White House Ruin, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona.
The White House Ruin trail is near Chinle, Arizona, in the Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The trail starts at the White House Overlook and goes down into the Canyon to a spot right below the White House Ruin.
The White House Ruins got their name from a long wall in the upper house that was covered in white plaster.
Although people have lived in the Canyon de Chelly area since about 2500 BC, most of the cliff dwellings and structures (like the White House Ruin) were built between 350 and 1300 by the Ancestral Puebloans (Anasazi). The cliff dwellings were near the end of that time period, and the Puebloans left the area around 1300. Most people think this was because of pressure from outside groups and a widespread drought caused by a change in the climate.
After the Puebloans left, the Hopi people moved into the Canyon and stayed there until the 1600s, when the ancestors of the Navajo Nation came from northwestern Canada.
© Dan Kosmayer, 2008