Tonto National Monument, AZ
ARIZONA TRAIL, TONTO NATIONAL MONUMENT, AZ
Arizona Trail thru-hikers shouldn’t miss this detour to 700-year-old cliff dwellings.
“Hike your own hike” is fine advice, but there are still a few other tenets among the thru- hiker tribe worth following. Here’s one: Don’t miss ancient ruins. Just as it’s understood that Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is a must-see off the CDT, so it is with the Salado cliff dwellings at Tonto National Monument off the 800- mile Arizona Trail. It’s just a 2.5- mile spur to the Visitor Center from Thompson Spring (including a short road walk on AZ 188). When you arrive, visit the 13th- and 15th- century Upper Cliff Dwelling on a separate 3- mile out- and- back (call ahead; you must be accompanied by park staff). The 700-year- old ruins feature 40 preserved rooms. Oh, and the view: “You can see saguaro cactuses dotting the hillsides, the gleam of Roosevelt Lake shining back at you, and the desert stretching into the horizon,” says photographer Larry Lindahl. Contact nps. gov/tont