Tonto National Ruins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This event will be an enjoyable time exploring the well preserved Salado Indian Ruins in a canyon on the west side of Roosevelt Lake. We will leave the meet-up place at 6:30 am and travel to the Tonto National Monument to tour the Lower Ruins and then the Upper Ruins. Our Tour of the Upper Ruins begins at 10 am on December 1st. I have a reservation for a private tour for just our group of 15.  We should be done touring the ruins noonish. After touring the Ruins we will be heading to the Cholla Campground for an afternoon of relaxing and enjoying the lake. Sunday morning we can enjoy the morning at our leisure and return to the valley when desired.


Tonto National Monument: The well-preserved lower and upper cliff dwellings were occupied during the 13th, 14th, and early 15th centuries. The people farmed in the Salt River Valley and supplemented their diet by hunting and gathering native wildlife and plants. They were fine craftsmen, producing some of the most exquisite polychrome pottery and intricately woven textiles to be found in the Southwest. Many of these objects are on display in the Visitor Center museum.


The monument is located in the Upper Sonoran ecosystem, known primarily for its characteristic saguaro cactus. Other common plants include cholla, prickly pear, yucca, agave, ocotillo, and an amazing variety of colorful wildflowers.

The trail to the Upper Cliff Dwelling is a backcountry trail. The first half of the trail meanders through a wash while gaining elevation, and requires negotiating shallow water, and some climbing on large rocks. The second half of the trail winds steeply via switchbacks and requires climbing a total of about 60 unevenly spaced steps. Keep in mind that reaching the dwelling is only half of the hike; you must return via the same route. The hike is 3 miles round trip, with an elevation gain of 600 feet. The tour takes 3 to 4 hours. Your guide will keep a moderate pace and stop frequently to talk about natural and cultural history.

Cholla Campground at Roosevelt Lake: This campground is 5 miles north of Roosevelt Dam. From Fort McDowell Casino take State Hwy. 87/Beeline Highway north for about 45 miles to its junction with State Hwy. 188. Turn right and follow State Hwy. 188 south for 28 miles to the campground. This campground is located on the shore of Roosevelt Lake and has water, individual ramadas, very nice bathrooms - a few bathrooms have showers. Camping fee is approximately $20 per site per night.

Tonto National Monument is approximately 11 miles south of the campground on Highway 188.

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  • Rocky

    5Yes, meet at Visitor Center. All the ruins/hiked originate there at the Visitor Center.

    November 30, 2012

  • Rocky

    If anyone isn't going to be at the Casino early Saturday morning please let me know so we won't be waiting for you.

    November 29, 2012

    • Mary G

      Rocky: I won't be there as I'm driving down from the Verde Valley on Friday. I will call Mitch today regarding sharing of a campsite. Mary G

      1 · November 29, 2012

    • Phil

      I'll meet at the carpool, and have room for 3 and gear. I plan on camping on Saturday night. :)

      November 29, 2012

  • Rocky

    Sounds like a plan Mitch. Enjoy Friday night.

    November 29, 2012

  • Ambrose M.

    Sorry Folks.. So much to do---So little hiking time. Due to the Holiday Season and the amount of weekends before Christmas, I have to regretfully decline. Have Fun out there !! :∙)

    November 29, 2012

  • Mitch

    Rocky: If we are camping Friday night, then we meet the rest of the group Sat morning, 8 am at the Visitor Center?

    November 28, 2012

  • Ambrose M.

    I do have room for 3. Although I'm hoping I can be back in Phx on Saturday in time to make the Electric Light Parade with my family. :∙)

    November 28, 2012

  • Ambrose M.

    I plan on camping out on Friday Night. I'm bringing a great gas stove that can cook an iron pan. I'm leaving Phx--(35th Ave & Northern)-- around 4pm. I'm hoping to coordinate with Mitch or anyone else for the Campout.

    November 28, 2012

  • Mike

    Sorry Sarah and I had to cancel. Sarah found out she's on call Saturday. We well be on the look out for future trips to join as we had a great time with you all on the Spur Cross/Seven Springs trip. Hope you all have fun.

    November 27, 2012

  • Rocky

    Each of the us will be responsible for our own food. The camping fee is approx. $20 to be paid at the campground to the campground - bring fives and ones.

    Bring firewood if you want a fire.

    November 27, 2012

  • Mitch

    I'm driving directly from Tucson to the campground on Friday. If anyone wants to camp together, call me @[masked]

    November 27, 2012

  • Phil

    Are many people planning on carpooling? I was debating whether to drive straight to the site or meet at the carpool. Either way I planned on driving so I could bring a few car camping luxury items (chair, small stove/cooler, wood, etc.). I have room for 3 and gear, but didn't want to meet at the carpool if it seems that everyone already has rides worked out.

    November 27, 2012

  • Rocky

    Tonto National Monument charges $3 for individuals over 16. Children under 16 are free.

    November 27, 2012

  • Rocky

    Tonto National Monument opens at 8 am. I believe we should be there between 8 and 8:30.

    November 27, 2012

  • Rocky

    We will need to be on our way to the ruins by 6:30am so we can have some time at the Visitor Center etc. before going to the upper ruins.

    November 27, 2012

  • Jenna H.

    Are we each responsible for our own food?

    November 27, 2012

  • Jenna H.

    Obviously we are all required to bring our personal hiking and camping, but what are we supposed to bring for the group?

    Also, how much is it per person and who should we pay?

    November 27, 2012

  • Mary G

    Approximately what time do you expect to reach Tonto National Ruins? I will be driving from the Verde Valley and want to join you at the appropriate time. Thanks

    November 26, 2012

  • Rose

    Do we need to reserve the campsite?

    November 20, 2012

  • Rocky

    Sorry, I didn't realize there wasn't a waitlist capability for this event. There should be now.

    November 4, 2012

    • Ceci

      Yeah thank you!

      November 4, 2012

    • Rose

      I would love to go....

      November 11, 2012

  • Rocky

    The Park Service only allows 15 people to the upper ruins per day. However, the lower ruins are really nice and worth seeing. If any one wants to attend this event please consider doing the lower ruins and the campout. The bonus would be if someone drops out you are going and able to go to the upper ruins. The waitlist will accommodate those who cannot go to the upper ruins but still wants to enjoy the weekend.

    November 4, 2012

  • Ceci

    I would like to join you guys on this, is there going to be a wait list?

    October 30, 2012

  • Kathy

    If someone drops out please let me know. I've always wanted to go to these ruins.

    October 15, 2012

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