Current Entry

This is the view when you first reach the Lower Cliff Dwelling and step through the current entryway. The original entry was to the left, a small "V" shaped opening accessed by a ladder. That allowed the Salado people to pull up the ladder to protect against intrusion.

A Family Dwelling

This room was once occupied by a Salado family. The walls are constructed of stone and mud, and the you can see the skeleton of the ceiling here. The ceiling was constructed using wooden beams, fortified by saguaro ribs and a few inches of clay.

A Tiny Hallway

Tami is out in a hallway that divides two family rooms. You can see how small the entryway is - although the Salado people were actually 5' to 5'6" tall, they intentionally kept their doorways small to curb heat loss from the fires in the family rooms as much as possible.

Undisturbed Room

Before the ruins were protected as a national monument, many rooms fell prey to souvenir hunters. This room was barred off for protection, and the inside undisturbed. On the map above, it is room #7. Among the artifacts that you can see is a grinding stone and basin.

The Cliff Wall

Mitchel is standing to the far right of position #1 on the map above, and you can see how the walls of the rooms blend into the walls of the cliff. The Salado people were very adept at using the natural formations of the rock in their construction. One thing to note is that this area was a two-story dwelling at one time, but since they were on the outside, they fell prey to erosion and the elements.

More Ruins of the Front Rooms

This photograph is looking back across the front ruins, past #1 on the map and into the area marked as #2. The original "V" shaped entry is just on the other side of that far wall. You can also see some of the small entryways that the Salado used.

The View from the Cliff

The occupants of this small city had a wonderful view, as you can see. The lake in the distance is man-made, though, and at the time when these dwellings were occupied the valley was an agricultural area.

The Tonto National Monument was one of the highlights of our trip, and is a must-see if you visit southern Arizona.


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All text and photos copyright 2001 by Mitchel & Tami Whitington. No portion of any article or other writing in this electronic publication, or photographs or images, may be copied, used or otherwise taken by any person or organization for any purpose or reason whatsoever without the express written permission of Mitchel & Tami Whitington.