Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
551.00 ft (167.94 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
2.70 mi (4.35 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument is a unique and beautiful place, and it has been a home to people for thousands of years. Today this canyon complex is home to native people who have maintained fields and livestock on the canyon floor for generations as well as a protected park in the national park system. Access to the canyon floor by visitors, including Navajos who do not live there, is available only by hiring a Navajo guide or by taking a guided walk with a ranger, with the sole exception of this hike to White House Ruins.

The hike starts at the very impressive overlook off the South Rim Drive. The White House ruin is visible, but very tiny, from the overlook. The trail starts out along the top of the canyon wall--watch for arrows painted on the rock surface pointing the way to the entrance down into the canyon. The trail passes through two tunnels and some sections dug a few feet deep into the sandstone; a serious engineering effort went into this trail. All the way down the switchbacks on the canyon wall there are spectacular views and many interesting rock formations like hoodoos, wind caves, long banded ridges and massive boulders that fell from above. At the bottom of the wall there is a Navajo residence, which should not be photographed. Once on the sandy canyon floor it is fairly level and well-marked to reach the ruins ahead and in the alcove above. There is a fence that prevents entrance to the ruins area, so they must be admired and photographed from a short distance away. Hikers are prohibited from leaving the trail and exploring up or down the canyon. 

As at many of the overlooks and other parts of the park, there are usually several vendors here (members of the same family) selling jewelry, pottery and other handmade items. These items are generally of high quality and reasonably-priced. There are also portable toilets nearby.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Gorgeous views all the way down. Very nice Puebloan ruins. No guide required.

Cons

Can be very windy with blowing sand.

Trailhead Elevation

6,165.00 ft (1,879.09 m)

Highest point

6,165.00 ft (1,879.09 m)

Features

Family friendly
Vault toilet
Historically significant
Geologically significant
Native artifacts
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.