White House Trail

trail from the top looking down tree lined hiking trail at the bottom Two levels of cliff houses

White House Trail is the only trail you can hike without a Navajo guide. People live and farm here so it is not appropriate to be wandering around on your own - an exception being that you can hike this trail and view one of the most impressive ruins in the canyon on your own.

It is a short trail compared to the length of some trails we mention on this site, but it is a very beautiful trail and we recommend it for anyone who visits the park and is capable of hiking back out of the canyon on the return hike. It is all down hill on the way in, but the return is a consistent uphill climb. Bearing this in mind, along with your camera, you should carry water. Sun screen is another really good idea here.

The path switches back on the descent, showing different perspectives on the orange and red cliffs. In the spring, flowers and trees add even more color to the landscape. The trail also passes through two rock tunnels and if you look carefully near the lower tunnel you will see footsteps carved out of the rock where the ancient trail existed. Over time the footsteps if the Anasazi were made a bit bigger by the Navajos who moved into the area hundreds of years later.

At the bottom of the trail are the "White House Ruins". There are two visible sections remaining. The upper cliff area was accessed from the roofs of the lower cliff homes. Homes were several stories high when this area was used by the Anasazi. Pictographs can clearly be seen along the wall between the two remaining levels. One of turkey stands out. Turkeys were an important food source to those who lived here in the past.

This is one of the more luxurious hikes in that at the base there is also restrooms, albeit a bit primitive, and a few Navajos selling crafts at very fair prices. Bring some cash with you as something just might catch your eye and the prices are much better than any gift shop. On this rare occasion even we dropped a bit of cash which is something we never really do because we are incredibly cheap.

Shopping aside, this trail was a real treasure. Any other hiking in the park must be with a Navajo guide and must be prearranged since any camping or hiking you may do will be on private property. For trail quality, it scores high in the beauty department and for destination, it scores again with the cliff houses and the pictographs.