• White House Trail - Chinle, Arizona

      cliff dwelling
      Photo by Rick Quinn
      The White House Trail is the only area in Canyon de Chelly National Monument where tourists are allowed to hike unaccompanied. The White House Ruin, set in a natural alcove some 20 feet above the sandy wash, derives its name from faded white plaster that still clings to several prominent walls. Built by the Anasazi around 1100 AD, White House is one of the best known cliff dwellings in the southwest, a favorite subject of famous landscape photographer Ansel Adams. The hike to the ruin will take you from the rim to the floor of the canyon, 500 feet below, and allows a close up view, not just of the ruin, but of the extraordinary sandstone formations, and the sheer cliffs streaked with broad stripes of desert varnish, a discoloration of the rock caused by concentrations of manganese leaching out of the sandstone over thousands of years. To travel beyond the ruin in either direction requires an authorized Navajo guide.

      If you go:
      The White House Trail begins at the White House Overlook, which can be accessed from the South Rim Drive in the National Monument. There is no fee for parking, or for the use of the trail. The hike is a 2.5 mile round trip with a 500 foot elevation gain on the way back up, so allow at least an hour, or more, if you plan to linger at the ruins. Visitors are allowed to approach to the base of the cliff near the ruins, but are not allowed to touch the structures or climb to the ledge. There are restrooms near the ruin, but visitors must carry their own water, especially important in summer.


      White House Overlook
      Chinle, Arizona 86503 USA

      Mailing address:
      P.O. Box 588
      Chinle, AZ 86503 USA

      Phone Numbers:

      AZ Canyon Jeep Tours
      +1 (928) 781-2113

      Navajo National Monument
      +1 (928) 674 ext. 5500