March 9, 2012
Upper Cliff Dwellings at Tonto National Monument. Normally open only for special tours, the Upper Ruins overlook Roosevelt Lake. For reasons that remain mysterious, people started in the 1200s to abandon villages along the Salt River and moved to this lofty fortress.
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Photographers savor a rare chance to explore Upper Ruins of Tonto National Monument — which will be open to the public March 17-18
Mystery. Light. History. Angles. Breathtaking views. All await discovery among the 700-year-old Upper Cliff Ruins of the Tonto National Monument. Normally, the national park requires reservations for tours up the rustic three-mile, round-trip trail — and that is only from November to April. Guests may take a guided tour, photo walk or full-moon hike to the top. However, on March 17 and 18 the park will allow rare, open access to the fortress-like multi-room ruins. At the height of its use, the ruins housed more than 100 people. Now, the view from the Upper Cliff Dwellings includes breathtaking views of Roosevelt Lake, which is not as visible from the Lower Cliff Dwellings. As aspiring photographers, my daughter and I jumped at the chance to take the photo tour. The photo walks are hosted bi-monthly by Peg and Rex Lavoie, retired professional photographers who volunteer at the national park.