Summer is a great time to take advantage of our national parks and monuments. Many offer free or low-cost admissions and programs perfect for families. So this summer we will be featuring one of our country’s public lands every week and highlighting things you and your family can do there.
Tonto National Monument
Image description: One of the many cave dwellings at Tonto National Monument. Photo from the National Park Service.
In Northeastern section of the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, ancient Cliff dwellings are impeccably preserved at Tonto National Monument. These cliff dwellings house structures that once were filled with ancient people during the 13th,14th and 15th centuries. When you visit Tonto, you get to step back in time and learn how prehistoric people thrived in the harsh desert climate.
When you arrive at Tonto National Monument be sure to stop by and check out the visitors center. At the visitors center you can watch an 18 minute video about Tonto’s past as well as look at the different artifacts found during archaeological excavation.
Once you leave the visitors center you have a variety of different trails you can explore and outdoor activities you can tackle. While tours are only available from November-April at the Upper Cliff Dwelling you can still visit the Lower Cliff Dwelling, only a half mile walk from the visitors center, year round.
Situated within a cave, the Lower Cliff Dwelling houses the former prehistoric home of the “Salado” people and have been the focus of many archaeological excavations. For more than 100 years visitors of Tonto have been able to walk through the different rooms and structures. Before visiting these structures be sure to read the site etiquette guide.
Tonto National Monument is also a great place to enjoy the unique desert climate. The Sonoran Desert surprisingly holds a variety of different plant and animal life. As you would expect, cacti are plentiful, but there are also trees and shrubs as well as an abundance of beautiful wildflowers. Explore the Cactus Patch trail to learn more about the plant life found in the Sonoran Desert.
A variety of animals also call Tonto home. There are more than 160 species of birds, 26 species of land animals, including badgers and bobcats and 14 species of bats including the big brown bat!
Year-round there is always plenty to see and do at Tonto National Monument!
Image description: Top photo: the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico.
Bottom photo: San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington
On Monday, President Obama established five new national monuments across the country. The monuments protect natural resources and preserve rich history and lush landscapes in five different states: Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio and Washington.
From the White House:
The monuments are:
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio: The monument will preserve the home of Col. Charles Young (1864–1922), a distinguished officer in the United States Army who was the third African American to graduate from West Point and the first to achieve the rank of Colonel.
First State National Monument in Delaware: The monument will tell the story of the early Dutch, Swedish, Finnish and English settlement of the colony of Delaware, as well as Delaware’s role as the first state to ratify the Constitution. The park is comprised of three historic areas related to Delaware’s rich history: the Dover Green, the New Castle Court House complex (including the courthouse, Green and Sheriff’s House), and the Woodlawn property in the Brandywine Valley.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland: The monument commemorates the life of the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad who was responsible for helping enslaved people escape from bondage to freedom. The new national park, located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, includes large sections of landscapes that are significant to Tubman’s early life in Dorchester County and evocative of her life as a slave and conductor of the Underground Railroad.
Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico: Located northwest of Taos, the Río Grande del Norte contains stretches of the Río Grande Gorge and extinct volcanoes that rise from the Taos Plateau. The area is known for its spectacular landscapes and recreational opportunities – like rafting, fishing and hiking – and serves as important habitat for many birds and wildlife.
San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington: Home to bald eagles, orca whales, harbor seals and other rare species, the San Juan Islands is a chain of 450 islands, rocks and pinnacles. Located in Washington State’s Puget Sound, the archipelago provides an opportunity for visitors, campers, kayakers and birdwatchers to experience the natural beauty of the undeveloped, rugged landscape.
Learn more about the five new national monuments.
View more pictures of Rio Grande del Norte and San Juan Islands national monuments.
Photos from the Bureau of Land Management.
Asked by Anonymous
how do apply a visit visa in usa?
Nonimmigrant visas are for citizens of other countries coming to the United States temporarily. The visa allows you to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry and request permission of the immigration officer to enter the country.
A visa does not guarantee entry into the U.S.
Citizens of some countries are not required to have a visa to visit the United States.
You can learn more about how to apply for a temporary travel visa from the State Department.