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TONTO NATIONAL MONUMENT

The Construction of the Upper and Lower Cliff Dwellings are dated all the way back to roughly 1300 CE and continued till about 1400 to 1450 CE. The basin was eventually abandoned. The cave that holds the Upper Cliff Dwellings is approximately 70 feet wide, 80 feet high, and 60 feet deep. This large space allowed for building living quarters which even had second and third story rooms in some dwellings.

Other than the Cliff Dwellings, little records remain, but Archeologists have been able to piece together some of culture of the people that lived there. The Salado people and culture arose from the combination of ancient Puebloan people from the Colorado Plateau, the Mogollon people and the ancient Sonoran Desert people (also known as the Hohokam). This combination happened around 7000 CE when the ancient Sororan Desert People migrated and settled by the Salt River in the Tonto Basin. There they mixed with the local populations there. Later in about 1100-1150 CE the ancestral Puebloan and Mogolon people migrated to the Tonto Basin to make the area a true melding of cultures. The archeologists began calling this melting pot people the Salado since there was no record as to what they called themselves. The Salado people are defined as people living in the Tonto Basin between 1250 CE to 1450 CE. The area eventually from 1350 to 1450 went through a series of harsh weather conditions and eventually lead residents to leave the Tonto Basin and their amazing cave dwellings.

Today the basin is still home to a variety of wildlife that draws all sorts of visitors to the park. Currently the park is home to at least 160 species of birds, 6 species of amphibians, 32 species of reptiles, and 40 species of mammals as well as countless types of insects. 

For visitors the park offers Upper Cliff Dwelling guided tours from January through April. Guests must call ahead to reserve a tour and reservations open October 1st for the season. They are limited to six people per tour and all guests must come prepared with water, good shoes, proper clothing, and food. Other than tours the site does not have camping nor picnicking sites, but suggests going to the nearby Roosevelt Lake for those activities.

GLOBE WEATHER