Friday, April 25, 2008

White House Ruins Trail

The White House Ruins Trail at Canyon de Chelly National Monument in NE Arizona is about a 3 mile round trip with a 600 foot vertical descent. It is located along the south rim road.

The hike begins at the White House Ruins overlook. There is a short walk along the rim before the trail begins to descend. This is the only trail in Canyon de Chelly that allows hiking into the inner canyon without a guide.
The trail winds down the side of the cliff through high desert vegetation. There are several benches along the way giving views down towards the canyon bottom.

There is a small alcove in the upper part of the trail that probably counts as an arch.

A short sandy walk along the canyon bottom approaches the ruin site and there are foot bridges across the  wash. Current Navajos have some dwellings and fields in this section of the canyon for summer use. A fence guards White House Ruins from close approach, so all the pictures of it are from the same distance with no close up details.

During most of the year, even winter, Navajo vendors will have tables set up near the ruins site for selling art work. The canyon driving tours will bring groups of visitors in addition to hikers coming down the trail.

The White House Ruin has a two level structure. It is named for the long wall in the center of the upper dwelling that is covered with white plaster. There are some pictographs on the canyon walls above and to the left of the structures to look for. The White House in the upper level middle has some historic inscriptions that can be seen with binoculars.

It took me about 1:30 to walk the trail down and up, including lingering at the bottom.  (There is a separate post showing some of the rock art on the walls here. Click on the label for White House Ruins Trail.)

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