As a national monument, there isn’t much to the park’s facilities, but it doesn’t matter when the scenery is so stunning. The sand on the dunes is even brighter white in person than it appears in photos, and the feeling of exploring an empty, bleached-out desert is just really incredible. You don’t need four-wheel drive or anything special to drive through the dunes, but the road is only paved to a point, after which it becomes packed sand that gets less and less packed the further out it gets.
“One of the world's great natural wonders”
Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Here, dunes have engulfed 275 square miles of desert creating the world's largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves this dunefield, along with the plants and animals that have adapted to this constantly changing environment. Unlike dunes made of quartz-based sand crystals, the gypsum does not readily convert the sun's energy into heat and thus can be walked upon safely with bare feet, even in the hottest summer months. In areas accessible by car, children frequently use the dunes for downhill sledding. Because the park lies completely within the White Sands Missile Range, both the park and U.S. Route 70 between Las Cruces, New Mexico and Alamogordo are subject to closure for safety reasons when tests are conducted on the missile range. On average, tests occur about twice a week, for a duration of one to two hours. Located on the northernmost boundaries of White Sands Missile Range, the Trinity Site can be found, where the first atom bomb was detonated. Fun fact: Three species of lizards, one pocket mouse and numerous species of insects have evolved a white coloration for survival in the white sands.
It feels like you are in another world. Before planning your visit make sure to check whether the park will be open at NPS website. From time to time the missile range that surrounds the park performs missile testing that may require the closure of the park or Highway 70.
Amazing! We travelled to the mountains to get out of the heat but took a morning trip down. We have 4 young ones and bought one sled to share...it was super fun! The farther you go into the park, the better the sledding is...the steeper the better, obviously. The park is open until 9pm and they say the sunset is beautiful with a guided stroll at 7pm...so you might plan for an end of the day visit. Don't forget some baby powder to help with sand removal. And believe it or not, even at 95degrees, the sand wasn't too hot on the feet :)
Sweet spot! Highly recommend the back country camping! Just make sure that if it is windy you bring some weight / dont leave your tent unattended! Came back to my site after going two dunes over to take some sun set photos and the tent had blown away!
This is one of the most breathtaking and magical places I have ever been. Bar none. Go here.
Incredible! Great for the family as well as a great place for backcountry camping. The hike to the campsite was short and easy, good news after a fun day sledding the dunes. The sunset was stunningly beautiful. I was worried about tent camping on sand but the campsite was compact enough for my small stakes. :)
A truly awesome place. Like nothing you have seen before.We had the fortune to visit out of season (Sept 2014) when we had the place to ourselves.
Beautiful, majestic, awe inspiring. If you get the chance, GO!
"Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world's largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live here." -National Parks Service
Absolutely a must see! Go about an hour before sunset and be sure to bring your camera!
Highly recommend! I drove from Houston to New Mexico with a few of my friends for a camping trip and to visit White Sands. This place was so much fun. The weather was pretty cold, but it was perfect on the dunes, because of the direct sunlight. Don't forget your sunscreen and sled!
You do not have to be a child to go sledding on the dunes. It is super fun. Go in the evening and stay a little while after sunset.
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White Sands National Park
- Sun - Sat: 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Good for adventurers, adrenaline-junkies, and backpackers.
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