History & Culture

Black and white image of the Salt River drainage in 1904.
Confluence of the Salt River and Tonto Creek, circa 1904. This land is under Roosevelt Lake today.

NPS Photo

Tonto National Monument protects two prehistoric cliff dwellings and diverse artifacts. Located within the Tonto Basin of the Upper Sonoran Desert, this National Park Service site provides opportunities to experience a thriving culture deeply rooted in its natural setting, while encouraging our own connections to the environment. Learn more about the Lower Cliff Dwelling and the Upper Cliff Dwelling.

Salado architecture, pottery, textiles, and other artifacts exemplify beautiful, complex craftsmanship, influenced by the continuous movement of people and ideas. Such artifacts demonstrate the importance of cultural identity and artistic expression in the past, both of which remain integral to society today.

For nearly 10,000 years, the Tonto Basin has provided, and continues to provide, a home to many diverse people. Archaeological evidence suggests that Ancient peoples traveled extensively throughout this and surrounding areas. Several American Indian tribes such as White Mountain, Chiricahua, and Tonto Apaches, Yavapais, Pima-Maricopas, and more call this area home today. Many of these tribes feel strong spiritual ties to the cliff dwellings, deeming them to be an ancestral home. Learn more about these people, places, and stories.

Last updated: October 20, 2020

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Mailing Address:

26260 N AZ Hwy 188 Lot 2
Roosevelt, AZ 85545


928 467-2241

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