to post a bond to ensure the payment of all charges and fees and the restoration of the area if necessary.
Click on the links for the Application for Commercial Filming/Photography - Short Form and Application for Commercial Filming/Photography - Long Form. These are both PDF documents.
Did You Know?
Tonto National Monument averages 15" of rain annually. Snow is a rare occurrence, but as long as temperatures remain above freezing, the saguaros don't seem to mind!