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.

The southeast-facing settlements were built quite high up a steep hillside within well-protected natural caves overlooking the Tonto Basin, which is now flooded forming Theodore Roosevelt Lake, though originally the Salt River flowed through the basin which was therefore well irrigated and fertile. As with many other ancient peoples of the Southwest, the Salado appear to have abandoned their villages suddenly, early in the fifteenth century, for reasons which are not known.


Physical Address:

26260 N AZ Hwy 188 Lot 2
Roosevelt, AZ 85545

Hours of Operation:

Located off Hwy 87, just 10 miles north of Payson, Payson, AZ 85547 The hours for the National Monument are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. everyday except December 25 when the Monument is closed. Please arrive before 4:00 p.m. to hike to the Lower Cliff Dwelling. During the months of June, July, and August, the Lower Cliff Dwelling Trail begins reduced summer hours from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., please begin the hike before 12 p.m. (noon).
Standard Hours

  • Sunday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Monday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Thursday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Friday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Saturday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Visitor Center - Visitor Center
The Visitor Center and Museum is open 8 am to 5 pm and closed on Christmas Day.
  • Standard Hours
  • Sunday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Monday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Driving Directions:

The cliff dwellings at Tonto National Monument are roughly two hours from the Phoenix metro area, located in the Tonto Basin. The monument is off AZ Highway 188 near Roosevelt Lake. The nearest major towns are Globe (30 miles) and Payson (50 miles). See our Directions page for recommendations on the best way to drive here from the larger metro areas of Arizona. Click Here


Weather during the summer can be extremely hot. It is typically 10 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than Phoenix. Winter weather may create hazardous conditions on the roads to Tonto National Monument. Severe thunderstorms may lead to a closer of the hiking trails.

Fees & Passes:

Entrance Fees: Per Person Entrance Fee - $5.00 The entrance fee applies to everyone 16 and older. Children under 16 are free. Tonto National Monument accepts all interagency federal public lands passes in places of the entrance fee. These Include the Annual, Senior, Access, Military, and Fourth Grader passes.

Visitor Center:

The Visitor Center offers a great introduction into the people who built the dwellings 700 years ago. The newly remodeled museum features artifacts and replicas. The park movie shows on demand through the day. The bookstore, operated by Western National Parks Association, sells educational items.

Cliff Dwellings:

Lower Cliff Dwelling

The Lower Cliff Dwelling trail is open daily (closed December 25) from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You must start your hike before 4:00 pm. During the months of June, July and August, start your hike before 12 pm (noon). The trail is 1 mile (1.6 km) roundtrip and takes about one hour to complete.

3D Modeling (Very Large File - Best viewed on Desktop with highspeed internet)
Click Here
Upper Cliff Dwelling

The Upper Cliff Dwelling is open by guided tours only. The trail is 3 miles (4.8 km) roundtrip and takes about 3 to 4 hours. For more information, visit the Guided Tours page. 3D Modeling (Very Large File - Best viewed on Desktop with highspeed internet)
Click Here

Basic operational information for the park is showcased here.  Simply click on the "+" for specific details.  For more info visit the website below.

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

Photo Credit:  National Parks Service

Credit:  Cameron Davis

Hiking Trails

The Tonto Basin Ranger District has many outstanding trails for your hiking pleasure.  

Credit:  Mine for the making blog

Water Sports

Roosevelt Lake offers outstanding water sports opportunities.  Boating, Jet Skiing, wake boarding, kayaking etc.

Credit:  Cameron Davis


Looking to drop a line in and catch the big one?  Roosevelt Lake has some whoppers.  


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